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What Is the Well-Foundedness of Grounding?

Mind 125 (498):439-468 (2016)

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  1. Metaphysical explanation and the cosmological argument.Thomas Oberle - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (6):1413-1432.
    A premise of the Leibnizian cosmological argument from contingency says that no contingent fact can explain why there are any contingent facts at all. David Hume and Paul Edwards famously denied this premise, arguing that if every fact has an explanation in terms of further facts ad infinitum, then they all do. This is known as the Hume–Edwards Principle (HEP). In this paper, I examine the cosmological argument from contingency within a framework of metaphysical explanation or ground and defend a (...)
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  • Measuring Ontological Simplicity.Noël B. Saenz - 2024 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 11 (25):652-688.
    Standard approaches to ontological simplicity focus either on the number of things or types a theory posits or on the number of fundamental things or types a theory posits. In this paper, I suggest a ground-theoretic approach that focuses on the number of something else. After getting clear on what this approach amounts to, I motivate it, defend it, and complete it.
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  • Symmetric relations.Scott Dixon - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (12):3615-3639.
    There are two ways to characterize symmetric relations. One is intensional: necessarily, _Rxy_ iff _Ryx_. In some discussions of relations, however, what is important is whether or not a relation gives rise to the same completion of a given type (fact, state of affairs, or proposition) for each of its possible applications to some fixed relata. Kit Fine calls relations that do ‘strictly symmetric’. Is there is a difference between the notions of necessary and strict symmetry that would prevent them (...)
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  • Essays in Formal Metaphysics.Daniel Rubio - 2019 - Dissertation, Rutgers - New Brunswick
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  • Observation and Intuition.Justin Clarke-Doane & Avner Ash - 2023 - In Carolin Antos, Neil Barton & Giorgio Venturi (eds.), The Palgrave Companion to the Philosophy of Set Theory. Palgrave.
    The motivating question of this paper is: ‘How are our beliefs in the theorems of mathematics justified?’ This is distinguished from the question ‘How are our mathematical beliefs reliably true?’ We examine an influential answer, outlined by Russell, championed by Gödel, and developed by those searching for new axioms to settle undecidables, that our mathematical beliefs are justified by ‘intuitions’, as our scientific beliefs are justified by observations. On this view, axioms are analogous to laws of nature. They are postulated (...)
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  • Derivative Indeterminacy.Kevin Richardson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-17.
    Indeterminacy is metaphysical (or worldly) if it has its source in the way the world is (rather than how it is represented or known). There are two questions we could ask about indeterminacy. First: does it exist? Second: is indeterminacy derivative? I focus on the second question. Specifically, I argue that (at least some) metaphysical indeterminacy can be derivative, where this roughly means that facts about indeterminacy are metaphysically grounded in facts about what is determinate.
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  • How the Block Grows.Roberto Loss - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4):377-389.
    I argue that the growing-block theory of time and truthmaker maximalism jointly entail that some truthmakers undergo mereological change as time passes. Central to my argument is a grounding-based account of what I call the “purely incremental” nature of the growing-block theory of time. As I will show, the argument presented in this paper suggests that growing-block theorists endorsing truthmaker maximalism have reasons to take composition to be restricted and the “block” of reality to literally grow as time goes by.
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  • Grounding, infinite regress, and the thomistic cosmological argument.Thomas Oberle - 2022 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 92 (3):147-166.
    A prominent Thomistic cosmological argument maintains that an infinite regress of causes, which exhibits a certain pattern of ontological dependence among its members, would be vicious and so must terminate in a first member. Interestingly, Jonathan Schaffer offers a similar argument in the contemporary grounding literature for the view called metaphysical foundationalism. I consider the striking similarities between both arguments and conclude that both are unsuccessful for the same reason. I argue this negative result gives us indirect reason to consider (...)
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  • Multi-Descriptional Physicalism, Level(s) of Being, and the Mind-Body Problem.Savvas Ioannou - 2022 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    The main idea of this thesis is multi-descriptional physicalism. According to it, only physical entities are elements of our ontology, and there are different ways to describe them. Higher-level vocabularies (e.g., mental, neurological, biological) truly describe reality. Sentences about higher-level entities are made true by physical entities. Every chapter will develop multi-descriptional physicalism or defend it from objections. In chapter 1, I will propose a new conceptual reductive account that conceptually reduces higher-level entities to physical entities. This conceptual reductive account (...)
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  • Metaphysical Foundationalism: Consensus and Controversy.Thomas Oberle - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (1):97-110.
    There has been an explosion of interest in the metaphysics of fundamentality in recent decades. The consensus view, called metaphysical foundationalism, maintains that there is something absolutely fundamental in reality upon which everything else depends. However, a number of thinkers have chal- lenged the arguments in favor of foundationalism and have proposed competing non-foundationalist ontologies. This paper provides a systematic and critical introduction to metaphysical foundationalism in the current literature and argues that its relation to ontological dependence and substance should (...)
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  • Grounding and the Existence of God.Joshua R. Sijuwade - 2021 - Metaphysica (2):193-245.
    In this article, I seek to assess the extent to which Theism, the claim that there is a God, can provide a true fundamental explanation for the instantiation of the grounding relation that connects the various entities within the layered structure of reality. More precisely, I seek to utilise the explanatory framework of Richard Swinburne within a specific metaphysical context, a ground-theoretic context, which will enable me to develop a true fundamental explanation for the existence of grounding. And thus, given (...)
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  • Reasoning by grounded analogy.John Grey & David Godden - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):5419-5453.
    Analogical reasoning projects a property taken to hold of something or things (the source) to something else (the target) on the basis of just those similarities premised in the analogy. Standard similarity-based accounts of analogical reasoning face the question: Under what conditions does a collection of similarities sufficiently warrant analogical projection? One answer is: When a thing’s having the premised similarities somehow determines its having the projected property. Standardly, this answer has been interpreted as claiming that a formally defined determination (...)
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  • Against Purity.Jonathan Barker - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    A fundamental fact is “pure” just in case it has no grounded entities—ex. Tokyo, President Biden, the River Nile, {Socrates}, etc.—among its constituents. Purity is the thesis that every fundamental fact is pure. I argue that Purity is false. My argument begins with a familiar conditional: if Purity is true, then there are no fundamental “grounding facts” or facts about what grounds what. This conditional is accepted by virtually all of Purity’s defenders. However, I argue that it is also the (...)
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  • Fundamentality and the Existence of God.Joshua R. Sijuwade - 2021 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía:1-76.
    In this article, I seek to assess the extent to which Theism, the claim that there is a God, can provide a true fundamental explanation for the existence of certain entities within the layered structure of reality. More precisely, I assume the cogency of Swinburne’s explanatory framework and seek to resituate it within a new philosophical context-that of the field of contemporary metaphysics-which will enable me to develop a true fundamental explanation for the existence of the non-fundamental entities that fill (...)
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  • Metaphysical Foundationalism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (4):1661-1681.
    Some facts ground other facts. Some fact is fundamental iff there are no other facts which partially or fully ground that fact. According to metaphysical foundationalism, every non-fundamental fact is fully grounded by some fundamental fact(s). In this paper I examine and defend some neglected considerations which might be made in favor of metaphysical foundationalism. Building off of work by Ross Cameron, I suggest that foundationalist theories are more unified than, and so in one important respect simpler than, non-foundationalist theories, (...)
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  • Grounding, Essence, and Contingentism.Karol Lenart - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2157-2172.
    According to grounding necessitarianism if some facts ground another fact, then the obtaining of the former necessitates the latter. Proponents of grounding contingentism argue against this claim, stating that it is possible for the former facts to obtain without necessitating the latter. In this article I discuss a recent argument from restricted accidental generalisations provided by contingentists that advances such possibility. I argue that grounding necessitarianism can be defended against it. To achieve this aim, I postulate a relationship between grounding (...)
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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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  • Atomism and Fundamentality.Benjamin Schnieder - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (3):551-574.
    The paper focusses on two claims about metaphysical structure: Atomism and Fundamentalism. The first of these claims says that there are mereological atoms, i.e. minimal elements in the mereological structure of reality. The second says that there are fundamental truths, i.e. minimal elements in the grounding structure of reality. A philosopher who defended both of these claims was Bernard Bolzano; the present paper is an exploration of his views on the matter.
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  • Grounding and the Myth of Ontological Innocence.Jonathan Barker - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (2):303-318.
    According to the Ontological Innocence Thesis (OIT), grounded entities are ontologically innocent relative to their full grounds. I argue that OIT entails a contradiction, and therefore must be discarded. My argument turns on the notion of “groundmates,” two or more numerically distinct entities that share at least one of their full grounds. I argue that, if OIT is true, then it is both the case that there are groundmates and that there are no groundmates. Therefore, so I conclude, OIT is (...)
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  • Infinite Descent.T. Scott Dixon - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York: Routledge. pp. 244-58.
    Once one accepts that certain things metaphysically depend upon, or are metaphysically explained by, other things, it is natural to begin to wonder whether these chains of dependence or explanation must come to an end. This essay surveys the work that has been done on this issue—the issue of grounding and infinite descent. I frame the discussion around two questions: (1) What is infinite descent of ground? and (2) Is infinite descent of ground possible? In addressing the second question, I (...)
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  • A new cosmological argument from grounding.Duen-Min Deng - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):418-426.
    This paper presents a new cosmological argument based on considerations about grounding. I argue that, by assuming three plausible principles about grounding, we can construct a cosmological argument for the existence of a unique ungrounded being that ultimately grounds everything else. At the end of the paper I consider two possible objections, and offer my replies to them.
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  • Natural necessity: An introductory guide for ontologists.Fumiaki Toyoshima - 2020 - Applied ontology 15 (1):61-89.
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  • The Mereology of Emergence.Ryan Miller - 2019 - Dissertation, The University of St Andrews
    The debate about the ontological innocence of mereology has generally been framed as a debate about the plausibility of Universal Fusion. Ontologically loaded fusions must be more than the sum of their parts, and this seems to violate parsimony if fusion is universal. Less attention has been paid to the question of what sort of emergence mereological fusions must exhibit if they are irreducible to their parts. The philosophy of science literature provides several models of such strong emergence. Examining those (...)
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  • Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):341-364.
    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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  • New Frontiers in Ground, Essence, and Modality: Introduction.Donnchadh Ó Conaill & Tuomas Tahko - 2021 - Synthese 198 (6):1219-1230.
    Ground, essence, and modality seem to have something to do with each other. Can we provide unified foundations for ground and essence, or should we treat each as primitives? Can modality be grounded in essence, or should essence be expressed in terms of modality? Does grounding entail necessitation? Are the notions of ground and essence univocal? This volume focuses on the links—or lack thereof—between these three notions, as well as the foundations of ground, essence, and modality more generally, bringing together (...)
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  • Fundamentality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2023 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The notion of fundamentality, as it is used in metaphysics, aims to capture the idea that there is something basic or primitive in the world. This metaphysical notion is related to the vernacular use of “fundamental”, but philosophers have also put forward various technical definitions of the notion. Among the most influential of these is the definition of absolute fundamentality in terms of ontological independence or ungroundedness. Accordingly, the notion of fundamentality is often associated with these two other technical notions.
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  • Panpsychism, The Combination Problem, and Plural Collective Properties.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):383-394.
    I develop and defend a version of panpsychism that avoids the combination problem by appealing to plural collective properties.
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  • What Work the Fundamental?Ricki Leigh Bliss - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):359-379.
    Although it is very often taken for granted that there is something fundamental, the literature appears to have developed with little to no careful consideration of what exactly it is that the fundamentalia are supposed to do. If we are to have a good reason to believe that there is something fundamental, we need not only to know what exactly it is that the fundamentalia are invoked for, but why it is that nothing else is available for the task to (...)
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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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  • Indefinitely Descending Ground.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 167-181.
    In this paper I argue against grounding being necessarily well-founded, and provide some reasons to think it's actually not well-founded.
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  • Inheritance arguments for fundamentality.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 182-198.
    Discussion of a metaphysical sense of 'inheritance' and cognate notions relevant to fundamentality.
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  • Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 237-253.
    In this chapter, a generic definition of fundamentality as an ontological minimality thesis is sought and its applicability examined. Most discussions of fundamentality are focused on a mereological understanding of the hierarchical structure of reality, which may be combined with an atomistic, object-oriented metaphysics. But recent work in structuralism, for instance, calls for an alternative understanding and it is not immediately clear that the conception of fundamentality at work in structuralism is commensurable with the mereological conception. However, it is proposed (...)
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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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  • Metaphysical grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    General discussion of grounding, including its formal features, relations to other notions, and applications. (Originally published 2014; revised 2021).
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  • Metaphysical Foundationalism and the Principle of Sufficient Reason.Thomas Oberle - 2022 - Dialogue 61 (3):421-430.
    There is a ubiquitous claim in the grounding literature that metaphysical foundationalism violates the principle of sufficient reason (PSR) in virtue of positing a level of ungrounded facts. I argue that foundationalists can accept the PSR if they are willing to replace funda- mentality as independence with completeness and deny that ground is a strict partial order. The upshot is that the PSR can be compatible with both metaphysical foundation- alism and metaphysical infinitism, and so presupposing this fixed explanatory demand (...)
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  • Grounding, Well-Foundedness, and Terminating Chains.Olley Pearson - 2022 - Philosophia 51 (3):1539-1554.
    It has recently been argued that foundationalists, those who take grounding to be well-founded, should not understand the well-foundedness of grounding as the condition that every grounding chain terminates in the downward direction, because this interpretation of well-foundedness fails to correctly classify certain complex grounding structures. Some structures that plausibly would be acceptable to the foundationalist are classified as not well-founded and others that plausibly would not be acceptable to the foundationalist are classified as well-founded. In this paper I provide (...)
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  • Chains of Being: Infinite Regress, Circularity, and Metaphysical Explanation.Ross P. Cameron - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    'Chains of Being' argues that there can be infinite chains of dependence or grounding. Cameron also defends the view that there can be circular relations of ontological dependence or grounding, and uses these claims to explore issues in logic and ontology.
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  • The Metalogic of Ground: Pure and Iterative Systems.Michael Bevan - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 52 (2):609-641.
    I develop a graph-theoretic model theory for pure and iterative grounding logics.
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  • Metaphysical Overdetermination.Ricki Bliss - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (1):1-23.
    It is widely recognized by proponents of the notion that grounding can be, indeed is, overdetermined. Moreover, it seems safe to suppose that something of a consensus has emerged: grounding is overdetermined and there is nothing about it that we ought to find concerning. Not only is the overdetermination apparently not problematic, metaphysically speaking, but that grounding is overdetermined is not problematic, conceptually speaking, either. From a small sampling of alleged cases, however, no such conclusions can responsibly be drawn. And (...)
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  • On the very idea of normative foundations in critical social theory.Justin Evans - 2023 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 49 (4):385-408.
    I argue that the problem of normative foundations is insoluble. I discuss how and why the apparent problem arose, particularly within the Frankfurt School. Then, I describe various theories of normative foundations and the criticisms that such theories have faced, such as ethno- and andro-centrism, imperialism, and the failure to fulfill their own aims. I make my main argument by way of an analogy: theories of knowledge have wrestled with the question of whether a “given”’ could act as a certain (...)
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  • Anti-Haecceitism and Fundamentality.Maria Scarpati - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (8):1-18.
    Is everything about reality either qualitative or somehow determined by the qualitative character of reality itself? Metaphysical anti-Haecceitism is often taken to be the claim that this is the case, and to entail that reality is fundamentally qualitative. In this paper, I (1) argue against the idea that metaphysical anti-Haecceitism should be characterized in such terms, and (2) defend a novel way to phrase such a view. This will be done by taking the main arguments for anti-Haecceitism as a guide (...)
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  • Priority Monism and Junk.Jamie Taylor - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 63 (1):44-61.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 63, Issue 1, Page 44-61, March 2022.
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  • Roles and their three facets: A foundational perspective.Fumiaki Toyoshima - 2021 - Applied ontology 16 (2):161-192.
    Roles remain nebulous entities, notwithstanding their extensive interdisciplinary research. This paper argues through a meta-ontological conceptual tool of grounding that there are three key facets of roles: a role position, a role specification, and a role potential. A foundational perspective on roles can be specified by “role choices” as to which facet of roles is primary. Role choices are illustrated with theories of roles that are built in compliance with four well-known upper ontologies: GFO, DOLCE, BFO, and UFO. The relationship (...)
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  • Hollow Truth.Louis deRosset - 2021 - Philosophical Review 130 (4):533-581.
    A raft of new philosophical problems concerning truth have recently been discovered by several theorists. These problems concern the question of how ascriptions of truth are to be grounded. Most previous commentators have taken the problems to shed light on the theory of ground. In this paper, I argue that they also shed light on the theory of truth. In particular, I argue that the notion of ground can be deployed to clearly articulate one strand of deflationary thinking about truth, (...)
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  • Grounding, metaphysical laws, and structure.Martin Grajner - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):376-395.
    According to the deductive-nomological account of ground, a fact A grounds another fact B in case the laws of metaphysics determine the existence of B on the basis of the existence of A. Accounts of grounding of this particular variety have already been developed in the literature. My aim in this paper is to sketch a new version of this account. My preferred account offers two main improvements over existing accounts. First, the present account is able to deal with necessitarian (...)
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  • The limits of classical mereology: Mixed fusions and the failures of mereological hybridism.Joshua Kelleher - 2020 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    In this thesis I argue against unrestricted mereological hybridism, the view that there are absolutely no constraints on wholes having parts from many different logical or ontological categories, an exemplar of which I take to be ‘mixed fusions’. These are composite entities which have parts from at least two different categories – the membered (as in classes) and the non-membered (as in individuals). As a result, mixed fusions can also be understood to represent a variety of cross-category summation such as (...)
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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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  • Between Atomism and Superatomism.T. Scott Dixon - 2020 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (6):1215-1241.
    There are at least three vaguely atomistic principles that have come up in the literature, two explicitly and one implicitly. First, standard atomism is the claim that everything is composed of atoms, and is very often how atomism is characterized in the literature. Second, superatomism is the claim that parthood is well-founded, which implies that every proper parthood chain terminates, and has been discussed as a stronger alternative to standard atomism. Third, there is a principle that lies between these two (...)
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  • The fundamental: Ungrounded or all-grounding?Stephan Leuenberger - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2647-2669.
    Fundamentality plays a pivotal role in discussions of ontology, supervenience, and possibility, and other key topics in metaphysics. However, there are two different ways of characterising the fundamental: as that which is not grounded, and as that which is the ground of everything else. I show that whether these two characterisations pick out the same property turns on a principle—which I call “Dichotomy”—that is of independent interest in the theory of ground: that everything is either fully grounded or not even (...)
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  • Ground grounded.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):747-767.
    Most facts of grounding involve nonfundamental concepts, and thus must themselves be grounded. But how? The leading approaches—due to Bennett, deRosset, and Dagupta—are subject to objections. The way forward is to deny a presupposition common to the leading approaches, that there must be some simple formula governing how grounding facts are grounded. Everyone agrees that facts about cities might be grounded in some complex way about which we know little; we should say the same about the facts of grounding themselves. (...)
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