Truthmaking and Metametaphysics

Authored by: Ross P. Cameron

The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138082250
eBook ISBN: 9781315112596
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores how questions in metametaphysics interact with questions concerning truthmakers. Section 1 defends an account of ontological commitment in terms of truthmaking. Whereas Quine said that the ontological commitments of a theory are those things that must be in the domain of quantification if the theory, regimented in a first-order language, is to be true, the truthmaker account says that the ontological commitments of a theory are those things that must exist to make the theory true. This gives an account of ontological commitment that does not require privileging a language of regimentation. Section 2 argues that the truthmaker account is the best way of defending ontology as a deep and distinctively metaphysical project in the face of challenges from those who argue for a deflationary metaphysics. In particular, it considers Amie Thomasson’s view on which ontological questions are typically easy to answer. Thomasson argues that the question ‘Are there tables?’, e.g., can be broken down into a conceptual question – Under what circumstances is the concept table appropriately deployed? – and an empirical question as to whether those circumstances obtain; thus leaving no distinctively metaphysical question to be asked. It is argued that while Thomasson may be correct about this, a hard and distinctively metaphysical question remains: What makes it true that there are tables?

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