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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

Editorial Board: Addis, Laird / Davies, Brian / Hochberg, Herbert / Johansson, Ingvar / Kanzian, Christian / Klima, Gyula / Koons, Robert C / Künne, Wolfgang / Löffler, Winfried / Mulligan, Kevin / Nef, Frederic / Oaklander, Nathan / Oderberg, David / Orilia, Francesco / Plantinga, Alvin / Potrc, Matjaz / Rapp, Christof / Reicher-Marek, Maria Elisabeth / Schantz, Richard / Scholz, Oliver R. / Seibt, Johanna / Simons, Peter / Smith, Barry / Strobach, Niko / Trettin, Käthe / Wachter, Daniel

CiteScore 2018: 0.29

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Truthmaker Theory and Naturalism

David Rowe
  • Corresponding author
  • Humanities, Social Sciences and Languages, Philosophy Department, Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia), 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood VIC 3125, Australia
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Published Online: 2018-01-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2018-0013


This paper argues that there is a heretofore unresolved tension between truthmaker-style metaphysics and a plausible version of Naturalism. At the turn of the century, George Molnar proposed four prima facie plausible principles for a realist metaphysics in order to expose truthmaker theory’s incapacity to find truthmakers for negative truths. I marshal the current plethora of attempted solutions to the problem into a crisp trilemma. Those who solve it claim that Molnar’s tetrad is consistent; those who dissolve it do away with the requirement that every truth needs a truthmaker; and those who absolve it embrace a negative ontology. I argue that one is forced to absolve the problem: all other avenues undermine the truthmaker principle itself. Absolving the problem, however, does not sit well with a version of Naturalism that most would accept. We are drawn to a simple dilemma: either embrace a negative ontology, or reject truthmaker-style metaphysics.

Keywords: negative truth; truthmaker theory; George Molnar; David Armstrong; Naturalism; metaphysics


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-01-25

Published in Print: 2018-08-28

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 19, Issue 2, Pages 225–250, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2018-0013.

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