Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy

Propositions as Truthmaker Conditions [Special Issue]

Topics: Epistemology, Philosophical logic, Philosophy of language
Keywords: Content, Hyperintensionality, meaning, propositions, Truthmakers


Propositions are often aligned with truth-conditions. The view is mistaken, since propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not. Propositions are hyperintensional: they are sensitive to necessarily equivalent differences. I investigate an alternative view on which propositions are truthmaker conditions, understood as sets of possible truthmakers. This requires making metaphysical sense of merely possible states of affairs. The theory that emerges illuminates the semantic phenomena of samesaying, subject matter, and aboutness.

The business of a proposition is to be true or false, depending on how things are. To every proposition corresponds a truth condition, displaying how things must be for that proposition’s truth. It is natural to take a proposition and its truth condition to be one and the same entity, for that proposition is, by its very nature, true in just those situations set out by its truth condition.

As natural as it is, the view cannot be right, for propositions discriminate where truth conditions do not.


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