Placement, Grounding, and Mental Content

In C. Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook on Philosophical Methods. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 481-496 (2015)
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One central issue concerning philosophical methodology is this: what concepts should go into our philosophical toolbox? That is to say, what notions are appropriate to rely on in doing philosophy? This issue is relevant not only to how we should go about addressing philosophical problems but also how we’re to formulate those problems in the first place. There is a burgeoning literature on the notion of grounding. I’m a proponent of grounding – I think the notion of grounding is coherent and theoretically useful.1 Supposing that the notion of grounding belongs in our philosophical toolbox, what consequences might this have for familiar philosophical problems? In this chapter I focus on what Jackson calls placement problems, problems concerning how the manifest facts “fit into” the world given that the world is ultimately physical in nature. If we formulate placement problems in terms of grounding, we should expect new possibilities to open up with respect to how to solve them. My goal in this chapter is to show that this is precisely what happens with respect to the content placement problem, the problem of how to fit facts concerning mental content into the actual world given that it’s ultimately physical in nature.
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On What Grounds What.Schaffer, Jonathan

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