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The Metaphysics of Knowledge$
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Keith Hossack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206728

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206728.001.0001

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(p.32) 2 Facts
The Metaphysics of Knowledge

Keith Hossack (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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

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