Against Facts

Against Facts

Arianna Betti

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780262029216

Publisher: The MIT Press


Against facts argues that we have no good reason to accept facts in our catalog of the world, at least as they are described by the two major metaphysical theories of facts. Neither of these theories is tenable—neither the theory according to which facts are special structured building blocks of reality nor the theory according to which facts are whatever is named by certain expressions of the form “the fact that such and such.” There is reality, and there are entities in reality that we are able to name, but among these entities there are no facts. Drawing on metaphysics, the philosophy of language, and linguistics, Against facts examines the main arguments in favor of and against facts of the two major sorts, distinguished as compositional and propositional, giving special attention to methodological presuppositions. Compositional facts (facts as special structured building blocks of reality) and the central argument for them, Armstrong’s truthmaker argument are criticized in part I. Propositional facts (facts as whatever is named in “the fact that” statements) and what Against facts calls the argument from nominal reference, which draws on a Quine-like criterion of ontological commitment, are criticized in part II. Against facts argues that metaphysicians should stop worrying about facts, and philosophers in general should stop arguing for or against entities on the basis of how we use language.