Grounding, Explanation, and the Tasks of Metaphysics

In Aaron Segal & Nick Stang (eds.), Systematic Metaphysics: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Thinking about metaphysical problems in terms of grounding has its uses, but those uses are limited. This paper argues against attempts to see issues of grounding as having a central and organising role in metaphysical inquiry. After arguing that grounding does some useful work, this paper will argue that grounding is neither the central tool for understanding explanation in metaphysics, nor defines the subject matter of metaphysics. Instead, grounding tracks only some of the metaphysical explanations we should be looking for, and is only one among many of the topics metaphysics aims to address.

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Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame


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