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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-N131-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2018
Retrieved July 23, 2024, from

Article Summary

Truthmaking is the relationship that holds between truths and the objects in the world in virtue of which those truths are true. Truthmaker theorists deploy the idea of truthmaking in order to advance arguments for the existence of various kinds of ontological posits, critique metaphysical positions, and better articulate accounts of truth, realism and other topics.

The basic idea behind truthmaking can be found in the work of Aristotle, and is closely connected to logical atomism and correspondence theories of truth. Truthmaking came into its own as an independent research project in contemporary metaphysics in the late 20th century.

The truthmaking relation is often, but not always, thought to be a necessary, hyperintensional relation of metaphysical dependence. That is, what it is for some object x to be a truthmaker for some truth p is for the truth of p to depend on the existence of x, such that it is impossible for x to exist and p be false. As some theorists put the point, p is true in virtue of x: p is not made true by just any entity whose existence always accompanies its truth.

One major debate in the theory of truthmaking is whether or not all truths have truthmakers. Maximalists argue that all truths need truthmakers; non-maximalists argue that some truths lack truthmakers. Candidate counterexamples are negative existentials (‘There are no flying penguins’), universal generalizations (‘All humans are mortal’) and analytic truths (‘Skyscrapers are buildings’).

Truthmaker theorists frequently argue for the existence of objects such as states of affairs or tropes, as such entities, if they exist, necessitate the truth of contingent predications. For example, Socrates himself does not guarantee the truth of ‘Socrates is a philosopher’, for he might have existed but failed to become a philosopher. Hence there must be some object that brings together Socrates and the property of being a philosopher. In this way, some philosophers use truthmaker theory to argue against various forms of metaphysical nominalism. Truthmaker arguments have also been used to argue against presentism, phenomenalism and dispositionalism.

Citing this article:
Asay, Jamin. Truthmaking, 2018, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-N131-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
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