Kind‐Dependent Grounding

Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):359-390 (2018)
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Are grounding claims fully general in character? If a is F in virtue of being G, does it follow that anything that’s G has to be F for that reason? According to the thesis of Weak Formality, the answer is ‘yes’. In this paper, however, I argue that there is philosophical utility in rejecting this thesis. More exactly, I argue that two outstanding problems in contemporary metaphysics can be dealt with if we maintain that there can be cases of what I will refer to here as ‘kind-dependent grounding’, and, moreover, that once we allow for the possibility of such cases (in order to solve these problems), we must also hold that Weak Formality is false. The paper turns crucially on two main ideas, namely (i) that each object belongs to some fundamental kind, which can determine certain of the properties that it can have, and (ii) that grounding relations are able to hold conditionally. As we will see, in light of these two ideas we will be able to make sense of the notion of kind-dependent grounding that is central to this paper, and as a result solve two important outstanding metaphysical puzzles.
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Metaphysical Causation.Wilson, Alastair

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