David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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It has recently been suggested that a distinctive metaphysical posit---"Grounding"---is ultimately at issue in contexts where some goings-on are said to hold "in virtue of"", be (constitutively) "metaphysically dependent on", or be "nothing over and above" some others (see Fine 2001, Schaffer 2009, and Rosen 2010). Grounding is supposed to do good work (better than merely modal notions, in particular) 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 questions as whether Grounded goings-on exist, whether they are distinct from Grounding goings-on, whether they (or associated entities) are efficacious, and so on; but in the absence of answers to such basic questions, we are not in position either to understand or to be able to assess the associated claim or theses concerning metaphysical dependence. There is no avoiding appeal to the specific metaphysical relations typically at issue in investigations into dependence---e.g., type or token identity, functional realization, classical mereological proper parthood, among many others---capable of making more fine-grained discriminations; but, I argue, once the specific relations are on the scene, there is no need for Grounding. Nor, I argue, is Grounding needed as a metaphysical, terminological or formal unifier of the specific grounding relations. Even if there were such unity, that in itself wouldn't motivate the posit of a distinctive (much less primitive) Grounding relation; moreover, there is little such unity.
|Keywords||grounding dependence in virtue of fundamentality Schaffer Rosen Fine supervenience metaphysics ontology|
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