Keith Hossack

in The Metaphysics of Knowledge

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199206728
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191709777 | DOI:

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This chapter outlines a theory of facts, according to which facts are combinations of particulars and universals. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 discusses the relation between the theory of facts and Realism, the traditional metaphysical doctrine of universals. Section 2 places at the centre of the theory of facts and universals the relation of combination, a multigrade relation taking a variable number of terms. Section 3 discusses the ‘vector logic’ of multigrade relations. Section 4 introduces ‘the problem of the unity of the proposition’, i.e., the problem of why it is impossible to judge ‘nonsense’. This turns out to be the same as the problem of the distinction between particulars and universals. Section 5 rejects solutions that invoke extra entities such as propositions or states of affairs. Section 6 offers a solution via the theory of negative facts. Section 7 extends the theory of negative facts to other complex facts, namely conjunctive and general facts. Section 8 further extends the theory of complex facts to allow it to cope with multiple generality, without the need to resort either to ‘logical forms’ or to ‘variables’. Section 9 suggests that an adequate semantic theory for the Predicate Calculus can be developed within the theory of facts.

Keywords: theory of facts; Realism; combination; vector logic; sense; nonsense; negation; complex facts; adequacy condition

Chapter.  27481 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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