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  1. Dependence Relations in General Relativity.Antonio Vassallo - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (1):2.
    The paper discusses from a metaphysical standpoint the nature of the dependence relation underpinning the talk of mutual action between material and spatiotemporal structures in general relativity. It is shown that the standard analyses of dependence in terms of causation or grounding are ill-suited for the general relativistic context. Instead, a non-standard analytical framework in terms of structural equation modeling is exploited, which leads to the conclusion that the kind of dependence encoded in the Einstein field equations is a novel (...)
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  • Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The Question of Iterated Grounding (QIG) asks what grounds the grounding facts. Although the question received a lot of attention in the past few years, it is usually discussed independently of another important issue: the connection between metaphysical explanation and the relation or relations that supposedly “back” it. I will show that once we get clear on the distinction between metaphysical explanation and the relation(s) backing it, we can distinguish no fewer than four questions lumped under QIG. I will also (...)
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  • Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  • Moral Supervenience.Anandi Hattiangadi - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4):592-615.
    It is widely held, even among nonnaturalists, that the moral supervenes on the natural. This is to say that for any two metaphysically possible worlds w and w′, and for any entities x in w and y in w′, any isomorphism between x and y that preserves the natural properties preserves the moral properties. In this paper, I put forward a conceivability argument against moral supervenience, assuming non-naturalism. First, I argue that though utilitarianism may be true, and the trolley driver (...)
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  • Grounds and ‘Grounds’.Bradley Rettler - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):631-655.
    In this paper, I offer a new theory of grounding. The theory has it that grounding is a job description that is realized by different properties in different contexts. Those properties play the grounding role contingently, and grounding is the property that plays the grounding role essentially. On this theory, grounding is monistic, but ‘grounding’ refers to different relations in different contexts. First, I argue against Kit Fine’s monist univocalism. Next, I argue against Jessica Wilson’s pluralist multivocalism. Finally, I introduce (...)
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  • What Is a Thing?M. Oreste Fiocco - 2019 - Metaphilosophy 50 (5):649-669.
    ‘Thing’ in the titular question should be construed as having the utmost generality. In the relevant sense, a thing just is an entity, an existent, a being. The present task is to say what a thing of any category is. This task is, I believe, the primary one of any comprehensive and systematic metaphysics. Indeed, an answer provides the means for resolving perennial disputes concerning the integrity of the structure in reality—whether some of the relations among things are necessary merely (...)
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  • Metaphysical Constraints, Primitivism, and Reduction.Michael Bertrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (4):503-521.
    The argument from absence of analysis infers primitivism about some x from the absence of a reductive analysis of x. But philosophers use the word ‘primitive’ to mean many distinct things. I argue that there is a robust sense of ‘primitive’ present in the metaphysics literature that cannot be inferred via the AAA. Successfully demonstrating robust primitivism about some x requires showing two things at once: that a reduction of x is not possible and that an explanatorily deep characterization of (...)
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  • Metaphysical Causation.Alastair Wilson - 2018 - Noûs:723-751.
    There is a systematic and suggestive analogy between grounding and causation. In my view, this analogy is no coincidence. Grounding and causation are alike because grounding is a type of causation: metaphysical causation. In this paper I defend the identification of grounding with metaphysical causation, drawing on the causation literature to explore systematic connections between grounding and metaphysical dependence counterfactuals, and I outline a non-reductive counterfactual theory of grounding along interventionist lines.
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  • The Nomological Account of Ground.Tobias Wilsch - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3293-3312.
    The article introduces and defends the Nomological Account of ground, a reductive account of the notion of metaphysical explanation in terms of the laws of metaphysics. The paper presents three desiderata that a theory of ground should meet: it should explain the modal force of ground, the generality of ground, and the interplay between ground and certain mereological notions. The bulk of the paper develops the Nomological Account and argues that it meets the three desiderata. The Nomological Account relies on (...)
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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  • Nothing Over and Above.Theodore Sider - 2015 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 91 (1):191-216.
    The slogan “the whole is nothing over and above the parts” and related vague thoughts animate many theories of parthood and arguably are central to our ordinary conception. I examine some issues connected with this slogan.
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  • The Causal Metaphor Account of Metaphysical Explanation.Jonathan Shaheen - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (3):553-578.
    This paper argues that the semantic facts about ‘because’ are best explained via a metaphorical treatment of metaphysical explanation that treats causal explanation as explanation par excellence. Along the way, it defends a commitment to a unified causal sense of ‘because’ and offers a proprietary explanation of grounding skepticism. With the causal metaphor account of metaphysical explanation on the table, an extended discussion of the relationship between conceptual structure and metaphysics ends with a suggestion that the semantic facts about ‘because’ (...)
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  • Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • Ground by Law.Gideon Rosen - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):279-301.
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  • Ground.Michael J. Raven - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):322-333.
    This essay focuses on a recently prominent notion of ground which is distinctive for how it links metaphysics to explanation. Ground is supposed to serve both as the common factor in diverse in virtue of questions as well as the structuring relation in the project of explaining how some phenomena are “built” from more fundamental phenomena. My aim is to provide an opinionated synopsis of this notion of ground without engaging with others. Ground, so understood, generally resists illumination by appeal (...)
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  • The Coarse-Grainedness of Grounding.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:306-344.
    After many years of enduring the drought and famine of Quinean ontology and Carnapian meta-ontology, the notion of ground, with its distinctively philosophical flavor, finally promises to give metaphysicians something they can believe in again and around which they can rally: their very own metaphysical explanatory connection which apparently cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, other familiar idioms such as identity, modality, parthood, supervenience, realization, causation or counterfactual dependence. Often, phenomena such as the following are cited as (...)
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  • The Unity of Grounding.Selim Berker - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):729-777.
    I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
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  • By Our Bootstraps.Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):27-41.
    Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
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  • Extended Cognition & the Causal‐Constitutive Fallacy: In Search for a Diachronic and Dynamical Conception of Constitution.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):320-360.
    Philosophical accounts of the constitution relation have been explicated in terms of synchronic relations between higher‐ and lower‐level entities. Such accounts, I argue, are temporally austere or impoverished, and are consequently unable to make sense of the diachronic and dynamic character of constitution in dynamical systems generally and dynamically extended cognitive processes in particular. In this paper, my target domain is extended cognition based on insights from nonlinear dynamics. Contrariwise to the mainstream literature in both analytical metaphysics and extended cognition, (...)
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  • Diachronic Metaphysical Building Relations: Towards the Metaphysics of Extended Cognition.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2014 - Dissertation, Macquarie University
    In the thesis I offer an analysis of the metaphysical underpinnings of the extended cognition thesis via an examination of standard views of metaphysical building (or, dependence) relations. -/- In summary form, the extended cognition thesis is a view put forth in naturalistic philosophy of mind stating that the physical basis of cognitive processes and cognitive processing may, in the right circumstances, be distributed across neural, bodily, and environmental vehicles. As such, the extended cognition thesis breaks substantially with the still (...)
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  • Emergence, Function and Realization.Umut Baysan - forthcoming - In Sophie Gibb, Robin Hendry & Tom Lancaster (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Emergence. London: Routledge.
    “Realization” and “emergence” are two concepts that are sometimes used to describe same or similar phenomena in philosophy of mind and the special sciences, where such phenomena involve the synchronic dependence of some higher-level states of affairs on the lower-level ones. According to a popular line of thought, higher-level properties that are invoked in the special sciences are realized by, and/or emergent from, lower-level, broadly physical, properties. So, these two concepts are taken to refer to relations between properties from different (...)
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  • Species of Realization and the Free Energy Principle.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):706-723.
    This paper examines, for the first time, the relationship between realization relations and the free energy principle in cognitive neuroscience. I argue, firstly, that the free energy principle has ramifications for the wide versus narrow realization distinction: if the free energy principle is correct, then organismic realizers are insufficient for realizing free energy minimization. I argue, secondly, that the free energy principle has implications for synchronic realization relations, because free energy minimization is realized in dynamical agent-environment couplings embedded at multiple (...)
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  • Causal and Constitutive Explanation Compared.Petri Ylikoski - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (2):277-297.
    This article compares causal and constitutive explanation. While scientific inquiry usually addresses both causal and constitutive questions, making the distinction is crucial for a detailed understanding of scientific questions and their interrelations. These explanations have different kinds of explananda and they track different sorts of dependencies. Constitutive explanations do not address events or behaviors, but causal capacities. While there are some interesting relations between building and causal manipulation, causation and constitution are not to be confused. Constitution is a synchronous and (...)
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  • A Church–Fitch Proof for the Universality of Causation.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2013 - Synthese 190 (14):2749-2772.
    In an attempt to improve upon Alexander Pruss’s work (The principle of sufficient reason: A reassessment, pp. 240–248, 2006), I (Weaver, Synthese 184(3):299–317, 2012) have argued that if all purely contingent events could be caused and something like a Lewisian analysis of causation is true (per, Lewis’s, Causation as influence, reprinted in: Collins, Hall and paul. Causation and counterfactuals, 2004), then all purely contingent events have causes. I dubbed the derivation of the universality of causation the “Lewisian argument”. The Lewisian (...)
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  • An Account of Truthmaking.Noël Blas Saenz - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    In this paper, I both propose and discuss a novel account of truthmaking. I begin by showing what truthmaking is not: it is not grounding and it is not correspondence. I then show what truthmaking is by offering an account that appeals both to grounding and what I call ‘deep correspondence’. After I present the account and show that it is an account that unifies, I put it to work by showing how it can overcome an objection to truthmaking, how (...)
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  • Causal versus constitutivo. ¿Dónde debemos trazar los límites de la mente?Juan Toro - 2018 - Ideas Y Valores 67:93-111.
    ¿Cómo saber qué entidades causan los procesos mentales y qué entidades los constituyen? La relevancia de esta pregunta cobra fuerza a partir de la objeción de Adams y Aizawa a la teoría de la mente extendida. Este artículo reconstruye algunos argumentos a favor la teoría de la mente extendida y del externalismo de la conciencia. Posteriormente, se evalúa la propuesta de Kirchhoff de una noción de constitución como una relación entre niveles. Actualmente la discusión carece de un acuerdo básico sobre (...)
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  • Metaphysical Explanation by Constraint.Michael Bertrand - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1325-1340.
    It is often thought that metaphysical grounding underwrites a distinctive sort of metaphysical explanation. However, it would be a mistake to think that all metaphysical explanations are underwritten by metaphysical grounding. In service of this claim, I offer a novel kind of metaphysical explanation called metaphysical explanation by constraint, examples of which have been neglected in the literature. I argue that metaphysical explanations by constraint are not well understood as grounding explanations.
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  • Partial Resemblance and Property Immanence.Paul Audi - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):884-903.
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  • Kind‐Dependent Grounding.Alex Moran - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):359-390.
    Are grounding claims fully general in character? If an object a is F in virtue of being G, does it follow that anything that’s G is F for that reason? According to the thesis of Weak Formality, the answer here is ‘yes’. In this paper, however, I argue that there is philosophical utility in rejecting this thesis. More exactly, I argue that two currently unresolved problems in contemporary metaphysics can be dealt with if we hold that there can be cases (...)
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  • What is Wrong with Self-Grounding?David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1157-1180.
    Many philosophers embrace grounding, supposedly a central notion of metaphysics. Grounding is widely assumed to be irreflexive, but recently a number of authors have questioned this assumption: according to them, it is at least possible that some facts ground themselves. The primary purpose of this paper is to problematize the notion of self-grounding through the theoretical roles usually assigned to grounding. The literature typically characterizes grounding as at least playing two central theoretical roles: a structuring role and an explanatory role. (...)
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  • Gender and Gender Terms1.Elizabeth Barnes - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Philosophical theories of gender are typically understood as theories of what it is to be a woman, a man, a nonbinary person, and so on. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake. There’s good reason to suppose that our best philosophical theory of gender might not directly match up to or give the extensions of ordinary gender categories like ‘woman’.
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  • Each Thing Is Fundamental: Against Hylomorphism and Hierarchical Structure.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):289-301.
    Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe (...)
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  • Grounding and Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in (...)
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  • Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind: A Defense.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - In Ken Aizawa Carl Gillett (ed.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  • Physicalism, Not Scientism.Alyssa Ney - forthcoming - In Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels & Rene van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
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  • Grounding and the Argument From Explanatoriness.David Kovacs - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2927-2952.
    In recent years, metaphysics has undergone what some describe as a revolution: it has become standard to understand a vast array of questions as questions about grounding, a metaphysical notion of determination. Why should we believe in grounding, though? Supporters of the revolution often gesture at what I call the Argument from Explanatoriness: the notion of grounding is somehow indispensable to a metaphysical type of explanation. I challenge this argument and along the way develop a “reactionary” view, according to which (...)
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  • Social Construction and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):393-409.
    The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...)
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  • Truths Qua Grounds.Ghislain Guigon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):99-125.
    A number of philosophers have recently found it congenial to talk in terms of grounding. Grounding discourse features grounding sentences that are answers to questions about what grounds what. The goal of this article is to explore and defend a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of grounding discourse. We are familiar with David Lewis's applications of the method of counterpart theory to de re modal discourse. Counterpart-theoretic interpretations of de re modal idioms and grounding sentences share similar motivations, mechanisms, and applications. I shall (...)
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  • Physicalism and Moorean Supervenience.Thomas W. Polger - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (1):72-92.
    G. E. Moore argues that goodness is an intrinsic non-natural property that supervenes irreducibly on the intrinsic natural properties of its bearers. Accordingly, it is often supposed that “Moorean” supervenience is incompatible with physicalism, a naturalistic thesis. In this paper I argue that Moorean supervenience is not in itself incompatible with physicalism, Moore’s ethical non-naturalism notwithstanding. Understanding why will help us to better appreciate the full range of resources available to physicalists.
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  • Composition as Pattern.Steve Petersen - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1119-1139.
    I argue for patternism, a new answer to the question of when some objects compose a whole. None of the standard principles of composition comfortably capture our natural judgments, such as that my cat exists and my table exists, but there is nothing wholly composed of them. Patternism holds, very roughly, that some things compose a whole whenever together they form a “real pattern”. Plausibly we are inclined to acknowledge the existence of my cat and my table but not of (...)
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  • Toward an Algorithmic Metaphysics.Steve Petersen - 2013 - In David Dowe (ed.), Algorithmic Probability and Friends: Bayesian Prediction and Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 306-317.
    There are writers in both metaphysics and algorithmic information theory (AIT) who seem to think that the latter could provide a formal theory of the former. This paper is intended as a step in that direction. It demonstrates how AIT might be used to define basic metaphysical notions such as *object* and *property* for a simple, idealized world. The extent to which these definitions capture intuitions about the metaphysics of the simple world, times the extent to which we think the (...)
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  • Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
    I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...)
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  • Deflating the Determination Argument.Jared Henderson - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (2):167-177.
    This article argues for the compatibility of deflationism and truth-conditional semantic theories. I begin by focusing on an argument due to Dorit Bar-On, Claire Horisk, and William Lycan for incompatibility, arguing that their argument relies on an ambiguity between two senses of the expression ‘is at least.’ I go on to show how the disambiguated arguments have different consequences for the deflationist, and argue that no conclusions are established that the deflationist cannot accommodate. I then respond to some objections and (...)
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  • Essence and Dependence.Jessica Wilson M. - forthcoming - In Mircea Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine. Oxford University Press.
    I first discuss Kit Fine's distinctive 'schema-based' approach to metaphysical theorizing, which aims to identify general principles accommodating any intelligible application of the notion(s), by attention to his accounts of essence and dependence. I then raise some specific concerns about the general principles Fine takes to schematically characterize these notions. In particular, I present various counterexamples to Fine's essence-based account of ontological dependence. The problem, roughly speaking, is that Fine supposes that an object's essence makes reference to just what it (...)
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  • Abstract Explanations in Science.Christopher Pincock - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):857-882.
    This article focuses on a case that expert practitioners count as an explanation: a mathematical account of Plateau’s laws for soap films. I argue that this example falls into a class of explanations that I call abstract explanations.explanations involve an appeal to a more abstract entity than the state of affairs being explained. I show that the abstract entity need not be causally relevant to the explanandum for its features to be explanatorily relevant. However, it remains unclear how to unify (...)
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  • Well Founding Grounding Grounding.Gabriel Oak Rabin & Brian Rabern - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (4):349-379.
    Those who wish to claim that all facts about grounding are themselves grounded (“the meta-grounding thesis”) must defend against the charge that such a claim leads to infinite regress and violates the well-foundedness of ground. In this paper, we defend. First, we explore three distinct but related notions of “well-founded”, which are often conflated, and three corresponding notions of infinite regress. We explore the entailment relations between these notions. We conclude that the meta-grounding thesis need not lead to tension with (...)
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  • Realization Relations in Metaphysics.Umut Baysan - 2015 - Minds and Machines (3):1-14.
    “Realization” is a technical term that is used by metaphysicians, philosophers of mind, and philosophers of science to denote some dependence relation that is thought to obtain between higher-level properties and lower-level properties. It is said that mental properties are realized by physical properties; functional and computational properties are realized by first-order properties that occupy certain causal/functional roles; dispositional properties are realized by categorical properties; so on and so forth. Given this wide usage of the term “realization”, it would be (...)
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  • On the Dispensability of Grounding: Ground-Breaking Work on Metaphysical Explanation.James Norton - 2017 - Dissertation, The University of Sydney
    Primitive, unanalysable grounding relations are considered by many to be indispensable constituents of the metaphysician’s toolkit. Yet, as a primitive ontological posit, grounding must earn its keep by explaining features of the world not explained by other tools already at our disposal. Those who defend grounding contend that grounding is required to play two interconnected roles: accounting for widespread intuitions regarding what is ontologically prior to what, and forming the backbone of a theory of metaphysical explanation, in much the same (...)
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  • How Counterpart Theory Saves Nonreductive Physicalism.Justin Tiehen - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):139-174.
    Nonreductive physicalism faces serious problems regarding causal exclusion, causal heterogeneity, and the nature of realization. In this paper I advance solutions to each of those problems. The proposed solutions all depend crucially on embracing modal counterpart theory. Hence, the paper’s thesis: counterpart theory saves nonreductive physicalism. I take as my inspiration the view that mental tokens are constituted by physical tokens in the same way statues are constituted by lumps of clay. I break from other philosophers who have pursued this (...)
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