SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Truthmakers for Epistemicism
(Epistemology, English)

Roy Sorensen suggested his version of epistemicism in the debate of vagueness and the sorites paradox. According to his truthmaker gap

epistemicism, borderline cases are true but ungrounded sentences: They are true but have no truthmaker.

However, this approach has serious drawbacks. Sorensen has no space for higher-order vagueness and margin

for error, which are significant merits of epistemicism.

This paper explores a better way of employing truthmaker for epistemicism. My goal is two-fold. The first sub-goal is to

suggest a truthmaker semantics for higher-order vagueness. Here come two formal notions playing important roles: partial truthmakers and abundant truthmakers. A partial truthmaker is a piece of fact that contributes to a truth not solely but with other facts ("not enough" truthmaker). An abundant truthmaker also contributes to a truth but other facts independent of that

may do as well ("too much" truthmaker). Given these formal tools, you can analyze the paradox. The sorites arises because we mistake a certain kind of facts (such as the number of hairs) as the necessary and sufficient (i.e. non-partial and non-abundant) factor determining the truth value. You may need extra facts more than the number of hair when evaluating the baldness of the person in question. In other cases, you may determine the truth value with no need of the number of hair. This framework also allows higher-order vagueness. The core idea is this. The excess of facts corresponds to the order of vagueness. The more extra facts needed to determine the truth value, the higher-order its vagueness is. Similarly, the more abundant truthmakers are available, the higher-order its vagueness is.

The second task is to offer a truthmaker reading of the margin for error principle, which is the key of Timothy Williamson's popular version. Such epistemicists ascribe the sorites to our inexact knowledge. I highlight the matching between inexact knowledge and inexact truthmakers.

Chair: Nikolai Shurakov
Time: 10:40-11:10, 08 September 2022 (Thursday)
Location: SR 1.003

Shimpei Endo 
(Hitotsubashi University/University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK)

Testability and Meaning deco