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Fundamentality

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2023)

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  1. 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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  • Laws of Nature.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London: Routledge. pp. 337-346.
    Properties have an important role in specifying different views on laws of nature: virtually any position on laws will make some reference to properties, and some of the leading views even reduce laws to properties. This chapter will first outline what laws of nature are typically taken to be and then specify their connection to properties in more detail. We then move on to consider three different accounts of properties: natural, essential, and dispositional properties, and we shall see that different (...)
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  • Formal Ontology.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2023 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Formal ontology as a main branch of metaphysics investigates categories of being. In the formal ontological approach to metaphysics, these ontological categories are analysed by ontological forms. This analysis, which we illustrate by some category systems, provides a tool to assess the clarity, exactness and intelligibility of different category systems or formal ontologies. We discuss critically different accounts of ontological form in the literature. Of ontological form, we propose a character- neutral relational account. In this metatheory, ontological forms of entities (...)
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  • Black Hole Paradoxes: A Unified Framework for Information Loss.Saakshi Dulani - 2024 - Dissertation, University of Geneva
    The black hole information loss paradox is a catch-all term for a family of puzzles related to black hole evaporation. For almost 50 years, the quest to elucidate the implications of black hole evaporation has not only sustained momentum, but has also become increasingly populated with proposals that seem to generate more questions than they purport to answer. Scholars often neglect to acknowledge ongoing discussions within black hole thermodynamics and statistical mechanics when analyzing the paradox, including the interpretation of Bekenstein-Hawking (...)
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  • Unity of Science.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomenon to another? How (...)
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  • Comments on Making Things Up.Jessica M. Wilson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2):497-506.
    These comments are part of a book symposium on Karen Bennett's book, _Making Things Up_.
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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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  • 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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  • Varieties of Metaphysical Coherentism.Jan Swiderski - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-26.
    According to metaphysical coherentism, grounding relations form an interconnected system in which things ground each other and nothing is ungrounded. This potentially viable view’s logical territory remains largely unexplored. In this paper, I describe that territory by articulating four varieties of metaphysical coherentism. I do not argue for any variety in particular. Rather, I aim to show that not all issues which might be raised against coherentism will be equally problematic for all the versions of that view, which features far (...)
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  • Relativity in a Fundamentally Absolute World.Jack Spencer - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):305-328.
    This paper develops a view on which: (a) all fundamental facts are absolute, (b) some facts do not supervene on the fundamental facts, and (c) only relative facts fail to supervene on the fundamental facts.
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  • The Magical Santayanan Groundwork for Metaphysical Coherentism.Forrest Adam Sopuck - 2022 - The Pluralist 17 (2):107-140.
    There is a tension in Santayana's ontological system, one that is generated by the interactions of his doctrine of existence, doctrine of systematization, and critical agnosticism on the infinity of material substance. From and, in conjunction with what will be called the expansionist postulate, an infinite material expansion is generated, one that is in conflict with. This tension is remediated by a coherentist proposal regarding Santayanan existence, the relevant feature of which is that existents at distinct orders of organization are (...)
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  • The Lorentz Transformation in a Fishbowl: A Comment on Cheng and Read’s “Why Not a Sound Postulate?”.Daniel Shanahan - 2023 - Foundations of Physics 53 (3):1-22.
    In support of their contention that it is the absence of a subsisting medium that imbues the speed of light with fundamentality, Bryan Cheng and James Read discuss certain “fishbowl universes” in which physical influences evolve, not at the speed of light, but that of sound. The Lorentz transformation simulated in these sonic universes, which the authors cite from the literature of analogue gravity, is not that of Einstein, for whom an aether was “superfluous”, but that of the earlier relativity (...)
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  • Fundamentality physicalism.Gabriel Oak Rabin - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (1):77-116.
    ABSTRACT This essay has three goals. The first is to introduce the notion of fundamentality and to argue that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The second is to argue for the advantages of fundamentality physicalism over modal formulations and that fundamentality physicalism is what many who endorse modal formulations of physicalism had in mind all along. Third, I describe what I take to be the main obstacle for a fundamentality-oriented formulation of physicalism: ‘the problem (...)
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  • Conceptual (and Hence Mathematical) Explanation, Conceptual Grounding and Proof.Francesca Poggiolesi & Francesco Genco - 2021 - Erkenntnis:1-27.
    This paper studies the notions of conceptual grounding and conceptual explanation (which includes the notion of mathematical explanation), with an aim of clarifying the links between them. On the one hand, it analyses complex examples of these two notions that bring to the fore features that are easily overlooked otherwise. On the other hand, it provides a formal framework for modeling both conceptual grounding and conceptual explanation, based on the concept of proof. Inspiration and analogies are drawn with the recent (...)
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  • Conceptual (and Hence Mathematical) Explanation, Conceptual Grounding and Proof.Francesca Poggiolesi & Francesco Genco - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (4):1481-1507.
    This paper studies the notions of conceptual grounding and conceptual explanation (which includes the notion of mathematical explanation), with an aim of clarifying the links between them. On the one hand, it analyses complex examples of these two notions that bring to the fore features that are easily overlooked otherwise. On the other hand, it provides a formal framework for modeling both conceptual grounding and conceptual explanation, based on the concept of proof. Inspiration and analogies are drawn with the recent (...)
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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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  • Relationism and the Problem of Order.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2023 - Acta Analytica 38 (2):245-273.
    Relationism holds that objects entirely depend on relations or that they must be eliminated in favour of the latter. In this article, I raise a problem for relationism. I argue that relationism cannot account for the order in which non-symmetrical relations apply to their relata. In Section 1, I introduce some concepts in the ontology of relations and define relationism. In Section 2, I present the Problem of Order for non-symmetrical relations, after distinguishing it from the Problem of Differential Application. (...)
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  • Fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. Part I: Metaphysics.Matteo Morganti - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (7):e12690.
    This is the first part of a two-tier overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. It provides an introduction to the notion of fundamentality in metaphysics, as well as to several related concepts. The key issues in the contemporary debate on the topic are summarised, making systematic reference to the most relevant literature. In particular, various ways in which the fundamental entities and the fundamental structure of reality may be conceived are illustrated and discussed. A final (...)
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  • A Defense on the Usefulness of ‘Big-G’ Grounding.Markel Kortabarria - 2023 - Metaphysica: International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics 24 (1):147-174.
    Contemporary metaphysics has undergone a change of perspective due to the irruption of Grounding in discussions of metaphysical dependence. Proponents argue that Grounding is the primitive relationship of determination underlying many of the traditionally posited idioms of metaphysical dependence. In a recent line of scepticism Jessica Wilson has argued that the inability of the notion to be informatively effective regarding substantial matters of metaphysical determination renders it useless in the face of theoretical work. To supply this lack of informativeness proponents (...)
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  • A New Perspective on Time and Physical Laws.Lucy James - 2022 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 73 (4):849-877.
    Craig Callender claims that ‘time is the great informer’, meaning that the directions in which our ‘best’ physical theories inform are temporal. This is intended to be a metaphysical claim, and as such expresses a relationship between the physical world and information-gathering systems such as ourselves. This article gives two counterexamples to this claim, illustrating the fact that time and informative strength doubly dissociate, so the claim cannot be about physical theories in general. The first is a case where physical (...)
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  • Causal fundamentality.Soufiane Hamri - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-13.
    I present an argument for causal fundamentality, understood as the thesis that the causal history of every being, whose existence has a causal explanation, includes some uncaused beings. I argue that this thesis is a consequence of an actualist account of metaphysical modality whose novelty lies in its hybrid dispositional-essentialist foundation. I argue that my modal theory is extensionally correct and minimalistic. Its range of metaphysical necessities and possibilities is just as wide as needed to capture the pre-theoretical notion of (...)
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  • The Fundamentality of Fundamental Powers.Joaquim Giannotti - 2021 - Acta Analytica 36 (4):589-613.
    Dispositional essentialism is the view that all or many fundamental properties are essentially dispositional, orpowers. The literature on the dispositional essence of powers is abundant. In contrast, the question of how to understand the fundamentality of fundamental powers has received scarce interest. Therefore, the fundamentality of powers stands in need of clarification. There are four main conceptions of the fundamental, namely as that which is (i)metaphysically independent; or (ii)belonging to a minimally complete basis; or (iii)perfectly natural; or (iv)metaphysically primitive. Here, (...)
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  • Fundamentality and minimalist grounding laws.Joaquim Giannotti - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (9):2993-3017.
    What grounds facts of ground? Some metaphysicians invoke fundamental grounding laws to answer this question. These are general principles that link grounded facts to their grounds. The main business of this paper is to advance the debate about the metaphysics of grounding laws by exploring the prospects of a plausible yet underexplored minimalist account, one which is structurally analogous to a familiar Humean conception of natural laws. In the positive part of this paper, I articulate such a novel view and (...)
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  • Fundamental Yet Grounded.Joaquim Giannotti - 2021 - Theoria 87 (3):578-599.
    Grounding is claimed to offer a promising characterization of the fundamental as thatwhich is ungrounded. Detractors of this view argue that there can be fundamental and yet mutuallygrounded entities. Such a possibility undermines the denition of the fundamental as theungrounded. I aim to show, however, that the possibility of fundamental mutually grounded entitiesdoes not force us to renounce the prospects of characterizing fundamentality in terms of ground-ing. To accomplish this aim, I defend a grounding-based view that accommodates fundamentalmutually grounded entities (...)
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  • Similarity structure and diachronic emergence.Samuel C. Fletcher - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8873-8900.
    I provide a formally precise account of diachronic emergence of properties as described within scientific theories, extending a recent account of synchronic emergence using similarity structure on the theories’ models. This similarity structure approach to emergent properties unifies the synchronic and diachronic types by revealing that they only differ in how they delineate the domains of application of theories. This allows it to apply also to cases where the synchronic/diachronic distinction is unclear, such as spacetime emergence from theories of quantum (...)
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  • Similarity Structure and Emergent Properties.Samuel C. Fletcher - 2020 - Philosophy of Science 87 (2):281-301.
    The concept of emergence is commonly invoked in modern physics but rarely defined. Building on recent influential work by Jeremy Butterfield, I provide precise definitions of emergence concepts as they pertain to properties represented in models, applying them to some basic examples from space-time and thermostatistical physics. The chief formal innovation I employ, similarity structure, consists in a structured set of similarity relations among those models under analysis—and their properties—and is a generalization of topological structure. Although motivated from physics, this (...)
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  • The Contact Argument: A Little Unduly Simple?Landon D. C. Elkind - 2022 - American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (3):247-261.
    The contact argument is widely cited as making a strong case against a gunk-free metaphysics with point-sized simples. It is shown here that the contact argument's reasoning is faulty even if all its background assumptions and desiderata for contact are accepted. Further, the simples theorist can offer both metric and topological accounts of contact that satisfy all the contact argument's desiderata. This indicates that the contact argument's persuasiveness stems from a tacit reliance on the thesis that objects in contact are (...)
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  • Quantum ontology without speculation.Matthias Egg - 2021 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 11 (1):1-26.
    Existing proposals concerning the ontology of quantum mechanics either involve speculation that goes beyond the scientific evidence or abandon realism about large parts of QM. This paper proposes a way out of this dilemma, by showing that QM as it is formulated in standard textbooks allows for a much more substantive ontological commitment than is usually acknowledged. For this purpose, I defend a non-fundamentalist approach to ontology, which is then applied to various aspects of QM. In particular, I will defend (...)
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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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  • Reverse Ontological Argument.James Henry Collin - 2022 - Analysis 82 (3):410-416.
    Modal ontological arguments argue from the possible existence of a perfect being to the actual (necessary) existence of a perfect being. But modal ontological arguments have a problem of symmetry; they can be run in both directions. Reverse ontological arguments argue from the possible nonexistence of a perfect being to the actual (necessary) nonexistence of a perfect being. Some familiar points about the necessary a posteriori, however, show that the symmetry can be broken in favour of the ontological argument.
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  • Ajankulku virheteoreettisesta näkökulmasta.Matias Slavov - forthcoming - Ajatus.
    Ajan luonnetta koskevissa käsityksissä on tyypillistä erottaa kaksi eriävää kantaa: A-teoreettinen presentismi ja B-teoreettinen eternalismi. Edeltävän väitetään tyypillisesti sopivan yhteen inhimillisen ajallisen kokemuksen kanssa ja jälkimmäisen ontologisesti perustavanlaatuisen luonnontieteen kanssa. Ilmikuvamme ajasta sisältää ehdottoman nykyisyyden ja yksisuuntaisen ajan kulun menneestä tulevaan. Tieteellinen kuva ajasta ei sisällä erityistä nykyisyyttä eikä ajan kulun edellyttämää dynaamista aikamuotojen muutosta. Monet ovat pitäneet kokemustamme ajan kulusta illuusiona. Tässä artikkelissa keskitytään A-sarjan mukaisen ajankulun virheteoreettiseen tulkintaan. Tarkastellaan mahdollisuutta, jonka mukaan meillä ei ole kyseistä kokemusta vaan kuvailemme (...)
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  • Levels of Fundamentality in the Metaphysics of Physics.Karen Crowther - manuscript
    Within physics there are two ways of establishing the relative fundamentality of one theory compared to another, via two senses of reduction: "inter-level" and "intra-level" (Crowther, 2018). The former is standardly recognised as roughly correlating with the chain of ontological dependence (i.e., the phenomena described by theories of macro-physics are typically supposed to be ontologically dependent on the entities/behaviour described by theories of micro-physics), and thus has been of interest to naturalised metaphysics. The latter, though, has not been considered interesting (...)
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  • La fundamentación no es una medida adecuada de la complejidad física.Carlos Romero - forthcoming - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso.
    Después de introducir el artículo (§1), repasaré los aspectos más generales y centrales de la literatura sobre la fundamentación (§2); esta tarea me parece valiosa ya que no existen revisiones generales y actualizadas en español sobre el tema. Después, argumentaré que la fundamentación no es una medida de complejidad física, y que, sin un vínculo necesario con la complejidad, quedan pocas razones para pensar que la fundamentación une a los diferentes estratos de la realidad física, que es una de las (...)
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  • Worlds in a Stochastic Universe: On the Emergence of World Histories in Minimal Bohmian Mechanics.Alexander Ehmann - 2020 - Dissertation, Lingnan University
    This thesis develops a detailed account of the emergence of for all practical purposes continuous, quasi-classical world histories from the discontinuous, stochastic micro dynamics of Minimal Bohmian Mechanics (MBM). MBM is a non-relativistic quantum theory. It results from excising the guiding equation from standard Bohmian Mechanics (BM) and reinterpreting the quantum equilibrium hypothesis as a stochastic guidance law for the random actualization of configurations of Bohmian particles. On MBM, there are no continuous trajectories linking up individual configurations. Instead, individual configurations (...)
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  • Time Series and Non-reductive Physicalism.Matias Kimi Slavov - 2019 - KronoScope: Journal for the Study of Time 19 (1):25-38.
    McTaggart famously introduced the A- and B-series as rival metaphysical accounts of time. This paper shall reorient the debate over the original distinction. Instead of treating the series as competing theories about the nature of time, it will be argued that they are different viewpoints on a world that is fundamentally physical. To that end, non-reductive physicalism is proposed to reconcile the series.
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