I’ve been working on a paper on minimal truthmakers with an ex-colleague of mine from Durham, Donnchadh O’Conaill (we’ve previously written a paper together on monism). The paper is now at the stage where we could use some feedback. Rather than posting a link to the draft here, I’ll post this general call for volunteers — drop me a message if you think you might like to read it and could perhaps provide some feedback, or even just a general impression. We make some use of the work of Armstrong, Fine, Correia, Sider, and Schaffer, among others. The goal is to defend the usefulness of the notion of minimal truthmakers and to provide a definition of them, as well as give some reasons to think that there indeed are some minimal truthmakers. Our two primary arguments concern the explanatory value of minimal truthmakers, and the idea that at least ‘joint-carving’ (or fundamental) propositions are likely to have minimal truthmakers. The draft is about 8,000 words. The abstract is below.
A minimal truthmaker for a given proposition is the smallest portion of reality which can make this proposition true. Minimal truthmakers are frequently mentioned in the literature, and have been referred to as “of quite special importance for metaphysics” (Armstrong 2004, 19). However, there has been no systematic account of what minimal truthmakers are or of their importance. In this paper we shall clarify the notion of a minimal truthmaker for a given proposition, and argue that there is reason to think that at least some propositions have minimal truthmakers. We shall then argue that the notion of a minimal truthmaker can play a useful role in truthmaker theory, by helping to explain the truth of certain propositions as precisely as possible.