Ideas of Ross P. Cameron, by Theme

[British, fl. 2008, Lecturer at University of Leeds, and St Andrew's.]

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3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 2. Truthmaker Relation
Moral realism doesn't seem to entail the existence of any things
     Full Idea: Moral realism isn't realism about things, and it seems strange to suggest that moral realism is existence entailing in the way that realism about unobservable is.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Realism')
     A reaction: Cameron is questioning whether a realist has to believe in truthmakers. It seems to me that his doubts are because he insists that truthmaking is committed to the existence of 'things'. I assume any moral realism must supervene on nature.
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 3. Truthmaker Maximalism
Surely if some propositions are grounded in existence, they all are?
     Full Idea: What possible reason could one have for thinking of some propositions that they need to be grounded in what there is that doesn't apply to all propositions?
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: Well, if truthmaking said that all truths are grounded, then some could be grounded in what there is, and others in how it is, or maybe even how it isn't (if you get a decent account of negative truths).
If maximalism is necessary, then that nothing exists has a truthmaker, which it can't have
     Full Idea: I think truthmaker theory is contingently true. [n24] If there could have been nothing, what makes that true? But if truthmaker maximalism is a necessary truth, there's necessarily something.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 4 n24)
     A reaction: Truthmaking is beginning to feel like Gödel's Theorems. You can 'make' lots and lots of truths ('prove' in Gödel), but there will be truths that elude the making. Truthmaker theory itself will be one example. So is Maximalism another one?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 4. Truthmaker Necessitarianism
Orthodox Truthmaker applies to all propositions, and necessitates their truth
     Full Idea: Orthodox truthmaker theory (Armstrong's) entails Maximalism (that every true proposition has at least one truthmaker), and Necessitarianism (that the existence of a truthmaker necessitates the truth of its proposition).
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: I think I accept both of these. If you say only some truths have truthmakers, the other truths are then baffling. And how could a truthmaker fail in its job? But that doesn't necessitate the existence of the proposition.
God fixes all the truths of the world by fixing what exists
     Full Idea: The truthmaker thought is that explanation only bottoms out at existence facts; for God to give a complete plan of the world He needs only make an inventory of what is to exist.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: He is defending Necessitarianism about truthmaking. I'm struggling with this. An inventory of the contents of my house doesn't begin to fix all the truths that arise from them. Why is Cameron so resistent to 'how' things are being part of the truthmaking?
Give up objects necessitating truths, and say their natures cause the truths?
     Full Idea: We could abandon the view that truthmakers necessitate the truth of that which makes them true, and say that an object makes a truth when its intrinsic nature suffices for that truth. The object would have a different intrinsic nature if the truth failed.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties [2009], 'Truthmakers')
     A reaction: [He cites Josh Parsons 1999, 2005 for this] This approach seems closely related to Kit Fine's proposal that necessities arise from the natures of things. It sounds to me as if an object with that intrinsic nature would necessitate that truth.
Determinate truths don't need extra truthmakers, just truthmakers that are themselves determinate
     Full Idea: I reject saying there must be an additional truthmaker for 'Determinately, p': rather, I say that the truthmaker for p must simply be a determinate existent rather than a mere existent.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 6)
     A reaction: As he puts it (quite persuasively), God doesn't need to add an extra truthmaker for a determinate truth. Cameron rejects Necessitarianism. He uses 'determinate' fairly uncritically. What makes the truth of the truthmaker's determinacy?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
What the proposition says may not be its truthmaker
     Full Idea: The explanation of the truth of the proposition [p] doesn't stop at it being the case that p, so it's false to claim that whenever a proposition is true it's true in virtue of the world being as the proposition says it is. The features often lie deeper.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Grounding')
     A reaction: [He is opposing Jennifer Hornsby 2005] Cameron offers 'the average family has 2.4 children' as a counterexample' (since no one actually has 2.4 children). That seems compelling. Second example: 'the rose is beautiful'.
Rather than what exists, some claim that the truthmakers are ways of existence, dispositions, modalities etc
     Full Idea: Rivals to the truthmaker claim that facts about what there is are the truthmakers, there are theories that add facts about how the things are, or add dispositional facts, or modal facts, or haecceitistic facts, or maybe moral facts.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Grounding')
     A reaction: [compressed] He seems to think his version has a monopoly on truthmaking, but I don't see why these other theories shouldn't count as truthmaking. The truthmaker for 'live grenades are dangerous' is not just the existence of grenades.
Truthmaking doesn't require realism, because we can be anti-realist about truthmakers
     Full Idea: It's definitely not sufficient to be a realist that one be a truthmaker theorist, since one can simply be anti-realist about the truthmakers.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Realism')
     A reaction: It is not quite clear how unreal truth makers could actually MAKE propositions true, rather than just being correlated with them.
The facts about the existence of truthmakers can't have a further explanation
     Full Idea: The orthodox truthmaker theorist thinks the facts concerning the existence of the truthmakers do not admit of further explanation.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 6)
     A reaction: It is fairly obvious, I suppose, that not every truth can have a truthmaker, just as the verification principle could not be verified, and you can't perceive your perception in order to check it. Could God withdraw the power of truthmaking?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / c. States of affairs make truths
Truthmaker requires a commitment to tropes or states of affairs, for contingent truths
     Full Idea: The most popular view is that an object is a truthmaker if the object couldn't exist and the truth be false. But contingent predications are also held to need truthmakers. Socrates is not necessarily snub-nosed, so a trope or state of affairs is needed.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties [2009], 'Truthmakers')
     A reaction: Cameron calls this 'some heavy ontological commitments'. If snub-nosedness is necessitated by the trope of 'being snub-nosed', what is the truthmaker for Socrates having that trope?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 6. Making Negative Truths
Without truthmakers, negative truths must be ungrounded
     Full Idea: If negative truths don't have truthmakers then make no mistake: they are ungrounded.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: What would be the grounding for truths which expressed the necessary preconditions for all existence? Could 'nothing whatever exists' ever be a truth?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 9. Making Past Truths
The present property 'having been F' says nothing about a thing's intrinsic nature
     Full Idea: The property 'being such as to have been a child' is suspicious because it points beyond its instances in the sense that a thing's presently having that property tells us nothing about the present intrinsic nature of the thing.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 2)
     A reaction: This is his objection to what he calls the 'Lucretian' strategy, which tries to make history into a property of present reality. That is implausible, I think, because there is no test for the property, apart from knowledge of the past. Reality is tensed?
One temporal distibution property grounds our present and past truths
     Full Idea: Temporal distributional properties are fundamental - it is exactly the same property that is grounding the truth about how the bearer now is that is grounding truths about how the bearer was.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 4)
     A reaction: Some kind of slight of hand is going on here, though he does a nice job of confronting all possible objections. This is the sort of metaphysics you come up with when you stake everything on the dubious notion of a 'property'.
We don't want present truthmakers for the past, if they are about to cease to exist!
     Full Idea: Whilst not logically inconsistent, it would be bad if it could now be true that ten years ago there was a sea battle, but that five years ago it wasn't true that five years before that there was a sea battle.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 4)
     A reaction: Nicely makes the point that you can't let the past rely on truthmakers in the present, if those truthmakers are about to go out of existence. So you need a sustained truthmaker, without giving up presentism. Enter 'temporally distributed properties'?
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 11. Truthmaking and Correspondence
I support the correspondence theory because I believe in truthmakers
     Full Idea: I tend to think that the fundamental reason we can have the correspondence theory of truth is that truthmaker theory is correct.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: [This responds to Fumerton 2006, who gives the opposite view] Cameron gives himself the classic problem of spelling out the correspondence relation (perhaps as 'congruence'). I like truthmaking, but I'm unsure about correspondence.
Maybe truthmaking and correspondence stand together, and are interdefinable
     Full Idea: One view says truthmaker theory stands or falls with the correspondence theory of truth, because the truthmaker for p is just the portion of reality that p corresponds to: truthmaker and correspondence can be conversely defined.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: The normal view, which I prefer, is that correspondence is a particular theory of truthmaking, invoking a precise 'correspondence' relation. Hence abolishing correspondence would not abolish truthmaking, if you had a rival account.
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 3. Modal Logic Systems / g. System S4
S4 says there must be some necessary truths (the actual ones, of which there is at least one)
     Full Idea: S4 says there must be some necessary truths, because the actual necessary truths must be necessary. (It says if there are some actual necessary truths then that is so - but the S4 axiom is an actual necessary truth, if true).
     From: Ross P. Cameron (On the Source of Necessity [2010], 2)
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 2. Realism
For realists it is analytic that truths are grounded in the world
     Full Idea: The analytic commitment of realism is that truths are grounded in the world.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Grounding')
     A reaction: Certain fifth-level truths might be a long way from the actual world, and deeply interfused with human concepts and theories. Negative truths must be fitted into this picture.
Realism says a discourse is true or false, and some of it is true
     Full Idea: Realism about a discourse is 1) to think that the sentences are, when construed literally, literally true or false, and 2) to think that some of the sentences of the discourse are non-vacuously true.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Realism')
     A reaction: [Cameron adds 'non-vacuously' to an idea of Sayre-McCord 199 p.5] This is realism based on what is 'true', without specifying 'commitments', so I like it. Cameron says it makes mathematical postulationists into realists. He likes 'mind-independent'.
Realism says truths rest on mind-independent reality; truthmaking theories are about which features
     Full Idea: All that is necessary for realism, I claim, is that truth is grounded in mind-independent features of fundamental reality. Truthmaker theory comes into play because it is a theory about what those features are (…so it isn't a commitment to realism).
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Realism')
     A reaction: [He cites Michael Devitt for this approach] What is the word 'fundamental' doing here? Because the mind-dependent parts of reality are considered non-fundamental? The no-true-Scotsman-hates-whisky move? His truthmaking is committed to 'things'.
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
Being polka-dotted is a 'spatial distribution' property
     Full Idea: Spatial distribution properties say how things are across a region of space, such as being polka-dotted.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 3)
     A reaction: I think the routine fallacy of inferring properties from predicates is buried here. We truthfully describe it as 'polka-dotted', but that doesn't mean we must reify polka-dottedness, and see it as a feature of the world. What is a 'jumbled' space?
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 4. Intrinsic Properties
Essentialists say intrinsic properties arise from what the thing is, irrespective of surroundings
     Full Idea: The essentialist approach would be to say that an intrinsic property is one such that it is no part of what it is to instantiate that property that the bearer stands in some relation to its surroundings.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties [2009], 'Analysis')
     A reaction: This is offered as an alternative to the David Lewis account in terms of duplicates across possible worlds. You will have gathered by now, if you have spent days poring over my stuff, that I favour the essentialist approach.
An object's intrinsic properties are had in virtue of how it is, independently
     Full Idea: Intrinsic properties are those that an object has solely in virtue of how it is, independently of its surroundings.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties [2009], 'Intro')
     A reaction: Better not mention quantum mechanics and fields if you want to talk of objects being independent of their surroundings. Am I 'independent' of gravity, or is gravity 'independent' of me?
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 1. Objects over Time
Most criteria for identity over time seem to leave two later objects identical to the earlier one
     Full Idea: Criteria for identity across times have proven hard to give. Whatever criteria we lay down, it seems that there are possible situations in which two later objects bear the relevant relation to one earlier object, though only one of them can be identical.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties [2009], 'Personal')
     A reaction: We only have to think of twins, amoebae that fission, and the Ship of Theseus. We seem to end up inventing a dubious criterion in order to break the tie.
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 2. Objects that Change
Change is instantiation of a non-uniform distributional property, like 'being red-then-orange'
     Full Idea: What change is on the account being offered is to instantiate a non-uniform distributional property. Being red at one time and orange at a later time is to be analysed as instantiating the distributional property 'being red-then-orange'.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 4)
     A reaction: One of those moments when you begin to doubt whether 'being analysed' successfully actually adds much to our wisdom. His property sounds suspiciously 'gruesome' - i.e. subject to the vagaries of how we chose to describe the thing.
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 1. Sources of Necessity
Blackburn fails to show that the necessary cannot be grounded in the contingent
     Full Idea: I conclude that Blackburn has not shown that any grounding of the necessary in the contingent (the Contingency Horn of his dilemma) is doomed to failure.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (On the Source of Necessity [2010], 2)
     A reaction: [You must read the article for details of Cameron's argument!] He goes on to also reject the Necessity Horn (that there is a regress if necessities must rely on necessities).
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 2. Nature of Possible Worlds / a. Nature of possible worlds
We should reject distinct but indiscernible worlds
     Full Idea: I think we should reject distinct but indiscernible worlds.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology [2008], 'Max and Nec')
     A reaction: An interesting passing remark. Presumably there would be unknowable truths about such worlds, which wouldn't bother a full-blooded realist. Indiscernible to whom? Me? Humanity? A divine mind?
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / f. Eternalism
The 'moving spotlight' theory makes one time privileged, while all times are on a par ontologically
     Full Idea: What seems so wrong about the 'moving spotlight' theory is that here one time is privileged, but all the times are on a par ontologically.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (On the Source of Necessity [2010], 4)
     A reaction: The whole thing is baffling, but this looks like a good point. All our intuitions make presentism (there's only the present) look like a better theory than the moving spotlight (that the present is just 'special').
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 3. Parts of Time / c. Intervals
Surely if things extend over time, then time itself must be extended?
     Full Idea: If there are temporally extended entities - and there are - then there must be extended regions of time for those entities to extend in. Hence presentism is false.
     From: Ross P. Cameron (Truthmaking for Presentists [2011], 4)
     A reaction: [Cameron is playing devil's advocate] Something has to be weird here, and I take it to be the fact that the past no longer exists, and yet it is fixed and supports truths. Get over it. My childhood has gone. Totally. Irrevocably.