Debunking Logical Ground: Distinguishing Metaphysics from Semantics

Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):156-170 (2020)
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Many philosophers take purportedly logical cases of ground ) to be obvious cases, and indeed such cases have been used to motivate the existence of and importance of ground. I argue against this. I do so by motivating two kinds of semantic determination relations. Intuitions of logical ground track these semantic relations. Moreover, our knowledge of semantics for first order logic can explain why we have such intuitions. And, I argue, neither semantic relation can be a species of ground even on a quite broad conception of what ground is. Hence, without a positive argument for taking so-called ‘logical ground’ to be something distinct from a semantic determination relation, we should cease treating logical cases as cases of ground.

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Michaela McSweeney
Boston University


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