Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brandon has a thoughtful comment on an approach to truthmakers that turns the current discussion on its head.
If I recall correctly David Brightly at some point commented that it was possible to take a view in which truthmaker theory goes at things backward -- takes propositions as given facts and then tries to find the reality to suit, whereas one could take reality as the given fact and then look at how propositions express it (or fail to do so). I think this latter approach is more promising. If Truthmaker Maximalism and Necessitarianism are both true -- if you can find a truthmaker for every true proposition and the link between truthmakers and true propositions is not loose but logically rigorous -- then this would virtually guarantee that the approach was fruitful in and of itself. But if either of them is false, then truthmaker theory is, at the very most optimistic assessment, missing something important.
I can't find where David Brightly said this but, yes, that's right.  If I manage (unlikely) to draw a faithful representation of my garden, then we don't take the picture and find the reality (a garden) to suit.  Rather, the garden is the given, and then we look at how well the picture resembles it.  Aquinas (and Scotus) say something along these lines.



Blogger David Brightly said...

Brandon may be referring to a comment I made on your Representation, truth, and infinite regress post. This followed an exchange with BV starting here regarding how we should understand verbal noun phrases such as 'Al's being fat'. Bill says

You start by sketching two different ontologies. But the place to start is not with the world but with sentences. We start with sentences we take to be true, and THEN we ask what the world has to be like for those sentences to be true. What does the truth of 'Wisdom is a virtue' commit us to ontologically? Same with with 'Al is fat' What sorts of entities must we posit to account for the sentence's being true?

This, I think, is the right way to proceed. The difference between Ed and me is that Ed thinks that all one needs to posit in reality are concrete particulars -- what you are calling 'objects.' So all we need is Al. I say that can't be right. We need the fact of Al's being fat.

11:31 am  
Blogger Edward Ockham said...

Ah yes that was your 'indefinite extensibility' comment. I was going to say something about that, but haven't got round to it yet.

1:23 pm  
Blogger J said...

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2:50 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

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3:03 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

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3:07 pm  
Blogger J said...

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3:20 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

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9:00 pm  
Blogger J said...

J said...
A truth function has both a surface structure and deep structure. Philosophers may discuss the former (ie, language, logic, representation etc). But they are generally no more qualified to discuss the cognitive-neurological functions (ie, visual perception, neural pathways, what happens in specific brain areas with representation, so forth) than any Joe Sixpack .

Something like a picture theory of consciousness also seems relevant (re Wittgenstein IIRC). One could in theory just show a pic (whether actual photo..or brain scan) of some observed fact (ie, say a plane smashing into a high-rise), and that might do as Truth.

10:30 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

That's all well and good, but you can't transfer gardens over the Internet. You can, however, transfer pictures of gardens.

(On the other hand, the only people we should let draw the pictures are those who claim to have seen the garden.)

12:57 am  

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