“All or Nothing: Totality Facts Reconsidered”
A long-standing philosophical tradition thinks that the world consists of facts and that facts play a crucial ontological role. Among other things, appeal to facts has been made to grant truthmakers for descriptive contingent claims. If we think that it is true that Andrea is lazy, then it is true in virtue of a fact constituted by Andrea and its laziness. But what if Andrea isn’t lazy? Those who wrestle with the truthmakers' problem for negative truths have historically taken different routes. Following Russell, some argue that negative truths of this sort are made true by negative facts. Following Armstrong, some others claim that the truthmaker consists of all the positive facts about Andrea and the fact that there are no more facts about him. Of the two solutions, the second enjoys considerable consensus. At the bottom of it rests, as Russell claimed, an unquenchable desire to avoid fundamental negativity. But foes of negative facts claim, more positively, that totality facts are more admissible on two grounds: they pass the Eleatic test, and they are legit explanans for worldly truths. In this talk, I argue that both arguments fail to establish totality facts as superior posit to negative facts. Firstly, I argue that upon certain disambiguation of the Eleatic test, either totality facts fail the test, or negative facts turn out to be admissible too. Secondly, I argue that totality facts, as explanans, violate two formal properties of explanation: minimality of non-monotonicity.
Date / Time / Place
June 22nd / 9:35 / Aula Magna