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Metaphysical grounding

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2021)

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  1. Emptying a Paradox of Ground.Jack Woods - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):631-648.
    Sometimes a fact can play a role in a grounding explanation, but the particular content of that fact make no difference to the explanation—any fact would do in its place. I call these facts vacuous grounds. I show that applying the distinction between-vacuous grounds allows us to give a principled solution to Kit Fine and Stephen Kramer’s paradox of ground. This paradox shows that on minimal assumptions about grounding and minimal assumptions about logic, we can show that grounding is reflexive, (...)
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  • Grounding-Based Formulations of Physicalism.Jessica M. Wilson - 2016 - Topoi 37 (3):495-512.
    I problematize Grounding-based formulations of physicalism. More specifically, I argue, first, that motivations for adopting a Grounding-based formulation of physicalism are unsound; second, that a Grounding-based formulation lacks illuminating content, and that attempts to imbue Grounding with content by taking it to be a strict partial order are unuseful and problematic ; third, that conceptions of Grounding as constitutively connected to metaphysical explanation conflate metaphysics and epistemology, are ultimately either circular or self-undermining, and controversially assume that physical dependence is incompatible (...)
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  • A Grounding-Based Measure of Relative Fundamentality.Jonas Werner - 2020 - Synthese 198 (10):9721-9737.
    Reality is hierarchically structured, or so proponents of the metaphysical posit of grounding argue. The less fundamental facts obtain in virtue of, or are grounded in, the more fundamental facts. But what exactly is it for one fact to be more fundamental than another? The aim of this paper is to provide a measure of relative fundamentality. I develop and defend an account of the metaphysical hierarchy that assigns to each fact a set of ordinals representing the levels on which (...)
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  • Freedom, Foreknowledge, and Dependence.Ryan Wasserman - 2021 - Noûs 55 (3):603-622.
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  • Nominalist Dispositional Essentialism.Lisa Vogt - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2).
    Dispositional Essentialism, as commonly conceived, consists in the claims that at least some of the fundamental properties essentially confer certain causal-nomological roles on their bearers, and that these properties give rise to the natural modalities. As such, the view is generally taken to be committed to a realist conception of properties as either universals or tropes, and to be thus incompatible with nominalism as understood in the strict sense. Pace this common assumption of the ontological import of Dispositional Essentialism, the (...)
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  • The laws of modality.Matthew Tugby - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (8):2597-2618.
    Nomic realists have traditionally put laws to work within a theory of natural modality, in order to provide a metaphysical source for causal necessitation, counterfactuals, and dispositions. However, laws are well-suited to perform other work as well. Necessitation is a widespread phenomenon and includes cases of categorial, conceptual, grounding, mathematical and normative necessitation. A permissive theory of universals allows us to extend nomic realism into these other domains. With a particular focus on grounding necessitation, it is argued that the sorts (...)
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  • Dispositional realism without dispositional essences.Matthew Tugby - 2022 - Synthese 200 (3):1-27.
    Dispositional realism, as we shall use the term, is a non-reductive, anti-Humean approach to dispositions which says that natural properties confer certain dispositions as a matter of metaphysical necessity. A strong form of dispositional realism is known as pan-dispositionalism, which is typically interpreted as the view that all natural properties are identical with, or essentially dependent on, dispositions. One of the most serious problems facing pan-dispositionalism is the conceivability objection, and the solution commonly offered by essentialists employs the so-called redescription (...)
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  • Priority Monism.Kelly Trogdon - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):1-10.
    Argument that priority monism is best understood as being a contingent thesis.
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  • Three Short Arguments Against Goff’s Grounding of Logical Laws in Universal Consciousness.Andrew Thomas - 2021 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy (3):237-246.
    In this paper, I argue that Goff's view that universal consciousness grounds logical laws such as the law of non-contradiction cannot be true on the grounds that we cannot guarantee the classical logic loving nature of universal consciousness that Goff desires in order to ground logical laws. I will present three arguments to show this.
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  • The Ontology of Stories.Atsushi Takada - 2017 - Journal of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 44 (1-2):35-53.
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  • Backing as Truthmaking.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):367–383.
    Separatists about grounding take explanations to be separate from their corresponding grounding-facts. Grounding-facts are supposed to underlie, or back, such explanations. However, the backing relation hasn’t received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide an informative definition of backing. First, I examine two prominent proposals: backing as explaining (Kovacs 2017; 2019a) and backing as grounding (see Sjölin Wirling 2020). Finally, I put forward my own proposal. I argue that under plausible assumptions about the role (...)
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  • In Defence of Hybrid Contingentism.Lukas Skiba - 2022 - Philosophers' Imprint 22 (4):1-30.
    Hybrid contingentism combines first-order contingentism, the view that it is contingent what individuals there are, with higher-order necessitism, the view that it is non-contingent what properties and propositions there are (where these are conceived as entities in the range of appropriate higher-order quantifiers). This combination of views avoids the most delicate problems afflicting alternative contingentist positions while preserving the central contingentist claim that ordinary, concrete entities exist contingently. Despite these attractive features, hybrid contingentism is usually faced with rejection. The main (...)
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  • Possibility, relevant similarity, and structural knowledge.Tom Schoonen - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-22.
    Recently, interest has surged in similarity-based epistemologies of possibility. However, it has been pointed out that the notion of ‘relevant similarity’ is not properly developed in this literature. In this paper, I look at the research done in the field of analogical reasoning, where we find that one of the most promising ways of capturing relevance in similarity reasoning is by relying on the predictive analogy similarity relation. This takes relevant similarity to be based on shared properties that have structural (...)
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  • Fundamental Truthmakers and Non-Fundamental Truths.Arthur Schipper - 2019 - Synthese 198 (4):3073-3098.
    Recently, philosophers have tried to develop a version of truthmaker theory which ties the truthmaking relation closely to the notion of fundamentality. In fact, some of these truthmaker-fundamentalists, as I call them, assume that the notion of fundamentality is intelligible in part by citing, as central examples of fundamentals, truthmakers, which they understand necessarily as constituents of fundamental reality. The aim of this paper is first to bring some order and clarity to this discussion, sketching how far TF is compatible (...)
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  • Sums and Grounding.Noël B. Saenz - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):102-117.
    As I will use the term, an object is a mereological sum of some things just in case those things compose it simply in virtue of existing. In the first half of this paper, I argue that there are no sums. The key premise for this conclusion relies on a constraint on what, in certain cases, it takes for something to ground, or metaphysically explain, something else. In the second half, I argue that in light of my argument against sums, (...)
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  • An account of truthmaking.Noël Blas Saenz - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3413-3435.
    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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  • Grounding and the Explanatory Role of Generalizations.Stefan Roski - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (8):1985-2003.
    According to Hempel’s influential theory of explanation, explaining why some a is G consists in showing that the truth that a is G follows from a law-like generalization to the effect that all Fs are G together with the initial condition that a is F. While Hempel’s overall account is now widely considered to be deeply flawed, the idea that some generalizations play the explanatory role that the account predicts is still often endorsed by contemporary philosophers of science. This idea, (...)
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  • Bolzano and Kim on Grounding and Unification.Stefan Roski - 2019 - Synthese 196 (7):2971-2999.
    It is sometimes mentioned that Bernard Bolzano’s work on grounding anticipates many insights of the current debate on metaphysical grounding. The present paper discusses a certain part of Bolzano’s theory of grounding that has thus far not been discussed in the literature. This part does not so much anticipate what are nowadays common assumptions about grounding, but rather goes beyond them. Central to the discussion will be a thesis of Bolzano’s by which he tries to establish a connection between grounding (...)
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  • New Work for a Theory of Ground.Michael J. Raven - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (6):625-655.
    There has been much recent interest in a distinctively metaphysical kind of determinative explanation: ground. This paper concerns various skeptical challenges to ground’s relevance to metaphysics, such as that it is an empty posit, that the work it is supposed to do is appropriated by other notions, and that it is inapt for specific issues it should serve. I argue against these challenges. My strategy is both critical and constructive. Critical because I argue that versions of these challenges raised by (...)
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  • Entangled Gluons: Replies to Casati, Han, Kim, and Yagisawa.Graham Priest - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):560-568.
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  • On Constructing a Logic for the Notion of Complete and Immediate Formal Grounding.Francesca Poggiolesi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1231-1254.
    In Poggiolesi we have introduced a rigorous definition of the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding; in the present paper our aim is to construct a logic for the notion of complete and immediate formal grounding based on that definition. Our logic will have the form of a calculus of natural deduction, will be proved to be sound and complete and will allow us to have fine-grained grounding principles.
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  • Does a Truly Ultimate God Need to Exist?Johann Platzer - 2019 - Sophia 58 (3):359-380.
    We explore a ‘Neo-Cartesian’ account of divine ultimacy that raises the concept of God to its ultimate level of abstraction so that we can do away with even the question of his existence. Our starting point is God’s relation to the logical and metaphysical order of reality and the views of Descartes and Leibniz on this topic. While Descartes held the seemingly bizarre view that the eternal truths are freely created by God, Leibniz stands for the mainstream view that the (...)
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  • An Egalitarian Account of Composition and Realization.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2022 - The Monist 105 (2):276-292.
    I argue that wholes are neither identical to nor distinct from their parts. Instead, wholes are invariants under some transformations in their parts. Similarly, higher-level properties are neither identical to nor distinct from their lower-level realizers. Instead, higher-level properties are aspects of their realizers that are invariant under some transformations in their realizers. Nowhere in this picture is there any ontological hierarchy between levels of composition or realization. Neither wholes nor their parts are more fundamental. Neither is prior. Neither reduces (...)
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  • Substance Causation.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2018 - Philosophia:1-22.
    I defend the thesis that, if there are substances, substance causation (i.e., causation by substances) is the only sort of causation in the universe – or the only fundamental sort. Subsequently, I develop an account of substance causation that is partly grounded on a peculiar interpretation of absolute change (i.e., of entities' coming and ceasing to be) and qualitative change, on some ontological assumptions about modes (i.e., individual properties that ontologically depend on their bearers) and powers. Finally, I reply to (...)
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  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Modes.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2021 - Metaphysica 22 (2):223-249.
    I offer in this article an account of the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties based on the ontology of modes. Modes are particular properties that directly depend for their identity on their "bearers". In Section 1, I shall introduce the ontology of modes. In Section 2, I shall examine the problem of distinguishing between intrinsic and extrinsic properties by considering another, related problem: that of distinguishing between internal and external relations. In Section 3, I shall present my own account (...)
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  • Five Sources of Contingency for Dispositionalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):9-30.
    Law dispositionalism is the doctrine according to which laws of nature are grounded on powers/dispositions. In this article, I shall examine how certain laws of nature can turn out to be contingent on this view. First of all, I shall distinguish between two versions of law dispositionalism (i.e., a weak and a strong one) and I shall also single out two further theses that may be conjoined with it (i.e., strong and weak dispositional essentialism). I shall then define four different (...)
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  • Autopoietic Enactivism, Phenomenology, and the Problem of Naturalism: A Neutral Monist Proposal.Andrea Pace Giannotta - 2021 - Husserl Studies 37 (3):209-228.
    In this paper, I compare the original version of the enactive view—autopoietic enactivism—with Husserl’s phenomenology, regarding the issue of the relationship between consciousness and nature. I refer to this issue as the “problem of naturalism.” I show how the idea of the co-determination of subject and object of cognition, which is at the heart of autopoietic enactivism, is close to the phenomenological form of correlationism. However, I argue that there is a tension between an epistemological reading of the subject-object correlation (...)
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  • Circumnavigating the Causal Pairing Problem with Hylomorphism and the Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness.Matthew Owen - 2021 - Synthese (S11):2829-2851.
    The causal pairing problem allegedly renders nonphysical minds causally impotent. This article demonstrates how a dualist view I call neo-Thomistic hylomorphism can circumnavigate the causal pairing problem. After explicating the problem and hylomorphism, I provide an account of causal pairing that appeals to a foundational tenet of hylomorphism. Subsequently, I suggest that a prominent view of consciousness in theoretical neuroscience—the integrated information theory—can learn from hylomorphism and likewise account for causal pairing.
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  • Grounding Nonexistence.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):209-229.
    Contingent negative existentials give rise to a notorious paradox. I formulate a version in terms of metaphysical grounding: nonexistence can't be fundamental, but nothing can ground it. I then argue for a new kind of solution, expanding on work by Kit Fine. The key idea is that negative existentials are contingently zero-grounded – that is to say, they are grounded, but not by anything, and only in the right conditions. If this is correct, it follows that grounding cannot be an (...)
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  • The Mackiean Supervenience Challenge.Victor Moberger - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):219-236.
    Non-naturalists about normativity hold that there are instantiable normative properties which are metaphysically discontinuous with natural properties. One of the central challenges to non-naturalism is how to reconcile this discontinuity with the supervenience of the normative on the natural. Drawing on J. L. Mackie’s seminal but highly compressed discussion in Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, this paper argues that the supervenience challenge as usually conceived is merely a symptom of a more fundamental challenge in the vicinity.
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  • Non-Naturalism and Reasons-Firstism: How to Solve the Discontinuity Problem by Reducing Two Queerness Worries to One.Victor Moberger - 2022 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (1):131-154.
    A core tenet of metanormative non-naturalism is that genuine or robust normativity—i.e., the kind of normativity that is characteristic of moral requirements, and perhaps also of prudential, epistemic and even aesthetic requirements—is metaphysically special in a way that rules out naturalist analyses or reductions; on the non-naturalist view, the normative is sui generis and metaphysically discontinuous with the natural. Non-naturalists agree, however, that the normative is modally as well as explanatorily dependent on the natural. These two commitments—discontinuity and dependence—at least (...)
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  • From Indignation to Norms Against Violence in Occupy Geneva: A Case Study for the Problem of the Emergence of Norms.Frédéric Minner - 2015 - Social Science Information 54 (4):497-524.
    Why and how do norms emerge? Which norms emerge and why these ones in particular? Such questions belong to the ‘problem of the emergence of norms’, which consists of an inquiry into the production of norms in social collectives. I address this question through the ethnographic study of the emergence of ‘norms against violence’ in the political collective Occupy Geneva. I do this, first, empirically, with the analysis of my field observations; and, second, theoretically, by discussing my findings. In consequence (...)
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  • Essential Truths and Their Truth-Grounds.Robert Michels - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:790-815.
    This paper motivates and defends a principle which captures a systematic connection between essence, truth, and grounding. It says that if a proposition expresses an essential truth, i.e., if it is true in virtue of the nature of some objects, then there are grounds for its truth which involve these objects. Together with the assumption that a fact can only be grounded in facts which are relevant to it, this principle is then applied in an argument against the monotonicity of (...)
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  • Disjunction and the Logic of Grounding.Giovanni Merlo - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (2):567-587.
    Many philosophers have been attracted to the idea of using the logical form of a true sentence as a guide to the metaphysical grounds of the fact stated by that sentence. This paper looks at a particular instance of that idea: the widely accepted principle that disjunctions are grounded in their true disjuncts. I will argue that an unrestricted version of this principle has several problematic consequences and that it’s not obvious how the principle might be restricted in order to (...)
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  • Grounding and the Objection From Accidental Generalizations.Brannon McDaniel - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):178-184.
    Monistic grounding says that there is one fundamental ground, while pluralistic grounding says that there are many such grounds. Grounding necessitarianism says that grounding entails, but is not reducible to, necessitation, while grounding contingentism says that there are at least some cases where grounding does not entail necessitation. Pluralistic grounding necessitarianism is a very popular position, but accidental generalizations, such as ‘all solid gold spheres are less than one mile in diameter’, pose well-known problems for this view: the many fundamental (...)
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  • Social kinds are essentially mind-dependent.Rebecca Mason - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):3975-3994.
    I defend a novel view of how social kinds (e.g., money, women, permanent residents) depend on our mental states. In particular, I argue that social kinds depend on our mental states in the following sense: it is essential to them that they exist (partially) because certain mental states exist. This analysis is meant to capture the very general way in which all social kinds depend on our mental states. However, my view is that particular social kinds also depend on our (...)
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  • The Conversational Theory of Moral Responsibility and Mckenna's Interdependence Thesis.Paul Manata - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266):61-83.
    Moral responsibility theorists divide over whether facts about holding someone morally responsible are dependent on facts about being morally responsible, or whether the dependence relation runs in the other direction. A novel answer, proposed by Michael McKenna, is that neither side depends on the other. Instead, they are interdependent. Call this the ‘interdependence thesis’. A worry is that the interdependence thesis violates formal principles of metaphysical dependence in terms of ground. This paper analyses and defends the interdependence thesis, interacting with (...)
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  • There Are No Fundamental Facts.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Analysis 81 (1):32-39.
    I present an argument proving that there are no fundamental facts, which is similar to an argument recently presented by Mark Jago for truthmaker maximalism. I suggest that this argument gives us at least some prima facie, defeasible reason to believe that there are no fundamental facts.
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  • Parts Ground the Whole and Are Identical to It.Roberto Loss - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):489-498.
    What is the relation between parts taken together and the whole that they compose? The recent literature appears to be dominated by two different answers to this question, which are normally thought of as being incompatible. According to the first, parts taken together are identical to the whole that they compose. According to the second, the whole is grounded in its parts. The aim of this paper is to make some theoretical room for the view according to which parts ground (...)
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  • Grounds, Roots and Abysses.Roberto Loss - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):41-52.
    The aim of this study is to address the “Grounding Grounding Problem,” that is, the question as to what, if anything, grounds facts about grounding. I aim to show that, if a seemingly plausible principle of modal recombination between fundamental facts and the principle customarily called “Entailment” are assumed, it is possible to prove not only that grounding facts featuring fundamental, contingent grounds are derivative but also that either they are partially grounded in the grounds they feature or they are (...)
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  • Fine’s McTaggart: Reloaded.Roberto Loss - 2017 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 40 (1):209-239.
    In this paper I will present three arguments (based on the notions of constitution, metaphysical reality, and truth, respectively) with the aim of shedding some new light on the structure of Fine’s (2005, 2006) ‘McTaggartian’ arguments against the reality of tense. Along the way, I will also (i) draw a novel map of the main realist positions about tense, (ii) unearth a previously unnoticed but potentially interesting form of external relativism (which I will label ‘hyper-presentism’) and (iii) sketch a novel (...)
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  • Fine’s Trilemma and the Reality of Tensed Facts.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (3):209-217.
    Fine (2005, 2006) has presented a ‘trilemma’ concerning the tense-realist idea that reality is constituted by tensed facts. According to Fine, there are only three ways out of the trilemma, consisting in what he takes to be the three main families of tense-realism: ‘presentism’, ‘(external) relativism’, and ‘fragmentalism’. Importantly, although Fine characterises tense-realism as the thesis that reality is constituted (at least in part) by tensed facts, he explicitly claims that tense realists are not committed to their fundamental existence. Recently, (...)
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  • In defense of fact-only grounding.Tien-Chun Lo - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2891-2899.
    This paper will examine a novel argument in favour of entity grounding over fact-only grounding. The idea of this argument, roughly speaking, is that the proponents of fact-only grounding cannot provide a unified account of grounds of identity, whereas the proponents of entity grounding can. In this paper, I will give a response to this argument. Specifically, I will argue that the problem which this argument raises to the proponents of fact-only grounding is also a problem with which the proponents (...)
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  • Against Fundamentality‐Based Metaphysics.Martin A. Lipman - 2018 - Noûs 52 (3):587-610.
    Metaphysical views typically draw some distinction between reality and appearance, endorsing realism about some subject matters and antirealism about others. There are different conceptions of how best to construe antirealist theories. A simple view has it that we are antirealists about a subject matter when we believe that this subject matter fails to obtain. This paper discusses an alternative view, which I will call the fundamentality-based conception of antirealism. We are antirealists in this sense when we think that the relevant (...)
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  • Structural Problems for Reductionism.Stephan Leuenberger - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3571-3593.
    Universal reductionism—the sort of project pursued by Carnap in the Aufbau, Lewis in his campaign on behalf of Humean supervenience, Jackson in From Metaphysics to Ethics, and Chalmers in Constructing the World—aims to reduce everything to some specified base, more or less austere as it may be. In this paper, I identify two constraints that a promising strategy to argue for universal reductionism needs to satisfy: the exhaustion constraint and the chaining constraint. As a case study, I then consider Chalmers’ (...)
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  • How to Solve The Euthyphro Problem.Uri D. Leibowitz - forthcoming - Sophia:1-12.
    If one answers the question ‘What is G-ness?’ with a biconditional of the form ‘x is G iff x is F,’ one can ask whether x is G because it is F, or whether x is F because it is G. This question, known as The Euthyphro Question, invites one to choose between one of two options which are presented as mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive: either x is G because it is F, or x is F because it is (...)
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  • The Myth of the Myth of Supervenience.David Kovacs - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):1967-1989.
    Supervenience is necessary co-variation between two sets of entities. In the good old days, supervenience was considered a useful philosophical tool with a wide range of applications in the philosophy of mind, metaethics, epistemology, and elsewhere. In recent years, however, supervenience has fallen out of favor, giving place to grounding, realization, and other, more metaphysically “meaty”, notions. The emerging consensus is that there are principled reasons for which explanatory theses cannot be captured in terms of supervenience, or as the slogan (...)
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  • The Deflationary Theory of Ontological Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):481-502.
    When an entity ontologically depends on another entity, the former ‘presupposes’ or ‘requires’ the latter in some metaphysical sense. This paper defends a novel view, Dependence Deflationism, according to which ontological dependence is what I call an aggregative cluster concept: a concept which can be understood, but not fully analysed, as a ‘weighted total’ of constructive and modal relations. The view has several benefits: it accounts for clear cases of ontological dependence as well as the source of disagreement in controversial (...)
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  • Yet Another Puzzle of Ground.Johannes Korbmacher - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (2):1-10.
    We show that any predicational theory of partial ground that extends a standard theory of syntax and that proves some commonly accepted principles for partial ground is inconsistent. We suggest a way to obtain a consistent predicational theory of ground.
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  • Axiomatic Theories of Partial Ground I: The Base Theory.Johannes Korbmacher - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (2):161-191.
    This is part one of a two-part paper, in which we develop an axiomatic theory of the relation of partial ground. The main novelty of the paper is the of use of a binary ground predicate rather than an operator to formalize ground. This allows us to connect theories of partial ground with axiomatic theories of truth. In this part of the paper, we develop an axiomatization of the relation of partial ground over the truths of arithmetic and show that (...)
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