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  1. Essence and Logical Properties.Hashem Morvarid - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2897-2917.
    Since Kit Fine presented his counter-examples to the standard versions of the modal view, many have been convinced that the standard versions of the modal view are not adequate. However, the scope of Fine's argument has not been fully appreciated. In this paper, I aim to carry Fine’s argument to its logical conclusion and argue that once we embrace the intuition underlying his counter-examples, we have to hold that properties obtained, totally or partially, by application of logical operations are not (...)
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  • Metaphysically Explanatory Unification.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a novel (...)
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  • There is No Haecceitic Euthyphro Problem.Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):477-484.
    Jason Bowers and Meg Wallace have recently argued that those who hold that every individual instantiates a ‘haecceity’ are caught up in a Euthyphro-style dilemma when confronted with familiar cases of fission and fusion. Key to Bowers and Wallace’s dilemma are certain assumptions about the nature of metaphysical explanation and the explanatory commitments of belief in haecceities. However, I argue that the dilemma only arises due to a failure to distinguish between providing a metaphysical explanation of why a fact holds (...)
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  • Soames’s New Conception of Propositions.Ben Caplan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2533-2549.
    In this paper, I argue that, when it comes to explaining what can be described as “representational” properties of propositions, Soames’s new conception of propositions—on which the proposition that Seattle is sunny is the act of predicating the property being sunny of Seattle and to entertain that proposition is to perform that act—does not have an advantage over traditional ones.
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  • The Semantic Foundations of Philosophical Analysis.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I provide an analysis of sentences of the form ‘To be F is to be G’ in terms of exact truth-maker semantics—an approach that identifies the meanings of sentences with the states of the world directly responsible for their truth-values. Roughly, I argue that these sentences hold just in case that which makes something F is that which makes it G. This approach is hyperintensional, and possesses desirable logical and modal features. These sentences are reflexive, transitive and symmetric, and, if (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):642-670.
    Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustín Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with antecedently plausible (...)
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  • Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):567-591.
    I assume that there exists a general phenomenon, the phenomenon of the explanatory gap, surrounding consciousness, normativity, intentionality, and more. Explanatory gaps are often thought to foreclose reductive possibilities wherever they appear. In response, reductivists who grant the existence of these gaps have offered countless local solutions. But typically such reductivist responses have had a serious shortcoming: because they appeal to essentially domain-specific features, they cannot be fully generalized, and in this sense these responses have been not just local but (...)
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  • Conceivability, Plural Quantification, and Haecceitism.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This essay aims to redress the contention that epistemic possibility cannot be a guide to the principles of modal metaphysics. I argue that the interaction between the multi-dimensional intensional framework and intensional plural quantification enables epistemic possibilities to target the haecceitistic properties of individuals. I outline the elements of plural logic, and I specify, then, a multi-dimensional intensional formula encoding the relation between the epistemic possibility of haecceity comprehension and its metaphysical possibility. I conclude by addressing objections from the indeterminacy (...)
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  • To Be F Is To Be G.Cian Dorr - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134.
    This paper is an investigation of the general logic of "identifications", claims such as 'To be a vixen is to be a female fox', 'To be human is to be a rational animal', and 'To be just is to help one's friends and harm one's enemies', many of which are of great importance to philosophers. I advocate understanding such claims as expressing higher-order identity, and discuss a variety of different general laws which they might be thought to obey. [New version: (...)
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  • Essentialist Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2871-2889.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in metaphysical explanation, and philosophers have fixed on the notion of ground as the conceptual tool with which such explanation should be investigated. I will argue that this focus on ground is myopic and that some metaphysical explanations that involve the essences of things cannot be understood in terms of ground. Such ‘essentialist’ explanation is of interest, not only for its ubiquity in philosophy, but for its being in a sense an ultimate (...)
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  • From Nature to Grounding.Mark Jago - 2018 - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    Grounding is a powerful metaphysical concept; yet there is widespread scepticism about the intelligibility of the notion. In this paper, I propose an account of an entity’s nature or essence, which I then use to provide grounding conditions for that entity. I claim that an understanding of an entity’s nature, together with an account of how logically complex entities are grounded, provides all we need to understand how that entity is grounded. This approach not only allows us to say what (...)
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  • Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • The Opacity of Definition.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with logical attributes of (real) definition. In particular, I argue that substitution principles give rise to reflexive definitions: cases in which something is directly and exclusively defined in terms of itself. Many maintain that definition is both substitutable and irreflexive, so these standard commitments are at odds. As a corollary, I demonstrate that the claims in ‘Real Definition’ Rosen (2015) are logically inconsistent. I close with a brief discussion of the implications this has for the opacity (...)
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  • Emergencia y reducción.José Tomás Alvarado - 2019 - Filosofia Unisinos 20 (1).
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  • Grounding the Normative: A Problem for Structured Non-Naturalism.Justin Morton - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-24.
    It is wrong for John to kick my cat because it will cause the cat serious pain, but also because it is wrong for people to cause serious pain in certain circumstances. This suggests the following structure: some normative facts hold in virtue of both non-normative facts and normative principles. As I will construe this, it is a claim about the metaphysical grounds of normative facts. Many non-naturalists about the normative want to endorse this view generally—that particular normative facts are (...)
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  • Essence and Mere Necessity.Jessica Leech - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:309-332.
    Recently, a debate has developed between those who claim that essence can be explained in terms of de re modality (modalists), and those who claim that de re modality can be explained in terms of essence (essentialists). The aim of this paper is to suggest that we should reassess. It is assumed that either necessity is to be accounted for in terms of essence, or that essence is to be accounted for in terms of necessity. I will argue that we (...)
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  • Essential Truths and Their Truth-Grounds.Robert Michels - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5 (30):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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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2017 - Gutenberg.
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The book demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • The Hard Question for Hylomorphism.Dana Goswick - 2018 - Metaphysics 1 (1):52-62.
    The view that ordinary objects are composites of form and matter ("hylomorphism") can be contrasted with the more common view that ordinary objects are composed of only material parts ("matter only"). On a matter-only view the hard question is modal: which modal profile does that (statue-shaped) object have? Does it have the modal profile of a statue, a lump, a mere aggregate? On a hylomorphic view the hard question is ontological: which objects exist? Does a statue (matter-m + statue-form), a (...)
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  • On How (Not) to Define Modality in Terms of Essence.Robert Michels - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):1015-1033.
    In his influential article ‘Essence and Modality’, Fine proposes a definition of necessity in terms of the primitive essentialist notion ‘true in virtue of the nature of’. Fine’s proposal is suggestive, but it admits of different interpretations, leaving it unsettled what the precise formulation of an Essentialist definition of necessity should be. In this paper, four different versions of the definition are discussed: a singular, a plural reading, and an existential variant of Fine’s original suggestion and an alternative version proposed (...)
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  • New Frontiers in Ground, Essence, and Modality: Introduction.Donnchadh O'conaill & Tuomas Tahko - 2018 - Synthese:1-12.
    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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  • Only Explanation Can Reinflate Emergence.Elanor Taylor - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly (271):385-394.
    In a recent exchange in this journal, I argue that accounts of emergence face the collapse problem, and I defend an explanatory approach to emergence as a solution to this problem. Alexander Skiles objects to my account, and proposes an alternative solution to the collapse problem. In this discussion note I take up this conversation, defending the explanatory account of emergence against Skiles’ critique, and arguing that his alternative approach fails to solve the collapse problem.
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axx061.
    Ontic structural realism is at its core a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, is endowed with fundamental status. Claimed both as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics and radically at odds with more mainstream views, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from our scheme of fundamental metaphysics. But an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the (...)
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  • Grounding, Conceivability, and the Mind-Body Problem.Hasen Khudairi - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):919-926.
    This paper challenges the soundness of the two-dimensional conceivability argument against the derivation of phenomenal truths from physical truths in light of a hyperintensional regimentation of the ontology of consciousness. The regimentation demonstrates how ontological dependencies between truths about consciousness and about physics cannot be witnessed by epistemic constraints, when the latter are recorded by the conceivability—i.e., the epistemic possibility—thereof. Generalizations and other aspects of the philosophical significance of the hyperintensional regimentation are further examined.
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  • Dependencia ontológica y fundamentalidad.Ricardo Mena - 2018 - Ideas Y Valores 67 (166):115-134.
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • Real Definitions.Fabrice Correia - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):52-73.
    I offer and defend an account of real definitions. I put forward two versions of the account, one formulated in terms of the notion of generalised identity and of a suitable notion of grounding, and the other one formulated in terms of the former notion and of a suitable notion of comparative joint-carvingness. Given a plausible assumption, and turn out to be equivalent. I give a sketch of a unified account of the three notions involved in and from which the (...)
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  • Constitutive Essence and Partial Grounding.Eileen S. Nutting, Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):137-161.
    Kit Fine and Gideon Rosen propose to define constitutive essence in terms of ground-theoretic notions and some form of consequential essence. But we think that the Fine–Rosen proposal is a mistake. On the Fine–Rosen proposal, constitutive essence ends up including properties that, on the central notion of essence, are necessary but not essential. This is because consequential essence is closed under logical consequence, and the ability of logical consequence to add properties to an object’s consequential essence outstrips the ability of (...)
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  • In Defence of Modal Essentialism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (8):816-838.
    Kit Fine’s arguments in Essence and Modality are widely accepted as being a decisive blow against modal essentialism. A selection of replies exist that have done little to counter the general view that modally construed essence is out of touch with what we really mean when we make essentialist claims. I argue that Fine’s arguments fail to strike a decisive blow, and I suggest a new interpretation of the debate that shows why Fine’s arguments fall short of achieving their goal.
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  • The Essence of Grounding.Justin Zylstra - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I develop a reduction of grounding to essence. My approach is to think about the relation between grounding and essence on the model of a certain conceptof existential dependence. I extend this concept of existential dependence in a coupleof ways and argue that these extensions provide a reduction of grounding to essenceif we use sorted variables that range over facts and take it that for a fact to obtain is forit to exist. I then use the account to resolve various (...)
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  • Essence with Ground.Justin Zylstra - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (2):193-207.
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  • Against the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Nathan Wildman - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally (...)
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  • Collective Essence and Monotonicity.Justin Zylstra - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-15.
    This paper focuses on the concept of collective essence: that some truths are essential to many items taken together. For example, that it is essential to conjunction and negation that they are truth-functionally complete. The concept of collective essence is one of the main innovations of recent work on the theory of essence. In a sense, this innovation is natural, since we make all sorts of plural predications. It stands to reason that there should be a distinction between essential and (...)
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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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