Lewis's animadversions on the truthmaker principle

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Abstract

The early David Lewis was a staunch critic of the Truthmaker Principle. To endorse the principle, he argued, is to accept that states of affairs are truthmakers for contingent predications. But states of affairs violate Hume's prohibition of necessary connections between distinct existences. So Lewis offered to replace the Truthmaker Principle with the weaker principle that ?truth supervenes upon being?. This chapter argues that even this principle violates Hume's prohibition. Later Lewis came to ?withdraw? his doubts about the Truthmaker Principle, invoking counterpart theory to show how it is possible to respect the principle whilst admitting only things that do not violate Hume's prohibition. What this really reveals is that the Truthmaker Principle is no explanatory advance on the supervenience principle. Extending Lewis's use of counterpart theory also allows us to explain away the necessary connections that threatened to undermine his earlier statements of supervenience.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTruthmakers
EditorsHelen Beebee, Julian Dodd
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages117-140
Number of pages24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005