Farewell to Facts
The Conclusion sums up Against Facts’ main findings: in part I and II Armstrong’s truthmaker argument and the argument from nominal reference have been shown to be unsound. The two kinds of methodology used in the two parts of the book are highlighted, and certain enterprises in language-based descriptive metaphysics are criticised, namely enterprises that pretends to discover something about metaphysical entities by citing natural language analyses. It is argued that at least in case of technical philosophical terms like ‘fact’, ‘proposition’, ‘event’, and the like, reference collapses into fixing by stipulation a semantic value for those terms. The methodological proposal is made that we are entitled to take certain (categories of) entities as semantic value of certain expressions only if these entities are best-explanation players for the theoretical roles we deemed must indispensably be played, where indispensability is decided by criteria of theory choice agreed upon by the largest scientific community. It is concluded that defenders of facts have so far failed to show that facts should be given any place in metaphysics.
Keywords: Facts, Argument from Nominal Reference, Armstrong’s truthmaker argument, Natural language, Theoretical roles played by entities, Reference, Semantic Value, Language-based descriptive metaphysics, Metholodogy, Theory choice in metaphysics
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