Vallicella’s method is to start with the case where truthmakers are easiest to see in the hopes of working his way out. Because of this, he limits his examples to singular, positive, contingent (SPC) propositions like “Tom is sitting” or “Jones is sick”. Problematically, even SPC’s are difficult enough, and so one never gets to the point of considering other propositions. This raises the question whether the difficulty might be that we are considering the SPC too generally, since we are looking at it with an eye to understanding all propositions. Would it be better to consider what “truthmaking” would be for the singular and contingent as such, and not merely as true?
But of course it won’t do to try to consider the matter without some consideration of propositions as true. The whole question is about truthmakers, and without an account of truth we’re in no position to speak about how it might be made. Vallicella, like most Analytic philosophers, appears to be working from the idea that truth is a form (they would say property) of propositions. One can balk at this account – both Aristotle and St. Thomas take truth not as a feature added to a complete proposition, but as the action of making the proposition itself. Like all making it presupposes a standard, and truth appears to consist in attaining that standard. This is all lost if we treat the already made proposition as the subject of truth, which might be the source of some problems. Perhaps, we might say, that if the question is really about truthmaking then we cannot answer it by thinking truth as belonging to a proposition already made with respect to its truth. One does not make the proposition and then make it true over and above this, one rather makes the proposition true in the act of making it, not in the sense that the act of making suffices to make it true, but because in making we make according to a standard that can either be attained or not. On this account, the “truth maker” can be considered either as a.) as the standard or b.) as the activity (or person) that pulls apart proposition parts or identifies them in an effort to attain the standard, or c.) the proposition parts themselves. It’s easy to recognize three of the four causes here. The one that is left out is the formal cause, since forms do not exist during making. So perhaps that’s the problem.
Take the SPC proposition again, say “Cain is a fratricide”. At the beginning of Genesis IV it is false, at the end it is true. Vallicella sees one and the same proposition which goes from having one property to having another. Again, his thought is that there is a single subject that exits in two different truth states (having and lacking). But if we saw truth as a real making, that is, as a making of a proposition, which like all making is done with an eye to a standard, then to make “Cain is a fratricide” is not the same action at the beginning of the chapter as at the end of it. It’s not that one and the same thing goes from having a property to losing it. What happens is analogous to if your grandma made you a pair of pajamas for your first birthday and then made an identical pair (identical in all respects, including size) for your thirteenth birthday. The proposition is not numerically the same proposition, even if one writes it down and looks at it twice, since there are numerically two different acts of making. In other words, the proposition is not a single subject that goes from having one property to having another.
But then have I simply moved the goalposts to the discussion of the “standard”? Here again, even if I did, I think it pushes the discussion of truthmakers forward. Making needs a standard, that is, something that specifies that the making is of this and not that, and if we see truth making as (for us) the making of a proposition (as opposed to the proposition itself, except by extension) then we’ve made a real advance. But what is this “standard”? Is it a fact? a projection of the proposition? Is there any unproblematic way of describing it?
At the bare minimum, it is being as communicable to mind, or being as present to mind. This is simply what it means to serve as a standard for mind. Since we can experience in ourselves no intrinsic limit of making propositions- said positively, since we experience our infinite power with respect to making propositions – it follows that there is no limit to the manner in which being is communicable to mind. In fact, we must set up a real identity between being and its communicability or presence to mind, since if we did not we would have to posit something that could be but about which we could not make a statement about its being. It would be an unknowable about which it would not be true to say it was an unknowable. But there are no such things. Therefore being as being is communicable to mind. The difference is in our consideration and not in the reality we consider. Something of this sort of universality is required to account for the standard as a standard, even if it does not explain this or that standard.