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Grounding and metametaphysics

In Ricki Bliss & J. Miller (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. New York, NY, USA: (2013)

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  1. Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  • Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • A Grounding Solution to the Grounding Problem.Noël B. Saenz - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2193-2214.
    The statue and the lump of clay that constitutes it fail to share all of their kind and modal properties. Therefore, by Leibniz’s Law, the statue is not the lump. Question: What grounds the kind and modal differences between the statue and the lump? In virtue of what is it that the lump of clay, but not the statue, can survive being smashed? This is the grounding problem. Now a number of solutions to the grounding problem require that we substantially (...)
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  • Grounding-based formulations of legal positivism.Samuele Chilovi - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3283-3302.
    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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  • Law-Determination as Grounding: A Common Grounding Framework for Jurisprudence.Samuele Chilovi & George Pavlakos - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (1):53-76.
    Law being a derivative feature of reality, it exists in virtue of more fundamental things, upon which it depends. This raises the question of what is the relation of dependence that holds between law and its more basic determinants. The primary aim of this paper is to argue that grounding is that relation. We first make a positive case for this claim, and then we defend it from the potential objection that the relevant relation is rather rational determination (Greenberg 2004, (...)
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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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  • The Nomological Account of Ground.Tobias Wilsch - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3293-3312.
    The article introduces and defends the Nomological Account of ground, a reductive account of the notion of metaphysical explanation in terms of the laws of metaphysics. The paper presents three desiderata that a theory of ground should meet: it should explain the modal force of ground, the generality of ground, and the interplay between ground and certain mereological notions. The bulk of the paper develops the Nomological Account and argues that it meets the three desiderata. The Nomological Account relies on (...)
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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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  • An Explanatory Idealist Theory of Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Noûs.
    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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  • Indeterminacy: Deep but Not Rock Bottom.Cristian Mariani - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Barnes (2014) has argued in this journal for the following conditional: If there is any metaphysical indeterminacy, this must be at the most fundamental level of reality. To argue for this claim, Barnes relies on two principles that I shall call bivalent completeness and determinate link. According to the former, a complete description is a bivalent assignment of truth values to every sentence. The determinate link, instead, establishes that the determination relation between levels of reality preserves determinacy from one level (...)
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  • Generic Moral Grounding.Julian Jonker - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (1):23-38.
    Moral theories often issue general principles that explain our moral judgments in terms of underlying moral considerations. But it is unclear whether the general principles have an explanatory role beyond the underlying moral considerations. In order to avoid the redundancy of their principles, two-level theories issue principles that appear to generalize beyond the considerations that ground them. In doing so, the principles appear to overgeneralize. The problem is conspicuous in the case of contractualism, which proposes that moral principles are grounded (...)
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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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  • Sums and Grounding.Noël B. Saenz - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):102-117.
    As I will use the term, an object is a mereological sum of some things just in case those things compose it simply in virtue of existing. In the first half of this paper, I argue that there are no sums. The key premise for this conclusion relies on a constraint on what, in certain cases, it takes for something to ground, or metaphysically explain, something else. In the second half, I argue that in light of my argument against sums, (...)
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  • Minimal Anti-Humeanism.Harjit Bhogal - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):447-460.
    There is a tension in our theorizing about laws of nature: our practice of using and reasoning with laws of nature suggests that laws are universal generalizations, but if laws are universal generalizations then we face the problem of explanatory circularity. In this paper I elucidate this tension and show how it motivates a view of laws that I call Minimal Anti-Humeanism. This view says that the laws are the universal generalizations that are not grounded in their instances. I argue (...)
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  • Propositions: Individuation and Invirtuation.Kris McDaniel - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):757-768.
    The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...)
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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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  • A Brighter Shade of Categoricalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-30.
    Categoricalism is a doctrine about properties according to which the dispositional aspects of properties are not essential to them. In opposition to categoricalism, dispositionalism holds that the dispositional aspects of properties are essential to them. In this article, I shall construct a new version of categoricalism that should be favoured over the other existing versions: Semi-Necessitarian Categoricalism. In Section 2 I shall elaborate on the distinction between categoricalism and dispositionalism and single out different ‘shades’ of both doctrines. I shall also (...)
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  • Upward Grounding.T. Scott Dixon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):48-78.
    Realists about universals face a question about grounding. Are things how they are because they instantiate the universals they do? Or do they instantiate those universals because they are how they are? Take Ebenezer Scrooge. You can say that Scrooge is greedy because he instantiates greediness, or you can say that Scrooge instantiates greediness because he is greedy. I argue that there is reason to prefer the latter to the former. I develop two arguments for the view. I also respond (...)
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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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  • Metaphysical Rationalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2016 - Noûs 50 (2):379-418.
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason states that everything has an explanation. But different notions of explanation yield different versions of this principle. Here a version is formulated in terms of the notion of a “grounding” explanation. Its consequences are then explored, with particular emphasis on the fact that it implies necessitarianism, the view that every truth is necessarily true. Finally, the principle is defended from a number of objections, including objections to necessitarianism. The result is a defense of a “rationalist” (...)
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  • Truthmaking, Second‐Order Quantification, and Ontological Commitment.Ross P. Cameron - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (4):336-360.
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  • Viciousness and Circles of Ground.Ricki Bliss - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):245-256.
    Metaphysicians of a certain stripe are almost unanimously of the view that grounding is necessarily irreflexive, asymmetric, transitive, and well-founded. They deny the possibility of circles of ground and, therewith, the possibility of species of metaphysical coherentism. But what's so bad about circles of ground? One problem for coherentism might be that it ushers in anti-foundationalism: grounding loops give rise to infinite regresses. And this is bad because infinite grounding regresses are vicious. This article argues that circles of ground do (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Evidentialism, Circularity, and Grounding.Bob Beddor - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1847-1868.
    This paper explores what happens if we construe evidentialism as a thesis about the metaphysical grounds of justification. According to grounding evidentialism, facts about what a subject is justified in believing are grounded in facts about that subject’s evidence. At first blush, grounding evidentialism appears to enjoy advantages over a more traditional construal of evidentialism as a piece of conceptual analysis. However, appearances are deceiving. I argue that grounding evidentialists are unable to provide a satisfactory story about what grounds the (...)
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  • Counterfactuals, counteractuals, and free choice.Fabio Lampert & Pedro Merlussi - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):445-469.
    In a recent paper, Pruss proves the validity of the rule beta-2 relative to Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals, which is a significant step forward in the debate about the consequence argument. Yet, we believe there remain intuitive counter-examples to beta-2 formulated with the actuality operator and rigidified descriptions. We offer a novel and two-dimensional formulation of the Lewisian semantics for counterfactuals and prove the validity of a new transfer rule according to which a new version of the consequence argument can (...)
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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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  • 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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  • The Deductive-Nomological Account of Metaphysical Explanation.Tobias Wilsch - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (1):1-23.
    The paper explores a deductive-nomological account of metaphysical explanation: some truths metaphysically explain, or ground, another truth just in case the laws of metaphysics determine the latter truth on the basis of the former. I develop and motivate a specific conception of metaphysical laws, on which they are general rules that regulate the existence and features of derivative entities. I propose an analysis of the notion of ‘determination via the laws’, based on a restricted form of logical entailment. I argue (...)
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  • Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (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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  • 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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  • Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):567-590.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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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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  • 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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  • Fundamentality in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Physics. Part I: Metaphysics.Matteo Morganti - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (7).
    This is the first part of a two-tier overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. It provides an introduction to the notion of fundamentality in metaphysics, as well as to several related concepts. The key issues in the contemporary debate on the topic are summarised, making systematic reference to the most relevant literature. In particular, various ways in which the fundamental entities and the fundamental structure of reality may be conceived are illustrated and discussed. A final (...)
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  • How to Build a Thought.Andrew M. Bailey & Joshua Rasmussen - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):75-83.
    We uncover a surprising discovery about the basis of thoughts. We begin by giving some plausible axioms about thoughts and their grounds. We then deduce a theorem, which has dramatic ramifications for the basis of all thoughts. The theorem implies that thoughts cannot come deterministically from any purely “thoughtless” states. We expect this result to be too dramatic for many philosophers. Hence, we proceed to investigate the prospect of giving up the axioms. We show that each axiom’s negation itself has (...)
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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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  • 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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  • 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 them realists about 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 them eliminitivists about grounding. This paper outlines a new position in the debate about grounding, defending the view that grounding talk is intelligible (...)
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  • Essence Facts and Explanation.Chris Tillman - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):190-195.
    Some essence facts have metaphysical explanations. Some metaphysical explanations for essence facts consist in nonessential facts.
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  • Philosophical Analysis: The Concept Grounding View.Joachim Horvath - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):724-750.
    Philosophical analysis was the central preoccupation of 20th-century analytic philosophy. In the contemporary methodological debate, however, it faces a number of pressing external and internal challenges. While external challenges, like those from experimental philosophy or semantic externalism, have been extensively discussed, internal challenges to philosophical analysis have received much less attention. One especially vexing internal challenge is that the success conditions of philosophical analysis are deeply unclear. According to the standard textbook view, a philosophical analysis aims at a strict biconditional (...)
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