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  1. Grounding Pluralism: Why and How.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1399-1415.
    Grounding pluralism is the view that there are multiple kinds of grounding. In this essay, I motivate and defend an explanation-theoretic view of grounding pluralism. Specifically, I argue that there are two kinds of grounding: why-grounding—which tells us why things are the case—and how-grounding—which tells us how things are the case.
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  • Grounding and Metaphysical Explanation: It’s Complicated.Anna-Sofia Maurin - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1573-1594.
    Grounding theorists insist that grounding and explanation are intimately related. This claim could be understood as saying either that grounding ‘inherits’ its properties from explanation or it could be interpreted as saying that grounding plays an important—possibly an indispensable—role in metaphysical explanation. Or both. I argue that saying that grounding ‘inherits’ its properties from explanation can only be justified if grounding is explanatory by nature, but that this view is untenable. We ought therefore to be ‘separatists’ and view grounding and (...)
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  • Metaphysical Explanations for Modal Normativists.Theodore Locke - 2020 - Metaphysics 3 (1):33-54.
    I expand modal normativism, a theory of metaphysical modality, to give a normativist account of metaphysical explanation. According to modal normativism, basic modal claims do not have a descriptive function, but instead have the normative function of enabling language users to express semantic rules that govern the use of ordinary non-modal vocabulary. However, a worry for modal normativism is that it doesn’t keep up with all of the important and interesting metaphysics we can do by giving and evaluating metaphysical explanations. (...)
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  • What is Wrong with Self-Grounding?David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1157-1180.
    Many philosophers embrace grounding, supposedly a central notion of metaphysics. Grounding is widely assumed to be irreflexive, but recently a number of authors have questioned this assumption: according to them, it is at least possible that some facts ground themselves. The primary purpose of this paper is to problematize the notion of self-grounding through the theoretical roles usually assigned to grounding. The literature typically characterizes grounding as at least playing two central theoretical roles: a structuring role and an explanatory role. (...)
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  • The Myth of the Myth of Supervenience.David Kovacs - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):1967-1989.
    Supervenience is necessary co-variation between two sets of entities. In the good old days, supervenience was considered a useful philosophical tool with a wide range of applications in the philosophy of mind, metaethics, epistemology, and elsewhere. In recent years, however, supervenience has fallen out of favor, giving place to grounding, realization, and other, more metaphysically “meaty”, notions. The emerging consensus is that there are principled reasons for which explanatory theses cannot be captured in terms of supervenience, or as the slogan (...)
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  • The Deflationary Theory of Ontological Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):481-502.
    When an entity ontologically depends on another entity, the former ‘presupposes’ or ‘requires’ the latter in some metaphysical sense. This paper defends a novel view, Dependence Deflationism, according to which ontological dependence is what I call an aggregative cluster concept: a concept which can be understood, but not fully analysed, as a ‘weighted total’ of constructive and modal relations. The view has several benefits: it accounts for clear cases of ontological dependence as well as the source of disagreement in controversial (...)
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  • Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
    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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  • Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - 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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  • An Explanatory Idealist Theory of Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2022 - Noûs 56 (3):530-553.
    How is grounding related to metaphysical explanation? The standard view is that the former somehow “backs”, “undergirds” or “underlies” the latter. This view fits into a general picture of explanation, according to which explanations in general hold in virtue of a certain elite group of “explanatory relations” or “determinative relations” that back them. This paper turns the standard view on its head: grounding doesn't “back” metaphysical explanation but is in an important sense downstream from it. I call this view “grounding (...)
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  • Radical Embodied Cognitive Science and Problems of Intentionality.Eric Gordon Epstein - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 1):229-266.
    Radical embodied cognitive science tries to understand as much cognition as it can without positing contentful mental entities. Thus, in one prominent formulation, REC claims that content is involved neither in visual perception nor in any more elementary form of cognition. Arguments for REC tend to rely heavily on considerations of ontological parsimony, with authors frequently pointing to the difficulty of explaining content in naturalistically acceptable terms. However, many classic concerns about the difficulty of naturalizing content likewise threaten the credentials (...)
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  • Introduction: The Character of Physicalism.Andreas Elpidorou - 2018 - Topoi 37 (3):435-455.
    The aim of this editorial introduction is twofold. First, Sects. 1–8 offer a critical introduction to the metaphysical character of physicalism. In those sections, I present and evaluate different ways in which proponents of physicalism have made explicit the metaphysical dependence that is said to hold between the non-physical and the physical. Some of these accounts are found to be problematic; others are shown to be somewhat more promising. In the end, some important lessons are drawn and different options for (...)
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  • Constitutive Explanation.Shamik Dasgupta - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):74-97.
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  • We Need Non-factive Metaphysical Explanation.Michael Bertrand - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):991-1011.
    Suppose that A explains B. Do A and B need to be true? Provided that we have metaphysical explanation in mind, orthodoxy answers “yes:” metaphysical explanation is factive. This article introduces and defends a non-factive notion of metaphysical explanation. I argue that we need a non-factive notion of explanation in order to make sense of explanationist arguments where we motivate a view by claiming that it offers better explanations than its competitors. After presenting and rejecting some initially plausible rivals, I (...)
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  • Metaphysical Explanation by Constraint.Michael Bertrand - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1325-1340.
    It is often thought that metaphysical grounding underwrites a distinctive sort of metaphysical explanation. However, it would be a mistake to think that all metaphysical explanations are underwritten by metaphysical grounding. In service of this claim, I offer a novel kind of metaphysical explanation called metaphysical explanation by constraint, examples of which have been neglected in the literature. I argue that metaphysical explanations by constraint are not well understood as grounding explanations.
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  • Emptying a Paradox of Ground.Jack Woods - 2018 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 47 (4):631-648.
    Sometimes a fact can play a role in a grounding explanation, but the particular content of that fact make no difference to the explanation—any fact would do in its place. I call these facts vacuous grounds. I show that applying the distinction between-vacuous grounds allows us to give a principled solution to Kit Fine and Stephen Kramer’s paradox of ground. This paradox shows that on minimal assumptions about grounding and minimal assumptions about logic, we can show that grounding is reflexive, (...)
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  • Is Backing Grounding?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):129-137.
    Separatists are grounding theorists who hold that grounding relations and metaphysical explanations are distinct, yet intimately connected in the sense that grounding relations back metaphysical explanations, just as causal relations back causal explanations. But Separatists have not elaborated on the nature of the ‘backing’ relation. In this paper, I argue that backing is a form of (partial) grounding. In particular, backing has many of the properties commonly attributed to grounding, and taking backing to be partial grounding allows Separatists to make (...)
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  • Normative Explanation Unchained.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):278-297.
    [This paper is available as open access from the publisher.] Normative theories aim to explain why things have the normative features they have. This paper argues that, contrary to some plausible existing views, one important kind of normative explanations which first-order normative theories aim to formulate and defend can fail to transmit downward along chains of metaphysical determination of normative facts by non-normative facts. Normative explanation is plausibly subject to a kind of a justification condition whose satisfaction may fail to (...)
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  • Grounding-Mechanical Explanation.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1289-1309.
    Characterization of a form of explanation involving grounding on the model of mechanistic causal explanation.
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  • Questions and Answers: Metaphysical Explanation and the Structure of Reality.Naomi Thompson - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (1):98-116.
    This paper develops an account of metaphysical explanation according to which metaphysical explanations are answers to what-makes-it-the-case-that questions. On this view, metaphysical explanations are not to be considered entirely objective, but are subject to epistemic constraints imposed by the context in which a relevant question is asked. The resultant account of metaphysical explanation is developed independently of any particular views about grounding. Toward the end of the paper an application of the view is proposed that takes metaphysical explanations conceived in (...)
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  • Explanatory Distance.Elanor Taylor - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    When a train operator tells us that our train will be late ‘because of delays’, their attempt at explanation fails because there is insufficient distance between the explanans and the explanandum. In this paper, I motivate and defend an account of ‘explanatory distance’, based on the idea that explanations give information about dependence. I show that this account offers useful resources for addressing problem cases, including recent debates about grounding explanation, and the historical case of Molière’s dormitive virtue.
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  • Backing Without Realism.Elanor Taylor - 2022 - Erkenntnis 87 (3):1295-1315.
    Facts about explanation are often taken as a guide to facts about metaphysics. Such inferences from explanation to metaphysics typically rely on two elements: explanatory realism, the view that it is a characteristic and necessary aspect of explanation to give information about metaphysical structure, and a backing model of explanation, according to which explanations are backed by supporting relations, such as causation. Combining explanatory realism with a backing model permits conclusions about metaphysics to follow straightforwardly from facts about explanation, and (...)
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  • Backing as Truthmaking.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2021 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):367–383.
    Separatists about grounding take explanations to be separate from their corresponding grounding-facts. Grounding-facts are supposed to underlie, or back, such explanations. However, the backing relation hasn’t received much attention in the literature. The aim of this paper is to provide an informative definition of backing. First, I examine two prominent proposals: backing as explaining (Kovacs 2017; 2019a) and backing as grounding (see Sjölin Wirling 2020). Finally, I put forward my own proposal. I argue that under plausible assumptions about the role (...)
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  • Husserlian Essentialism.Nicola Spinelli - 2021 - Husserl Studies 37 (2):147-168.
    Husserl’s official account of essence is modal. It is also, I submit, incompatible with the role that essence is supposed to play, especially relative to necessity, in his overall philosophy. In the Husserlian framework, essence should rather be treated as a non-modal notion. The point, while not generally acknowledged, has been made before ; yet the arguments given for it, though perhaps sound, are not Husserlian. In this paper I present a thoroughly Husserlian argument for that claim, as well as (...)
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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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  • Intrinsicality and determinacy.Erica Shumener - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3349-3364.
    Comparativism maintains that physical quantities are ultimately relational in character. For example, an object’s having 1 kg rest mass depends on the relations it stands in to other objects in the universe. Comparativism, its advocates allege, reveals that quantities are not metaphysically mysterious: Quantities are reducible to familiar relations holding among physical objects. Modal accounts of intrinsicality—such as Lewis’s duplication account or Langton and Lewis’s combinatorial account—are popular accounts preserving many of our core intuitions regarding which properties are intrinsic. I (...)
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  • A Defence of Manipulationist Noncausal Explanation: The Case for Intervention Liberalism.Nicholas Emmerson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    Recent years have seen growing interest in modifying interventionist accounts of causal explanation in order to characterise noncausal explanation. However, one surprising element of such accounts is that they have typically jettisoned the core feature of interventionism: interventions. Indeed, the prevailing opinion within the philosophy of science literature suggests that interventions exclusively demarcate causal relationships. This position is so prevalent that, until now, no one has even thought to name it. We call it “intervention puritanism” (I-puritanism, for short). In this (...)
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  • Grounding Functionalism and Explanatory Unificationism.Alexios Stamatiadis-Bréhier - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    In this essay, I propose a functionalist theory of grounding (functionalist-grounding). Specifically, I argue that grounding is a second-order phenomenon that is realized by relations that play the noncausal explanatoriness role. I also show that functionalist-grounding can deal with a powerful challenge. Appeals to explanatory unificationism have been made to argue that the success of noncausal explanations does not depend on the existence of grounding relations. Against this, I argue that a systematization involving functionalist-grounding is superior to its anti-relational counterpart.
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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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  • On the Dispensability of Grounding: Ground-Breaking Work on Metaphysical Explanation.James Norton - 2017 - Dissertation, The University of Sydney
    Primitive, unanalysable grounding relations are considered by many to be indispensable constituents of the metaphysician’s toolkit. Yet, as a primitive ontological posit, grounding must earn its keep by explaining features of the world not explained by other tools already at our disposal. Those who defend grounding contend that grounding is required to play two interconnected roles: accounting for widespread intuitions regarding what is ontologically prior to what, and forming the backbone of a theory of metaphysical explanation, in much the same (...)
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  • Skeptical Doubts.Kathrin Koslicki - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London, UK: pp. 164-179.
    This chapter reviews several varieties of grounding skepticism as well as responses that have been proposed by grounding enthusiasts to considerations raised by grounding skeptics. Grounding skeptics, as I conceive of them here, are theorists who belong to one of the following two schools of thought. “Old-school” grounding skeptics doubt the theoretical utility of the grounding idiom by denying one of its presuppositions, viz., that this notion is at least intelligible or coherent. “Second-generation” grounding skeptics call into question the theoretical (...)
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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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  • 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 Power to Govern.Erica Shumener - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    I provide a new account of what it is for the laws of nature to govern the evolution of events. I locate the source of governance in the content of law propositions. As such, I do not appeal to primitive notions of ground, essence, or production to characterize governance. After introducing the account, I use it to outline previously unrecognized varieties of governance. I also specify that laws must govern to have two theoretical virtues: explanatory power as well as a (...)
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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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  • Social Categories in Context.Elanor Taylor - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):171-187.
    Social categories play a central role in inquiry. Some authors have argued that social categories can only play this role because they have a particular metaphysical status, such as a connection to natural kinds or to comparatively joint-carving properties. This reflects the broadly realist idea that categories that play important roles in inquiry do so for metaphysical reasons. In this paper I argue that such metaphysical views of social categories cannot accommodate ‘empty’ social categories, cases in which social categories that (...)
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