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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N021-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 13, 2024, from

Article Summary

The existence and nature of facts is disputed. In ordinary language we often speak of facts (‘that’s a fact’) but it is hard to take such talk seriously since it can be paraphrased away. It is better to argue for the existence of facts on the basis of three connected theoretical roles for facts. First, facts as the referents of true sentences: ‘the cat sat on the mat’, if true, refers to the fact that the cat sat on the mat. Second, facts as the truth-makers of true sentences: the fact that the cat sat on the mat is what makes ‘the cat sat on the mat’ true. Third, facts as causal relata, related in such sentences as ‘Caesar died because Brutus stabbed him’. The so-called ‘slingshot’ argument aims to show that these roles are misconceived.

Citing this article:
Oliver, Alex. Facts, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N021-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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