Grounding nonexistence

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):209-229 (2020)
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Abstract

Contingent negative existentials give rise to a notorious paradox. I formulate a version in terms of metaphysical grounding: nonexistence can't be fundamental, but nothing can ground it. I then argue for a new kind of solution, expanding on work by Kit Fine. The key idea is that negative existentials are contingently zero-grounded – that is to say, they are grounded, but not by anything, and only in the right conditions. If this is correct, it follows that grounding cannot be an internal relation, and that no complete account of reality can be purely fundamental.

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Daniel Muñoz
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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