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Stephen Yablo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144955

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144955.001.0001

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A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking

A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking

(p.54) 4 A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking

Stephen Yablo

Princeton University Press

Truth for Aristotle was a metaphysical notion. Alfred Tarski showed how to conceive truth semantically, that is, in such a way that it could play a foundational role in semantics. David Armstrong, the Aristotle of truthmaking, conceives it metaphysically, as the a posteriori necessitation of truths by “things in the world.” This chapter, in a Tarskian spirit, seeks a semantic conception of truthmakers. It suggests two formal models, the recursive and the reductive. They represent tendencies in truthmaker assignment that pull, at times, in different directions. Where one can be indulged at no cost to the other, as in the case of quantifiers, that is the way to go. Otherwise a compromise has to be struck. How the tendencies trade off depends on the application. To a first approximation, though, semantic truthmakers are facts that imply truths and proportionally explain them.

Keywords:   aboutness, truth, Alfred Tarski, semantics, truthmakers, metaphysics, quantifiers, recursive model, reductive model

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