Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Do all positive truths have truthmakers?

Consider this thesis:

  1. Every positive true proposition has a truthmaker.

This seems plausible. But I think it is only reasonable to accept (1) if one accepts:

  1. Any plurality of objects has a mereological sum or fusion which essentially has the members of the plurality as parts.

To see this, consider some plurality, the xs of existing things. Then, surely:

  1. The proposition, E!xx, that the xs exist is positive.

But what object is suited to be the truthmaker of E!xx? The truthmaker of E!xx will have to be some object o with the property that, necessarily, if o exists, so do all the xs. Our best candidate for that object is some object that has all the xs as essential parts. But we also don’t want to include irrelevancies in the truthmaker, so we shouldn’t include in o anything that overlaps none of the xs. In other words, o will very plausibly be the mereological sum of the xs.

Since I don’t believe in fusions, I have to deny (1). But at least I may be able to accept:

  1. Every positive true proposition has a plural truthmaker,

where a plural truthmaker of p is a plurality of objects that collectively make p true. Note that pluralities need not in general be objects themselves, so we do not have the same problem as above.

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