Truthmaker Semantics

Truthmaker Semantics is a new philosophical approach to questions about meaning, with applications in logic and philosophy of language.

Truthmaker semantics has roots in the situation semantics of Barwise and Perry and, going back further, in the logical atomism of Russell and Wittgenstein. Both deal in worldly entities — situations, facts, or states of affairs — more specific than entire possible worlds.

The defining feature of truthmaker semantics is its exact treatment of conjunction, on which conjunction-truthmakers differ from conjunct-truthmakers. The former are fusions of the latter. This feature was noticed by van Fraassen (1969) and built into a metaphysical theory by Rodriguez-Pereyra (2005).

Truthmaker semantics proper begins with Kit Fine’s semantics for counterfactuals (2012), intuitionistic logic (2013), and the logic of containment (2016). Fine’s theory of content (2017a,b) provides an analysis of propositions, subject matter, and partial content.

Recently, there has been a small explosion of research in truthmaker semantics, applying the framework to relevant logic, modal logic, proof theory, intuitionistic modal logic, probability theory, attitude verbs, presuppositions, and compositional semantics.