A Thomistic Truthmaker Principle

Timothy Pawl


Summary: 1. Introduction. 2. The First Restriction: Truths about the Past and Future. 3. Theories of Time and the First Restriction. 4. Objections to and Worries about the First Restriction. 5. The Second Restriction: Truths about Non-Being. 6. Objections to and Worries about the Second Restriction. 7. What, Then, to Make of the Passages that Seem to Support Maximalism? 8. Conclusion.

Abstract: In this article I provide a Thomistic truthmaker principle. Although Aquinas himself never provides a truthmaker principle, he does say things that show he thought many truths require truthmakers, or, in other terms, that truths have an ontological grounding. That truths are somehow grounded or explained by reality is an important aspect of Thomistic thought. The principle I provide could be affirmed by someone with Thomistic tendencies: it is consistent with Aquinas’ thought and makes sense of some peculiar aspects of his writings. In what follows, I will argue that a Thomistic truthmaker principle should require all truths about being to have a truthmaker at any time that they are about (and I will explain what these two restrictions mean).

Keywords: St. Thomas Aquinas, Truthmaking, Negative Existentials, Presentism, Eternalism.