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  1. A puzzle about laws and explanation.Siegfried Jaag - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):6085-6102.
    In this paper, we argue that the popular claim that laws of nature explain their instances creates a philosophical puzzle when it is combined with the widely held requirement that explanations need to be underpinned by ‘wordly’ relations. We argue that a “direct solution” to the puzzle that accounts for both explanatory laws and explanatory realism requires endorsing at least a radical metaphysics. Then, we examine the ramifications of a “skeptical solution”, i.e., dissolving it by giving up at least one (...)
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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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  • Explanation and Individual Essence.Márta Ujvári - 2017 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 13 (2):23-42.
    In this paper I show that a novel ontic reading of explanation, intending to capture the de re essential features of individuals, can support the qualitative view of individual essences. It is argued further that the putative harmful consequences of the Leibniz Principle and its converse for the qualitative view can be avoided, provided that individual essences are not construed in the style of the naïve bundle theory with set-theoretical identity- conditions. Adopting either the more sophisticated two-tier BT or, alternatively, (...)
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  • Metaphysical Explanation Separated from Grounding.Márta Ujvári - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (1):55-69.
    Grounding is typically associated to metaphysical explanation on the basis of the explanatory role’s being characteristic of grounding as well. Some even say that all what metaphysical explanation does is tracking the grounding relation. However, recently Maurin has argued that grounding does not “inherit” its properties from metaphysical explanation and, consequently, we should be “separatists”. In this paper separatism will be defended from the perspective of metaphysical explanation thus giving a turn to the separatist strategy. In particular, the structural difference (...)
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  • Setting the story straight: fictionalism about grounding.Naomi Thompson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (2):343-361.
    This paper explores a middle way between realism and eliminativism about grounding. Grounding-talk is intelligible and useful, but it fails to pick out grounding relations that exist or obtain in reality. Instead, grounding-talk allows us to convey facts about what metaphysically explains what, and about the worldly dependence relations that give rise to those explanations.
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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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  • Irrealism about Grounding.Naomi Thompson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:23-44.
    Grounding talk has become increasingly familiar in contemporary philosophical discussion. Most discussants of grounding think that grounding talk is useful, intelligible, and accurately describes metaphysical reality. Call themrealistsabout grounding. Some dissenters reject grounding talk on the grounds that it is unintelligible, or unmotivated. They would prefer to eliminate grounding talk from philosophy, so we can call themeliminitivistsabout grounding. This paper outlines a new position in the debate about grounding, defending the view that grounding talk is intelligible and useful. Grounding talk (...)
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  • Is Building Built?Naomi Thompson - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):315-327.
    Karen Bennett’s Making Things Up argues that talk of generation and construction, giving rise to, and getting one thing out of another are to be understood in terms of building. Building-talk is commonplace if not ubiquitous in philosophy, and so building is one of the most important philosophical notions. Making Things Up offers a refreshing perspective on the debate about structure and fundamentality. Whilst Bennett of course engages with the recent literature, she sets things up in her own terms, and (...)
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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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  • Should explanation be a guide to ground?Alexander Skiles & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):4083-4098.
    Grounding and explanation are said to be intimately connected. Some even maintain that grounding just is a form of explanation. But grounding and explanation also seem importantly different—on the face of it, the former is ‘worldy’ or ‘objective’ while the latter isn’t. In this paper, we develop and respond to an argument to the effect that there is no way to fruitfully address this tension that retains orthodox views about grounding and explanation but doesn’t undermine a central piece of methodology, (...)
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  • Essence and Cause: Making Something Be What It Is.Riin Sirkel - 2018 - Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):89-112.
    Aristotle frequently describes essence as a “cause” or “explanation”, thus ascribing to essence some sort of causal or explanatory role. This explanatory role is often explicated by scholars in terms of essence “making the thing be what it is” or “making it the very thing that it is”. I argue that this is problematic, at least on the assumption that “making” expresses an explanatory relation, since it violates certain formal features of explanation. I then consider whether Aristotle is vulnerable to (...)
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  • Part, slot, ground: foundations for neo-Aristotelian mereology.Thomas Sattig - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 11):2735-2749.
    Slot mereology reduces parthood to slot-filling: a material object is structured by a certain arrangement of slots; and the fillers of these slots are the object's proper parts. My aim in this essay is to go further and reduce slot-filling to essence and grounding. In combination, the reduction of parthood to slot-filling and the reduction of slot-filling to essence and grounding yields the reduction of parthood to essence and grounding. If this overarching reduction succeeds, it promises new metaphysical foundations for (...)
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  • On What (In General) Grounds What.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Metaphysics 2 (1):73–87.
    A generic grounding claim is a grounding claim that isn’t about any particular entity or fact. For example, consider the claim: an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. One natural idea is that generic grounding claims state mere regularities of ground. So if an act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness, then every possible right act is right in virtue of maximizing happiness. The generic claim generalizes over particular grounding relations. In this essay, I argue that this (...)
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  • 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 is necessary and contingent.Kevin Richardson - 2021 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (4):453-480.
    It is common to think that grounding is necessary in the sense that: if P grounds Q, then necessarily: if P, then Q. Though most accept this principle, some give counterexamples to it. Instead of straightforwardly arguing for, or against, necessity, I explain the sense in which grounding is necessary and contingent. I argue that there are two kinds of grounding: what-grounding and why-grounding, where the former kind is necessary while the latter is contingent.
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  • Non‐cognitivism about metaphysical explanation.Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2022 - Analytic Philosophy:1-20.
    This article introduces a non-cognitivist account of metaphysical explanation according to which the core function of judgements of the form ⌜x because y⌝ is not to state truth-apt beliefs. Instead, their core function is to express attitudes of commitment to, and recommendation of the acceptance of certain norms governing interventional conduct at contexts.
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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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  • 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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  • A Defense on the Usefulness of ‘Big-G’ Grounding.Markel Kortabarria - forthcoming - Metaphysica.
    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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  • Semantic Realism, Actually.Simon Hewitt - 2020 - Metaphysica 21 (2):237-254.
    Michael Dummett offered a semantic characterisation of a variety of realism-antirealism debates. This approach has fallen out of fashion. This has been to the detriment of metaphysics. This paper offers an accurate characterisation of Dummett’s view, often lacking in the literature, and then defends it against a range of attacks. This understanding of realism debates is resilient, and if we take it seriously the philosophical terrain looks importantly different. In particular, the philosophy of language has a foundational role with respect (...)
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  • If an ontologist could speak we couldn’t understand him.Simon Hewitt - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):444-460.
    It is common for contemporary ontologists to claim that they are not concerned with what exists simpliciter, but rather with what exists ’fundamentally’, or what ’really’ exists. I argue that positions of this sort cannot satisfy reasonable constraints concerning the acquisition of language. I assess and dismiss possible responses to this complaint before commenting on the prospects for a metaphysics without bespoke existence claims.
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  • The Power of Negativity: a Theory of Abstract Entities.John Alton Christmann - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (2):507-517.
    In this paper, I articulate and solve a puzzle originally presented by Gideon Rosen. The puzzle challenges us to produce a causal criterion that distinguishes concrete objects from abstract objects, even though it seems like abstract objects are constituents of events that enter into causal relations. My solution is to identify concrete objects with objects that have dispositions to manifest causal powers.
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  • The Explanatory Demands of Grounding in Law.Samuele Chilovi & George Pavlakos - 2022 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 103 (4):900-933.
    A new strategy in philosophy of law appeals to explanatory gap arguments to attack legal positivism. We argue that the strategy faces a dilemma, which derives from there being two available readings of the constraint it places on legal grounding. To this end, we elaborate the most promising ways of spelling out the epistemic constraints governing law-determination, and show that each of the arguments based on them has problems. Throughout the paper, we evaluate a number of explanatory requirements, ultimately with (...)
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  • Identity criteria: an epistemic path to conceptual grounding.Massimiliano Carrara & Ciro De Florio - 2020 - Synthese 197 (7):3151-3169.
    Are identity criteria grounding principles? A prima facie answer to this question is positive. Specifically, two-level identity criteria can be taken as principles related to issues of identity among objects of a given kind compared with objects of a more basic kind. Moreover, they are grounding metaphysical principles of some objects with regard to others. In the first part of the paper we criticise this prima facie natural reading of identity criteria. This result does not mean that identity criteria could (...)
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  • Grounding interventionism: Conceptual and epistemological challenges.Amanda Bryant - 2022 - Metaphilosophy 53 (2-3):322-343.
    Philosophers have recently highlighted substantial affinities between causation and grounding, which has inclined some to import the conceptual and formal resources of causal interventionism into the metaphysics of grounding. The prospect of grounding interventionism raises two important questions: exactly what are grounding interventions, and why should we think they enable knowledge of grounding? This paper will approach these questions by examining how causal interventionists have addressed (or might address) analogous questions and then comparing the available options for grounding interventionism. I (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Response to Leuenberger, Shumener and Thompson.Karen Bennett - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):327-340.
    I am very grateful to Stephan Leuenberger, Erica Shumener and Naomi Thompson for their excellent and thoughtful commentaries on Making Things Up. I have learned a lot from thinking through their replies. As it happens, they focus on pretty disparate aspects of the book: necessitation, relative fundamentality, and what builds the building facts, respectively. I will thus engage with their remarks separately.
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  • The Grounding of Identities.Lorenzo Azzano & Massimiliano Carrara - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):1943-1952.
    A popular stance amongst philosophers is one according to which, in Lewis’ words, “identity is utterly simple and unproblematic”. Building from Lewis’ famous passage on the matter, we reconstruct, and then criticize, an argument to the conclusion that identities cannot be grounded. With the help of relatively uncontroversial assumption concerning identity facts, we show that not all identities are equi-fundamental, and, on the contrary, some appear to be provided potential grounding bases using two-level identity criteria. Further potential grounding bases for (...)
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  • Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...)
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  • Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday.Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.) - 2019 - Lund, Sverige: Department of Philosophy, Lund University.
    This book is in honour of Professor Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th birthday. It consists of eighteen essays on metaphysical issues written by Swedish and international scholars.
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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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  • Neo-Quinean and neo-Aristotelian metaontology : on explanation, theory choice, and the viability of ontological inquiry.Micheál Vincent Lacey - unknown
    This thesis is an exercise in comparative metaontology. I am centrally concerned with how one might choose between competing metaontological theories. To make my project tractable, I compare two contemporary metaontological approaches dominant in the literature: neo-Quineanism and neo-Aristotelianism. Peter van Inwagen, a representative of N-Q, claims that ontological inquiry should be conducted in the quantifier-variable idiom of first-order predicate logic; to know what exists, or what a theory says exists, we read our commitments off the regimented sentences that we (...)
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  • Si può spiegare un’identità?Massimiliano Carrara - 2018 - Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio 1:31-5.
    In this paper we reconstruct an argument, based on the observations of David Lewis and Jaegwon Kim, according to which, given that identities are necessary, they cannot be grounded; and given that they cannot be grounded, they cannot be explained either. We argue against two key premises of this argument. Furthermore, we present two counterexamples, in the form of two alleged sets of cases of explanation of identities. This argument against the explanation of identities is instrumental for a wider discussion (...)
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  • The dual nature of properties: the powerful qualities view reconsidered.Joaquim Giannotti - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    Metaphysical orthodoxy holds that a privileged minority of properties carve reality at its joints. These are the so-called fundamental properties. This thesis concerns the contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of fundamental properties. In particular, it aims to answer two questions: What is the most adequate conception of fundamental properties? What is the “big picture” world-view that emerges by adopting such a conception? I argue that a satisfactory answer to both questions requires us to embrace a novel conception of powerful (...)
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  • Too Many Omissions, Too Much Causation?Björn Petersson - 2019 - In Tobias Hansson Wahlberg & Robin Stenwall (eds.), Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday.
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  • What is Field's Epistemological Objection to Platonism?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - In Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.), Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday. pp. 123-133.
    This paper concerns an epistemological objection against mathematical platonism, due to Hartry Field.The argument poses an explanatory challenge – the challenge to explain the reliability of our mathematical beliefs – which the platonist, it’s argued, cannot meet. Is the objection compelling? Philosophers disagree, but they also disagree on (and are sometimes very unclear about) how the objection should be understood. Here I distinguish some options, and highlight some gaps that need to be filled in on the potentially most compelling version (...)
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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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