Grounding and the Objection from Accidental Generalizations

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (3):178-184 (2017)
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Abstract

Monistic grounding says that there is one fundamental ground, while pluralistic grounding says that there are many such grounds. Grounding necessitarianism says that grounding entails, but is not reducible to, necessitation, while grounding contingentism says that there are at least some cases where grounding does not entail necessitation. Pluralistic grounding necessitarianism is a very popular position, but accidental generalizations, such as ‘all solid gold spheres are less than one mile in diameter’, pose well-known problems for this view: the many fundamental grounds of such generalizations do not necessitate them. Though there is a straightforward response to this objection, I argue that it fails. Thus the objection from accidental generalizations stands, and proponents of pluralistic grounding necessitarianism face the following dilemma: either give up pluralistic grounding, or give up necessitarianism.

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Brannon McDaniel
University of Richmond

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