“The Essence of Truthmaking (and a Quandary for Quasi-Realism)” by Jamin Asay (7 Feb)

Conventional wisdom in truthmaker theory is that which propositions an object makes true is a function, in part, of its essential properties. For instance, Socrates himself is a truthmaker for <Socrates is human> but not <Socrates is a philosopher> because while Socrates is essentially human, he is not essentially a philosopher. I’ve argued previously that we can make sense of a different kind of truthmaking that relies not on essential properties, but on the kinds of projectivist practices at work in quasi-realist accounts of metaethics. Such a distinction enables quasi-realists to distinguish themselves from realists (in particular, naturalistic “Cornell” realists). But what if modality itself is best understood quasi-realistically? What would this mean for truthmaker theory? In this talk I’ll explore what the ramifications of anti-realism about modality are for truthmaker theory. In particular, I’ll argue that this perspective offers an argument for a nominalist-friendly approach to truthmaker theory, but that comes at the expense of clouding the distinction between realism and anti-realism. A further consequence of this shows that quasi-realists may be on shaky ground if they pursue their quasi-realism about both morals and modals.

Philosophy Seminar Series.
Date: Thursday, 7 Feb 2013
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: Philosophy Resource Room (AS3 #05-23)
Speaker: Jamin Asay, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Moderator: Dr. Ben Blumson

About the Speaker: 

Jamin Asay is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. He has also taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he recently earned his Ph.D. He has published in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of science, metaethics, and philosophy of language. His monograph entitled The Primitivist Theory of Truth will be released by Cambridge University Press in summer 2013.