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Laws and the Completeness of the Fundamental

In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 11-37 (2016)

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  1. Explaining Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing.Andrew Brenner - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):1831-1847.
    It is sometimes supposed that, in principle, we cannot offer an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. I argue that this supposition is a mistake, and stems from a needlessly myopic conception of the form explanations can legitimately take. After making this more general point, I proceed to offer a speculative suggestion regarding one sort of explanation which can in principle serve as an answer to the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” The suggestion is (...)
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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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  • The Myth of Generic Grounding.Duen-Min Deng - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (4):2053-2061.
    Motivated by avoiding a difficulty confronting the usual formulations of identity criteria, Fine has proposed and developed a generic account of grounding. In this paper, I examine two versions of the account. I argue that both proposals fail, as it is difficult to see how the strategy of ‘going generic’ can really solve the problem. I conclude that the idea of generic grounding is mysterious and unmotivated.
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  • The Governance of Laws of Nature: Guidance and Production.Tobias Wilsch - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (3):909-933.
    Realists about laws of nature and their Humean opponents disagree on whether laws ‘govern’. An independent commitment to the ‘governing conception’ of laws pushes many towards the realist camp. Despite its significance, however, no satisfactory account of governance has been offered. The goal of this article is to develop such an account. I base my account on two claims. First, we should distinguish two notions of governance, ‘guidance’ and ‘production’, and secondly, explanatory phenomena other than laws are also candidates for (...)
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  • Fundamentality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - 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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  • Problemas de Metafísica Analítica / Problems in Analytical Metaphysics.Guido Imaguire & Rodrigo Reis Lastra Cid (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / UFPel Publisher.
    O desenvolvimento da filosofia acadêmica no Brasil é direcionada, entre vários fatores, pelas investigações dos diversos Grupos de Trabalho (GTs) da Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação em Filosofia (ANPOF). Esses GTs se dividem de acordo com a temática investigada. O GT de Metafísica Analítica é relativamente novo e ainda tem poucos membros, mas os temas nele trabalhados são variados e todos centrais no debate metafísico contemporâneo internacional. A sua investigação se caracteriza pelo rigor lógico e conceitual com o qual aborda esses (...)
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  • Grounding and Defining Identity.Jon Litland - forthcoming - Noûs.
    I systematically defend a novel account of the grounds for identity and distinct- ness facts: they are all uniquely zero-grounded. First, the Null Account is shown to avoid a range of problems facing other accounts: a relation satisfying the Null Account would be an excellent candidate for being the identity relation. Second, a plenitudinist view of relations suggests that there is such a relation. To flesh out this plenitudinist view I sketch a novel framework for expressing real definitions, use this (...)
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  • Artifactual Normativity.Christopher Frugé - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-19.
    A central tension shaping metaethical inquiry is that normativity appears to be subjective yet real, where it’s difficult to reconcile these aspects. On the one hand, normativity pertains to our actions and attitudes. On the other, normativity appears to be real in a way that precludes it from being a mere figment of those actions and attitudes. In this paper, I argue that normativity is indeed both subjective and real. I do so by way of treating it as a special (...)
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  • A challenge to the new metaphysics: deRosset, Priority, and explanation.David Fisher, Hao Hong & Timothy Perrine - 2021 - Synthese 198 (7):6403-6433.
    Priority Theory is an increasingly popular view in metaphysics. By seeing metaphysical questions as primarily concerned with what explains what, instead of merely what exists, it promises not only an interesting approach to traditional metaphysical issues but also the resolution of some outstanding disputes. In a recent paper, Louis deRosset argues that Priority Theory isn’t up to the task: Priority Theory is committed to there being explanations that violate a formal constraint on any adequate explanation. This paper critically examines deRosset’s (...)
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  • Normative principles and the nature of mind-dependence.Justin Morton - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (4):1153-1176.
    One of the most fundamental debates in metaethics is whether the normative facts are mind-dependent. Yet some philosophers are skeptical that mind-dependence is a category that's significant in the way metaethicists have assumed it is. In this paper, I consider a puzzle that showcases this skepticism, explaining how it undermines the most natural reading of the mind-dependence claim. I then go on to show that no modification of this reading within a certain class can hope to solve the problem. I (...)
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  • Modality.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 348-360.
    A survey of the connection between grounding and modality, in particular supervenience. The survey explores three possible connections between grounding and supervenience: (1) supervenience can be analyzed in terms of grounding, (2) grounded facts supervene on their grounds, and (3) grounding and supervenience overlap in their theoretical roles.
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  • The Explanatory Ambitions of Moral Principles.Selim Berker - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):904-936.
    Moral properties are explained by other properties. And moral principles tell us about moral properties. How are these two ideas related? In particular, is the truth of a given moral principle part of what explains why a given action has a given moral property? I argue “No.” If moral principles are merely concerned with the extension of moral properties across all possible worlds, then they cannot be partial explainers of facts about the instantiation of those properties, since in general necessitation (...)
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  • Sophisticated Modal Primitivism.Tobias Wilsch - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):428-448.
    Summary: The paper provides an argument for modal primitivism, the view that necessity is not defined and is therefore part of the structure of reality. It then raises the explanation-challenge for primitivists: how can modal truths be explained by hyper-intensional truths, if necessity is not defined in terms of hyper-intensional phenomena? To address the challenge, the paper introduces 'sophisticated modal primitivism' which gives a substantive analysis of the notion of a 'source of necessity'. The final part of the paper offers (...)
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  • Laws for Metaphysical Explanation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):302-321.
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  • Fundamentality and Minimalist Grounding Laws.Joaquim Giannotti - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    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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  • Against Purity.Jonathan Barker - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    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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  • Explaining Normative Reasons.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - forthcoming - Noûs.
    In this paper, we present and defend a natural yet novel analysis of normative reasons. According to what we call support-explanationism, for a fact to be a normative reason to φ is for it to explain why there’s normative support for φ-ing. We critically consider the two main rival forms of explanationism—ought-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about ought, and good-explanationism, on which reasons explain facts about goodness—as well as the popular Reasons-First view, which takes the notion of a normative (...)
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  • Essence and Modal Knowledge.Boris Kment - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1957-1979.
    During the last quarter of a century, a number of philosophers have become attracted to the idea that necessity can be analyzed in terms of a hyperintensional notion of essence. One challenge for proponents of this view is to give a plausible explanation of our modal knowledge. The goal of this paper is to develop a strategy for meeting this challenge. My approach rests on an account of modality that I developed in previous work, and which analyzes modal properties in (...)
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  • Metaphysical Foundationalism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    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. 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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  • 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, or powers. 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 metaphysically independent; or belonging to a minimally complete basis; or perfectly natural; or metaphysically primitive. (...)
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  • How Does God Know That 2 + 2 = 4?Andrew Brenner - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-16.
    Sometimes theists wonder how God's beliefs track particular portions of reality, e.g. contingent states of affairs, or facts regarding future free actions. In this article I sketch a general model for how God's beliefs track reality. God's beliefs track reality in much the same way that propositions track reality, namely via grounding. Just as the truth values of true propositions are generally or always grounded in their truthmakers, so too God's true beliefs are grounded in the subject matters of those (...)
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  • Naturalización de la Metafísica Modal.Carlos Romero - 2021 - Dissertation, National Autonomous University of Mexico
    ⦿ In my dissertation I introduce, motivate and take the first steps in the realization of, the project of naturalising modal metaphysics: the transformation of the field into a chapter of the philosophy of science rather than speculative, autonomous metaphysics. ⦿ In the introduction, I explain the concept of naturalisation that I apply throughout the dissertation, which I argue to be an improvement on Ladyman and Ross' proposal for naturalised metaphysics. I also object to Williamson's proposal that modal metaphysics --- (...)
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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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  • Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Moral Explanations.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15.
    It’s commonly held that particular moral facts are explained by ‘natural’ or ‘descriptive’ facts, though there’s disagreement over how such explanations work. We defend the view that general moral principles also play a role in explaining particular moral facts. More specifically, we argue that this view best makes sense of some intuitive data points, including the supervenience of the moral upon the natural. We consider two alternative accounts of the nature and structure of moral principles—’the nomic view’ and ‘moral platonism’—before (...)
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  • In Virtue Of: Determination, Dependence, and Metaphysically Opaque Grounding.Henrik Rydéhn - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This dissertation investigates grounding, the relation of non-causal determination whereby one fact obtains in virtue of some other fact or facts. Although considerations of grounding have been central throughout Western philosophy, the last 15-20 years have seen a renaissance of systematic work on grounding in analytic philosophy. The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of the nature of grounding and its relation to other central phenomena in metaphysics. -/- Chapter 1 of the dissertation provides a brief (...)
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  • Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London: pp. 121-132.
    I survey the philosophical literature on grounding explanation and its connection to metaphysical ground.
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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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