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Something from Nothing: Why Some Negative Existentials are Fundamental

In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence. Oxford University Press. pp. 50-68 (2021)

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  1. The Coarse-Grainedness of Grounding.Kathrin Koslicki - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:306-344.
    After many years of enduring the drought and famine of Quinean ontology and Carnapian meta-ontology, the notion of ground, with its distinctively philosophical flavor, finally promises to give metaphysicians something they can believe in again and around which they can rally: their very own metaphysical explanatory connection which apparently cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, other familiar idioms such as identity, modality, parthood, supervenience, realization, causation or counterfactual dependence. Often, phenomena such as the following are cited as (...)
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  • By Our Bootstraps.Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):27-41.
    Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
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  • The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1918 - In ¸ Iterussell1986. Open Court. pp. 193-210..
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  • The unity and priority arguments for Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2016 - In Ken Aizawa & Carl Gillett (eds.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. London: Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 171-204.
    Grounding, understood as a primitive posit operative in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, is not able on its own to do any substantive work in characterizing or illuminating metaphysical dependence---or so I argue in 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). Such illumination rather requires appeal to specific metaphysical relations---type or token identity, functional realization, the determinable-determinate relation, the mereological part-whole relation, and so on---of the sort typically at issue in these contexts. In that case, why (...)
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  • No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
    It has recently been suggested that a distinctive metaphysical relation— ‘Grounding’—is ultimately at issue in contexts in which some goings-on are said to hold ‘in virtue of’’, be ‘metaphysically dependent on’, or be ‘nothing over and above’ some others. Grounding is supposed to do good work in illuminating metaphysical dependence. I argue that Grounding is also unsuited to do this work. To start, Grounding alone cannot do this work, for bare claims of Grounding leave open such basic questions as whether (...)
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  • Grounding-based formulations of physicalism.Jessica M. Wilson - 2016 - Topoi 37 (3):495-512.
    I problematize Grounding-based formulations of physicalism. More specifically, I argue, first, that motivations for adopting a Grounding-based formulation of physicalism are unsound; second, that a Grounding-based formulation lacks illuminating content, and that attempts to imbue Grounding with content by taking it to be a strict partial order are unuseful and problematic ; third, that conceptions of Grounding as constitutively connected to metaphysical explanation conflate metaphysics and epistemology, are ultimately either circular or self-undermining, and controversially assume that physical dependence is incompatible (...)
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  • The Possibility of Physicalism.Shamik Dasgupta - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10):557-592.
    It has been suggested that many philosophical theses—physicalism, normative naturalism, phenomenalism, and so on—should be understood in terms of ground. Against this, Ted Sider (2011) has argued that ground is ill-suited for this purpose. Here I develop Sider’s objection and offer a response. In doing so I develop a view about the role of ground in philosophy, and about the content of these distinctively philosophical theses.
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  • Grounding in the image of causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • On Propositions: What They are and How They Mean.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 2 (1):1-43.
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  • Grounding nonexistence.Daniel Muñoz - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (2):209-229.
    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 (...)
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  • On Some Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Grounding.Jon Erling Litland - 2013 - Essays in Philosophy 14 (1):19-32.
    I discuss three recent counterexamples to the transitivity of grounding due to Jonathan Schaffer. I argue that the counterexamples don’t work and draw some conclusions about the relationship between grounding and explanation.
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  • Being Positive About Negative Facts.Mark Jago & Stephen Barker - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):117-138.
    Negative facts get a bad press. One reason for this is that it is not clear what negative facts are. We provide a theory of negative facts on which they are no stranger than positive atomic facts. We show that none of the usual arguments hold water against this account. Negative facts exist in the usual sense of existence and conform to an acceptable Eleatic principle. Furthermore, there are good reasons to want them around, including their roles in causation, chance-making (...)
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  • The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell (ed.) - 1940 - Routledge.
    Logical Atomism is a philosophy that sought to account for the world in all its various aspects by relating it to the structure of the language in which we articulate information. In _The Philosophy of Logical Atomism,_ Bertrand Russell, with input from his young student Ludwig Wittgenstein, developed the concept and argues for a reformed language based on pure logic. Despite Russell’s own future doubts surrounding the concept, this founding and definitive work in analytical philosophy by one of the world’s (...)
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  • Razing Structures to the Ground.Michael Della Rocca - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (3):276-294.
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  • Negative truths from positive facts.Colin Cheyne & Charles Pigden - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2):249 – 265.
    According to the truthmaker theory that we favour, all contingent truths are made true by existing facts or states of affairs. But if that is so, then it appears that we must accept the existence of the negative facts that are required to make negative truths (such as 'There is no hippopotamus in the room.') true. We deny the existence of negative facts, show how negative truths are made true by positive facts, point out where the (reluctant) advocates of negative (...)
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  • Explaining contingent facts.Fatema Amijee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1163-1181.
    I argue against a principle that is widely taken to govern metaphysical explanation. This is the principle that no necessary facts can, on their own, explain a contingent fact. I then show how this result makes available a response to a longstanding objection to the Principle of Sufficient Reason—the objection that the Principle of Sufficient Reason entails that the world could not have been otherwise.
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  • Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
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  • The Philosophy of Logical Atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1940 - Open Court. Edited by David Pears.
    THE PHILOSOPHY which I advocate is generally regarded as a species of realism, and accused of inconsistency because of the elements in it which seem contrary to that doctrine. For my part, I do not regard the issue between realists and their opponents as a funda- mental one; I could alter my view on this issue without changing my mind as to any of the doctrines upon which I wish to lay stress. I hold that logic is what is fundamental (...)
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  • Spinoza.Michael Della Rocca - 2008 - New York: Routledge.
    Spinoza ' s understanding and understanding Spinoza -- Spinoza ' s understanding -- Understanding Spinoza -- The metaphysics of substance -- Descartes and substance -- Spinoza contra Descartes on substance -- Modes -- Necessitarianism -- The purpose of it all -- The human mind -- Parallelism and representation -- Essence and representation -- Parallelism and mind - body identity -- The idea of the human body -- The pancreas problem, the pan problem, and panpsychism -- Nothing but representation -- Representation, (...)
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  • On what grounds what.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
    On the now dominant Quinean view, metaphysics is about what there is. Metaphysics so conceived is concerned with such questions as whether properties exist, whether meanings exist, and whether numbers exist. I will argue for the revival of a more traditional Aristotelian view, on which metaphysics is about what grounds what. Metaphysics so revived does not bother asking whether properties, meanings, and numbers exist (of course they do!) The question is whether or not they are fundamental.
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  • Metaphysical grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    General discussion of grounding, including its formal features, relations to other notions, and applications. (Originally published 2014; revised 2021).
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  • The metaphysics of causation.Jonathan N. D. Schaffer - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Questions about the metaphysics of causation may be usefully divided as follows. First, there are questions about the nature of the causal relata, including (1.1) whether they are in spacetime immanence), (1.2) how fine grained they are individuation), and (1.3) how many there are adicity). Second, there are questions about the metaphysics of the causal relation, including (2.1) what is the difference between causally related and causally unrelated sequences connection), (2.2) what is the difference between sequences related as cause to (...)
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  • Grounding Explanations.Louis deRosset - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    A compelling idea holds that reality has a layered structure. We often disagree about what inhabits the bottom layer, but we agree that higher up we find chemical, biological, geological, psychological, sociological, economic, /etc./, entities: molecules, human beings, diamonds, mental states, cities, interest rates, and so on. How is this intuitive talk of a layered structure of entities to be understood? Traditionally, philosophers have proposed to understand layered structure in terms of either reduction or supervenience. But these traditional views face (...)
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  • The question of realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
    This paper distinguishes two kinds of realist issue -- the issue of whether the propositions of a given domain are factual and the issue of whether they are fundamental. It criticizes previous accounts of what these issues come to and suggests that they are to be understood in terms of a basic metaphysical concept of reality. This leaves open the question of how such issues are to be resolved; and it is argued that this may be done through consideration of (...)
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  • Grounding, transitivity, and contrastivity.Jonathan Schaffer - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 122-138.
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  • Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
    A number of philosophers have recently become receptive to the idea that, in addition to scientific or causal explanation, there may be a distinctive kind of metaphysical explanation, in which explanans and explanandum are connected, not through some sort of causal mechanism, but through some constitutive form of determination. I myself have long been sympathetic to this idea of constitutive determination or ‘ontological ground’; and it is the aim of the present paper to help put the idea on a firmer (...)
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  • A clarification and defense of the notion of grounding.Paul Audi - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 101-121.
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  • On propositions: What they are and how they mean.Bertrand Russell - 1919 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 2:1--43.
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  • Spinoza's necessitarianism reconsidered.Edwin Curley & Gregory Walski - 1999 - In Gennaro Rocco & Huenemann Charles (eds.), New Essays on the Rationalists. Oxford University Press. pp. 241--62.
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