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Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction

In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36 (2010)

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  1. The Metaphysics of Identity: Is Identity Fundamental?Shumener Erica - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (1):e12397.
    Identity and distinctness facts are ones like “The Eiffel Tower is identical to the Eiffel Tower,” and “The Eiffel Tower is distinct from the Louvre.” This paper concerns one question in the metaphysics of identity: Are identity and distinctness facts metaphysically fundamental or are they nonfundamental? I provide an overview of answers to this question.
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  • Semantics and Metasemantics in the Context of Generative Grammar.Seth Yalcin - 2014 - In Alexis Burgess & Brett Sherman (eds.), Metasemantics: New Essays on the Foundations of Meaning. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-54.
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  • Topics in Philosophical Logic.Jon Erling Litland - 2012 - Dissertation, Harvard
    In “Proof-Theoretic Justification of Logic”, building on work by Dummett and Prawitz, I show how to construct use-based meaning-theories for the logical constants. The assertability-conditional meaning-theory takes the meaning of the logical constants to be given by their introduction rules; the consequence-conditional meaning-theory takes the meaning of the logical constants to be given by their elimination rules. I then consider the question: given a set of introduction rules \, what are the strongest elimination rules that are validated by an assertability (...)
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  • What Is the Well-Foundedness of Grounding?T. Scott Dixon - 2016 - Mind 125 (498):439-468.
    A number of philosophers think that grounding is, in some sense, well-founded. This thesis, however, is not always articulated precisely, nor is there a consensus in the literature as to how it should be characterized. In what follows, I consider several principles that one might have in mind when asserting that grounding is well-founded, and I argue that one of these principles, which I call ‘full foundations’, best captures the relevant claim. My argument is by the process of elimination. For (...)
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  • Truth‐Grounding and Transitivity.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):332-340.
    It is argued that if we take grounding to be univocal, then there is a serious tension between truth-grounding and one commonly assumed structural principle for grounding, namely transitivity. The primary claim of the article is that truth-grounding cannot be transitive. Accordingly, it is either the case that grounding is not transitive or that truth-grounding is not grounding, or both.
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  • Following Logical Realism Where It Leads.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):117-139.
    Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.
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  • The Foundations of Arithmetic?Thomas Donaldson - 2017 - Noûs 51 (4):775-801.
    Gideon Rosen and Robert Schwartzkopff have independently suggested (variants of) the following claim, which is a varian of Hume's Principle: -/- When the number of Fs is identical to the number of Gs, this fact is grounded by the fact that there is a one-to-one correspondence between the Fs and Gs. -/- My paper is a detailed critique of the proposal. I don't find any decisive refutation of the proposal. At the same time, it has some consequences which many will (...)
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  • Dispositional Essentialism and the Grounding of Natural Modality.Siegfried Jaag - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Dispositional essentialism is a non-Humean view about the essences of certain fundamental or natural properties that looms large in recent metaphysics , not least because it promises to explain neatly the natural modalities such as laws of nature, counterfactuals, causation and chance. In the current paper, however, several considerations are presented that indicate a serious tension between its essentialist core thesis and natural “metaphysical” interpretations of its central explanatory claims.
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  • Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism About Laws of Nature.Harjit Bhogal - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphysical picture (...)
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  • Sosein as Subject Matter.Matteo Plebani - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Logic 15 (2):77-94.
    Meinongians in general, and Routley in particular, subscribe to the principle of the independence of Sosein from Sein. In this paper, I put forward an interpretation of the independence principle that philosophers working outside the Meinongian tradition can accept. Drawing on recent work by Stephen Yablo and others on the notion of subject matter, I offer a new account of the notion of Sosein as a subject matter and argue that in some cases Sosein might be independent from Sein. The (...)
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  • Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    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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  • 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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  • The Myth of the Myth of Supervenience.David Mark 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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  • A Note on the Logic of Worldly Ground.Stephan Krämer & Stefan Roski - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (1):59-68.
    In his 2010 paper ‘Grounding and Truth-Functions’, Fabrice Correia has developed the first and so far only proposal for a logic of ground based on a worldly conception of facts. In this paper, we show that the logic allows the derivation of implausible grounding claims. We then generalize these results and draw some conclusions concerning the structural features of ground and its associated notion of relevance, which has so far not received the attention it deserves.
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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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  • Knowledge Exclusion and the Rationality of Belief.Sean Donahue - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):402-410.
    Two epistemic principles are Knowledge Exclusion and Belief Exclusion. Knowledge Exclusion says that it is necessarily the case that if an agent knows that p, then she does not believe that ∼p, and Belief Exclusion says that it is necessarily the case that if an agent believes that q, then she does not believe that ∼q. Many epistemologists find it reasonable to reject the latter principle and accept the former. I argue that this is in fact not reasonable by proposing (...)
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  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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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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  • Against the Iterative Conception of Set.Edward Ferrier - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (10):2681-2703.
    According to the iterative conception of set, each set is a collection of sets formed prior to it. The notion of priority here plays an essential role in explanations of why contradiction-inducing sets, such as the Russell set, do not exist. Consequently, these explanations are successful only to the extent that a satisfactory priority relation is made out. I argue that attempts to do this have fallen short: understanding priority in a straightforwardly constructivist sense threatens the coherence of the empty (...)
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  • Each Thing Is Fundamental: Against Hylomorphism and Hierarchical Structure.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):289-301.
    Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe (...)
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  • Grounding and Normative Explanation.Pekka Väyrynen - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):155-178.
    This paper concerns non-causal normative explanations such as ‘This act is wrong because/in virtue of__’. The familiar intuition that normative facts aren't brute or ungrounded but anchored in non- normative facts seems to be in tension with the equally familiar idea that no normative fact can be fully explained in purely non- normative terms. I ask whether the tension could be resolved by treating the explanatory relation in normative explanations as the sort of ‘grounding’ relation that receives extensive discussion in (...)
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  • The Fundamental: Ungrounded or All-Grounding?Stephan Leuenberger - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Fundamentality plays a pivotal role in discussions of ontology, supervenience, and possibility, and other key topics in metaphysics. However, there are two different ways of characterising the fundamental: as that which is not grounded, and as that which is the ground of everything else. I show that whether these two characterisations pick out the same property turns on a principle—which I call “Dichotomy”—that is of independent interest in the theory of ground: that everything is either fully grounded or not even (...)
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  • Pluralism and the Problem of Purity.David Builes - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):394-402.
    Ontological Pluralism is the thesis that there are different ways of being. In his recent paper, ‘The only way to be’, Trenton Merricks has presented an important challenge to Pluralism in the form of a dilemma. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, I argue that Merricks’s argument against Pluralism, as stated, is unsound. I will argue that one horn of the dilemma is unproblematic for contemporary versions of Pluralism, defended by Jason Turner and Kris McDaniel, that are formulated (...)
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  • Grounding: Necessary or Contingent?Kelly Trogdon - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):465-485.
    Argument that full grounds modally entail what they ground.
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  • Placement, Grounding, and Mental Content.Kelly Trogdon - 2015 - In C. Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook on Philosophical Methods. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 481-496.
    Grounding-theoretic reformulation of Fodor's theory of content that addresses recalcitrant Quinean concerns.
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  • Inheritance Arguments for Fundamentality.Kelly Trogdon - 2018 - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 182-198.
    Discussion of a metaphysical sense of 'inheritance' and cognate notions relevant to fundamentality.
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  • Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  • Symposium on Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):751-770.
    This is a symposium on my book, Writing the Book of the World, containing a precis from me, criticisms from Contessa, Merricks, and Schaffer, and replies by me.
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  • How to Properly Lose Direction.Alex Steinberg - forthcoming - Synthese.
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  • A New Approach to the Relational‐Substantival Debate.Jill North - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    We should see the debate over the existence of spacetime as a debate about the fundamentality of spatiotemporal structure to the physical world. This is a non-traditional conception of the debate, which captures the spirit of the traditional one. At the same time, it clarifies the point of contention between opposing views and offsets worries that the dispute is stagnant or non-substantive. It also unearths a novel argument for substantivalism, given current physics. Even so, that conclusion can be overridden by (...)
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  • Value and Reasons to Favour.Jonathan Way - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 8.
    This paper defends a 'fitting attitudes' view of value on which what it is for something to be good is for there to be reasons to favour that thing. The first section of the paper defends a 'linking principle' connecting reasons and value. The second and third sections argue that this principle is better explained by a fitting-attitudes view than by 'value-first' views on which reasons are explained in terms of value.
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  • The Explanatory Ambitions of Moral Principles.Selim Berker - forthcoming - Noûs.
    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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  • 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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  • Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  • The Tale of Bella and Creda.Scott Sturgeon - 2015 - Philosophers' Imprint 15.
    Some philosophers defend the view that epistemic agents believe by lending credence. Others defend the view that such agents lend credence by believing. It can strongly appear that the disagreement between them is notational, that nothing of substance turns on whether we are agents of one sort or the other. But that is demonstrably not so. Only one of these types of epistemic agent, at most, could manifest a human-like configuration of attitudes; and it turns out that not both types (...)
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  • Logically Simple Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16:1-40.
    This paper presents an account of what it is for a property or relation (or ‘attribute’ for short) to be logically simple. Based on this account, it is shown, among other things, that the logically simple attributes are in at least one important way sparse. This in turn lends support to the view that the concept of a logically simple attribute can be regarded as a promising substitute for Lewis’s concept of a perfectly natural attribute. At least in part, the (...)
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  • Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind: A Defense.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - In Ken Aizawa Carl Gillett (ed.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  • The Transcendentist Theory of Persistence.Damiano Costa - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (2):57-75.
    This paper develops an endurantist theory of persistence. The theory is built around one basic tenet, which concerns existence at a time – the relation between an object and the times at which that object is present. According to this tenet, which I call transcendentism, for an object to exist at a time is for it to participate in events that are located at that time. I argue that transcendentism is a semantically grounded and metaphysically fruitful. It is semantically grounded, (...)
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  • Grounding Practical Normativity: Going Hybrid.Ruth Chang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):163-187.
    In virtue of what is something a reason for action? That is, what makes a consideration a reason to act? This is a metaphysical or meta-normative question about the grounding of reasons for action. The answer to the grounding question has been traditionally given in ‘pure’, univocal terms. This paper argues that there is good reason to understand the ground of practical normativity as a hybrid of traditional ‘pure’ views. The paper 1) surveys the three leading ‘pure’ answers to the (...)
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  • Indefinitely Descending Ground.Einar Duenger Bohn - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press.
    In this paper I argue against grounding being necessarily well-founded, and provide some reasons to think it's actually not well-founded.
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  • Conscious Unity From the Top Down: A Brentanian Approach.Anna Giustina - 2017 - The Monist 100 (1):16-37.
    The question of the unity of consciousness is often treated as the question of how different conscious experiences are related to each other in order to be unified. Many contemporary views on the unity of consciousness are based on this bottom-up approach. In this paper I explore an alternative, top-down approach, according to which (to a first approximation) a subject undergoes one single conscious experience at a time. From this perspective, the problem of unity of consciousness becomes rather the problem (...)
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  • Internalism and Entitlement to Rules and Methods.Joshua Schechter - forthcoming - In Nikolaj Jang Lee Linding Pedersen & Peter J. Graham (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement. Oxford University Press.
    In our thought, we employ rules of inference and belief-forming methods more generally. For instance, we (plausibly) employ deductive rules such as Modus Ponens, ampliative rules such as Inference to the Best Explanation, and perceptual methods that tell us to believe what perceptually appears to be the case. What explains our entitlement to employ these rules and methods? This chapter considers the motivations for broadly internalist answers to this question. It considers three such motivations—one based on simple cases, one based (...)
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  • Cosmopsychism, Micropsychism, and the Grounding Relation.Philip Goff - forthcoming - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
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  • Type Physicalism and Causal Exclusion.Joseph A. Baltimore - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:405-418.
    While concerns of the mental being causally excluded by the physical have persistently plagued non-reductive physicalism, such concerns are standardly taken to pose no problem for reductive type physicalism. Type physicalists have the obvious advantage of being able to countenance the reduction of mental properties to their physical base properties by way of type identity, thereby avoiding any causal competition between instances of mental properties and their physical bases. Here, I challenge this widely accepted advantage of type physicalism over non-reductive (...)
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  • 'Explanatory Indispensability Arguments in Metaethics and Philosophy of Mathematics'.Debbie Roberts - 2016 - In Uri D. Leibowitz & Neil Sinclair (eds.), Explanation in Ethics and Mathematics: Debunking and Dispensability. Oxford University Press.
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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  • Combining Minds: A Defence of the Possibility of Experiential Combination.Luke Roelofs - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    This thesis explores the possibility of composite consciousness: phenomenally conscious states belonging to a composite being in virtue of the consciousness of, and relations among, its parts. We have no trouble accepting that a composite being has physical properties entirely in virtue of the physical properties of, and relations among, its parts. But a long­standing intuition holds that consciousness is different: my consciousness cannot be understood as a complex of interacting component consciousnesses belonging to parts of me. I ask why: (...)
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  • Run Aground: Kit Fine’s Critique of Truthmaker Theory.Jamin Asay - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):443-463.
    Kit Fine, the leading proponent of the metaphysical project of grounding theory, has offered a number of potentially devastating objections to truthmaker theory, the branch of metaphysics dedicated to exploring the ontological grounds for truths. In this paper I show what presuppositions about truthmaker theory Fine’s objections are based upon, and why they are false. I discuss four objections that Fine raises, and demonstrate how truthmaker theorists may respond to them. I then showcase the positive contribution that truthmaker theory can (...)
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  • Physicalism, Not Scientism.Alyssa Ney - forthcoming - In Jeroen de Ridder, Rik Peels & Rene van Woudenberg (eds.), Scientism: Prospects and Problems. Oxford University Press.
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  • Grounding and the Argument From Explanatoriness.David Kovacs - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2927-2952.
    In recent years, metaphysics has undergone what some describe as a revolution: it has become standard to understand a vast array of questions as questions about grounding, a metaphysical notion of determination. Why should we believe in grounding, though? Supporters of the revolution often gesture at what I call the Argument from Explanatoriness: the notion of grounding is somehow indispensable to a metaphysical type of explanation. I challenge this argument and along the way develop a “reactionary” view, according to which (...)
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