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Against Grounding Necessitarianism

Erkenntnis 80 (4):717-751 (2015)

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  1. 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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  • Grounding, Physicalism and Necessity.Donnchadh O'Conaill - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (7):713-730.
    Recent work on metaphysical grounding has suggested that physicalism can be characterised in terms of the mental facts being grounded in physical facts. It is often assumed that the full grounds of a fact metaphysically necessitate that fact. Therefore, it seems that if the physical grounds the mental, then the physical facts metaphysically necessitate the mental facts. Stefan Leuenberger argues that such a version of physicalism would be vulnerable to counterexamples. I shall outline a characterisation of grounding which appeals to (...)
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  • Grounds and ‘Grounds’.Bradley Rettler - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (5):631-655.
    In this paper, I offer a new theory of grounding. The theory has it that grounding is a job description that is realized by different properties in different contexts. Those properties play the grounding role contingently, and grounding is the property that plays the grounding role essentially. On this theory, grounding is monistic, but ‘grounding’ refers to different relations in different contexts. First, I argue against Kit Fine’s monist univocalism. Next, I argue against Jessica Wilson’s pluralist multivocalism. Finally, I introduce (...)
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  • The Essence of Grounding.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):5137-5152.
    I develop a reduction of grounding to essence. My approach is to think about the relation between grounding and essence on the model of a certain conceptof existential dependence. I extend this concept of existential dependence in a coupleof ways and argue that these extensions provide a reduction of grounding to essenceif we use sorted variables that range over facts and take it that for a fact to obtain is forit to exist. I then use the account to resolve various (...)
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron M. Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • 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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  • Priority monism, dependence and fundamentality.Claudio Calosi - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):1-20.
    Priority monism is roughly the view that the universe is the only fundamental object, that is, a concrete object that does not depend on any other concrete object. Schaffer, the main advocate of PM, claims that PM is compatible with dependence having two different directions: from parts to wholes for subcosmic wholes, and from whole to parts for the cosmic whole. Recently it has been argued that this position is untenable. Given plausible assumptions about dependence, PM entails that dependence has (...)
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  • Grounding and the Argument From Explanatoriness.David Mark 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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  • Causal Grounds for Negative Truths.Robin Stenwall - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2973-2989.
    Among truthmaker theorists it is generally thought that we are not able to use the entailment principle to ground negative truths. But these theorists usually only discuss truthmakers for truth-functional complexes, thereby overlooking the fact that there are non-truth-functional complexes whose truth values are not solely determined by the truth or falsity of their atomic propositions. And once we expand the class of truths that require their own bespoke truthmakers to also include these, there is no reason to exempt negative (...)
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  • Maurinian Truths : Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on Her 50th Birthday.Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.) - 2019 - 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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  • 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 - Essays in Honour of Anna-Sofia Maurin on her 50th Birthday.
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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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  • Anchoring as Grounding: On Epstein’s the Ant Trap.Jonathan Schaffer - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3):749-767.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 99, Issue 3, Page 749-767, November 2019.
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  • Wildman’s Defense of Sparse Modalism and a Dilemma of Post-Finean Modalism.Jaeho Lee - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-17.
    Since K. Fine’s influential criticism of modalism, many philosophers have agreed that we cannot understand the concept of essence with that of modality. However, some philosophers have resisted this mainstream position. In this paper, I examine N. Wildman’s claim that, unlike other versions of modalism, his version of modalism, namely Sparse Modalism can save modalism. I will argue first that if we introduce the notion of grounding into this debates, Wildman’s criticisms of other versions are significantly undermined. Next, I will (...)
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  • Grounding the Normative: A Problem for Structured Non-Naturalism.Justin Morton - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):173-196.
    Many non-naturalists about the normative want to endorse the view that some normative facts hold in virtue of both non-normative facts and normative principles. In this paper, I argue that non-naturalism is inconsistent with this thesis, due to the nature of normative principles and their grounds. I then consider two ways in which the nonnaturalist position could be modified or expanded to solve this problem. No solution, it turns out, is without its problems. I end by considering how the non-naturalist (...)
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  • Composition, Contingency, and Local Supervenience.Deborah C. Smith - 2019 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 57 (4):589-612.
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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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  • Metaphysical Causation.Alastair Wilson - 2018 - Noûs:723-751.
    There is a systematic and suggestive analogy between grounding and causation. In my view, this analogy is no coincidence. Grounding and causation are alike because grounding is a type of causation: metaphysical causation. In this paper I defend the identification of grounding with metaphysical causation, drawing on the causation literature to explore systematic connections between grounding and metaphysical dependence counterfactuals, and I outline a non-reductive counterfactual theory of grounding along interventionist lines.
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  • Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality.Alastair Wilson - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3):716-728.
    This paper outlines a non-reductive counterfactual account of grounding along interventionist lines, and uses the account to argue that taking grounding seriously requires ascribing non-trivial truth-conditions to a range of counterpossible counterfactuals. This result allows for a diagnosis of a route to scepticism about grounding, as deriving at least in part from scepticism about non-trivial counterpossible truth and falsity.
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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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  • Grounding and Ontological Dependence.Henrik Rydéhn - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Recent metaphysics has seen a surge of interest in grounding—a relation of non-causal determination underlying a distinctive kind of explanation common in philosophy. In this article, I investigate the connection between grounding and another phenomenon of great interest to metaphysics: ontological dependence. There are interesting parallels between the two phenomena: for example, both are commonly invoked through the use of “dependence” terminology, and there is a great deal of overlap in the motivations typically appealed to when introducing them. I approach (...)
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  • Ground.Michael J. Raven - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):322-333.
    This essay focuses on a recently prominent notion of ground which is distinctive for how it links metaphysics to explanation. Ground is supposed to serve both as the common factor in diverse in virtue of questions as well as the structuring relation in the project of explaining how some phenomena are “built” from more fundamental phenomena. My aim is to provide an opinionated synopsis of this notion of ground without engaging with others. Ground, so understood, generally resists illumination by appeal (...)
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  • In Defense of the Disunity of Grounding.Jon Erling Litland - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):97-108.
    Fine (2012) is a pluralist about grounding. He holds that there are three fundamentally distinct notions of grounding: metaphysical, normative, and natural. Berker (2017) argues for monism on the grounds that the pluralist cannot account for certain principles describing how the distinct notions of grounding interact. This paper defends pluralism. By building on work by Fine (2010) and Litland (2015) I show how the pluralist can systematically account for Berker's interaction principles.
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  • Grounding Is Not Causation.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):21-38.
    Proponents of grounding often describe the notion as "metaphysical causation" involving determination and production relations similar to causation. This paper argues that the similarities between grounding and causation are merely superficial. I show that there are several sorts of causation that have no analogue in grounding; that the type of "bringing into existence" that both involve is extremely different; and that the synchronicity of ground and the diachronicity of causation make them too different to be explanatorily intertwined.
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  • The Unity of Grounding.Selim Berker - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):729-777.
    I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
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  • Making Things Up, by Karen Bennett. [REVIEW]Alastair Wilson - 2019 - Mind 128 (510):588-600.
    Making Things Up, by Karen Bennett. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xi + 260.
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  • Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-17.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists (including Maudlin (2007), Oaklander (2012) and Tegtmeier (1996; 2009; 2014; 2016)) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some (...)
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  • Grounding-Based Formulations of Legal Positivism.Samuele Chilovi - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    The goal of this paper is to provide an accurate grounding-based formulation of positivism in the philosophy of law. I start off by discussing some simple formulations, based on the ideas that social facts are always either full or partial grounds of legal facts. I then raise a number of objections against these definitions: the full grounding proposal rules out possibilities that are compatible with positivism; the partial grounding proposal fails, on its own, to vindicate the distinctive role that is (...)
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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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  • What is Field's Epistemological Objection to Platonism?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2019 - In Robin Stenwall & Tobias Hansson Wahlberg (eds.), Maurinian Truths. 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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  • The (Metaphysical) 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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  • 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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  • A Simple Proof of Grounding Internality.Adam Lovett - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):154-166.
    Some people think that grounding is a type of identity. And some people think that grounding connections hold necessarily. I show that, under plausible assumptions, if grounding is a type of identity, then grounding connections hold necessarily.
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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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  • Not All Partial Grounds Partly Ground: Some Useful Distinctions in the Theory of Grounding.Shlomit Wygoda Cohen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • An Argument Against Aristotelian Universals.Damiano Costa - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I provide an argument against the Aristotelian view of universals, according to which universals depend for their existence on their exemplifiers. The argument consists in a set of five jointly inconsistent assumptions. As such, the argument can be used to argue in favour of other conclusions, such as that exemplification is no relation or that plausible principles concerning ontological dependence or grounding do not hold.
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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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  • Social Construction and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):393-409.
    The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...)
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  • Truths Qua Grounds.Ghislain Guigon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):99-125.
    A number of philosophers have recently found it congenial to talk in terms of grounding. Grounding discourse features grounding sentences that are answers to questions about what grounds what. The goal of this article is to explore and defend a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of grounding discourse. We are familiar with David Lewis's applications of the method of counterpart theory to de re modal discourse. Counterpart-theoretic interpretations of de re modal idioms and grounding sentences share similar motivations, mechanisms, and applications. I shall (...)
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  • Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will see, the (...)
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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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  • Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3):642-670.
    Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustín Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with antecedently plausible (...)
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  • Qualitative Grounds.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):309-348.
    Suppose that all non-qualitative facts are grounded in qualitative facts. I argue that this view naturally comes with a picture in which trans-world identity is indeterminate. But this in turn leads to either pervasive indeterminacy in the non-qualitative, or else contingency in what facts about modality and possible worlds are determinate.
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  • The Difference Between Epistemic and Metaphysical Necessity.Martin Glazier - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Philosophers have observed that metaphysical necessity appears to be a true or real or genuine form of necessity while epistemic necessity does not. Similarly, natural necessity appears genuine while deontic necessity does not. But what is it for a form of necessity to be genuine? I defend an account of genuine necessity in explanatory terms. The genuine forms of necessity, I argue, are those that provide what I call necessitarian explanation. I discuss the relationship of necessitarian explanation to ground.
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  • Essentialist Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2871-2889.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in metaphysical explanation, and philosophers have fixed on the notion of ground as the conceptual tool with which such explanation should be investigated. I will argue that this focus on ground is myopic and that some metaphysical explanations that involve the essences of things cannot be understood in terms of ground. Such ‘essentialist’ explanation is of interest, not only for its ubiquity in philosophy, but for its being in a sense an ultimate (...)
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  • Metaphysical and Conceptual Grounding.Robert Smithson - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-25.
    Recently, many philosophers have claimed that the world has an ordered, hierarchical structure, where entities at lower ontological levels are said to metaphysically ground entities at higher ontological levels. Other philosophers have recently claimed that our language has an ordered, hierarchical structure. Semantically primitive sentences are said to conceptually ground less primitive sentences. It’s often emphasized that metaphysical grounding is a relation between things out in the world, not a relation between our sentences. But conflating these relations is easy to (...)
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  • Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Grounds, Roots and Abysses.Roberto Loss - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):41-52.
    The aim of this study is to address the “Grounding Grounding Problem,” that is, the question as to what, if anything, grounds facts about grounding. I aim to show that, if a seemingly plausible principle of modal recombination between fundamental facts and the principle customarily called “Entailment” are assumed, it is possible to prove not only that grounding facts featuring fundamental, contingent grounds are derivative but also that either they are partially grounded in the grounds they feature or they are (...)
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  • Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
    I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...)
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