No. More carefully: apparently not. [This piece was published in the Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Ground (2020), edited by Michael J. Raven with the title "Anti-Skeptical Rejoinders", pp. 180-193].
It has recently become popular to suggest that questions of ontology ought be settled by determining, first, which fundamental things exist, and second, which derivative things depend on, or are grounded by, those fundamental things. This methodology typically leads to a hierarchical view of ontology according to which there are chains of entities, each dependent on the next, all the way down to a fundamental base. In this paper we defend an alternative ontological picture according to which there is no (...) ontological hierarchy. Such a picture appears counterintuitive (at least to many), in part because in the absence of a hierarchical structure to our world, there would be no structure apt to back metaphysical explanations. There are two reasons to suppose this is so. First, there would be no structure apt to back metaphysical explanations because there would be a fatal mismatch between the formal features of metaphysical explanation, on the one hand, and the structure of the world, on the other hand. Second, in the absence of an ontological hierarchy there would be no structure apt to back metaphysical explanations because the only connections that would obtain between relevant facts are mere correlational connections. But mere correlations are not the right kinds of relations to back metaphysical explanations: explanation requires something more. This paper aims to show that neither of these is a good reason to prefer a hierarchical view of ontology. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Contemporary metaphysics has undergone a change of perspective due to the irruption of Grounding in discussions of metaphysical dependence. Proponents argue that Grounding is the primitive relationship of determination underlying many of the traditionally posited idioms of metaphysical dependence. In a recent line of scepticism Jessica Wilson has argued that the inability of the notion to be informatively effective regarding substantial matters of metaphysical determination renders it useless in the face of theoretical work. To supply this lack of informativeness proponents (...) must resort to the already available set of specific ‘small-g’ relations, which renders the formulation of ‘big-G’ Grounding pre-theoretically unmotivated. In response two motivations are said to remain: The priority and unity arguments. Wilson insists that neither of these motivations succeeds in establishing ‘big-G’ Grounding as theoretically useful. I argue that none of Wilson’s critiques succeeds in establishing eliminative scepticism. (shrink)
Grounding has become all the rage in recent philosophical work and metaphilosophical discussions. While I agree that the concept of ground marks something useful, I am skeptical about the metaphysical weight many imbue it with, and the picture of ‘worldly layering’ that grounding talk inspires. My skepticism centers around the fact that grounding involves necessitation, combined with reasons for thinking matters of necessity are matters of logical or conceptual (semantic, psychological) relations. I sketch an argument for deflationism about ground based (...) on this sort of deflationism about necessity and essence. I also note that in at least some cases, the considerations supporting modal deflationism directly support deflationism about whatever grounding relations may obtain in these cases. (shrink)
We argue that Lewis would have rejected recent appeals to the notions of ‘metaphysical dependency’, ‘grounding’ and ‘ontological priority’, because he would have held that they’re not needed and they’re not intelligible. We argue our case by drawing upon Lewis’s views on supervenience, the metaphysics of singletons and the dubiousness of Kripke’s essentialism.
Kristie Miller and James Norton present a new account of metaphysical explanation, not as a philosophical technicality but as a feature of everyday life. This is the notion that we all use in ordinary contexts when we give explanations of a certain sort: Miller and Norton build their account on investigation of these explanatory practices.
This article introduces a non‐cognitivist account of metaphysical explanation according to which the core function of judgements of the form ⌜x because y⌝ is not to state truth‐apt beliefs. Instead, their core function is to express attitudes of commitment to, and recommendation of the acceptance of certain norms governing interventional conduct at contexts.
This paper defends Flatland—the view that there exist neither determination nor dependence relations, and that everything is therefore fundamental—from the objection from explanatory inefficacy. According to that objection, Flatland is unattractive because it is unable to explain either the appearance as of there being determination relations, or the appearance as of there being dependence relations. We show how the Flatlander can meet the first challenge by offering four strategies—reducing, eliminating, untangling and omnizing—which, jointly, explain the appearance as of there being (...) determination relations where no such relations obtain. Since, plausibly, dependence relations just are asymmetric determination relations, we argue that once we come mistakenly to believe that there exist determination relations, the existence of other asymmetries (conceptual and temporal) explains why it appears that there are dependence relations. (shrink)
This chapter reviews several varieties of grounding skepticism as well as responses that have been proposed by grounding enthusiasts to considerations raised by grounding skeptics. Grounding skeptics, as I conceive of them here, are theorists who belong to one of the following two schools of thought. “Old-school” grounding skeptics doubt the theoretical utility of the grounding idiom by denying one of its presuppositions, viz., that this notion is at least intelligible or coherent. “Second-generation” grounding skeptics call into question the theoretical (...) utility of the grounding idiom for other reasons; their skeptical doubts tend to focus on one of the following three purported theoretical virtues grounding enthusiasts ascribe to their idiom: (i) its alleged power to unify an apparently heterogeneous collection of phenomena; (ii) its alleged power to capture and/or elucidate the distinction between the fundamental and the non-fundamental; or (iii) the alleged metaphysical (as opposed to mind-dependent, epistemic, or psychological) utility of grounding claims. Grounding enthusiasts have already formulated responses to many of the objections described in this chapter. At this point, however, it is fair to say that the state of the literature is still evolving, and no conclusive judgment can therefore be reached as of yet as to whether grounding enthusiasts or grounding skeptics have gained the upper hand in these debates. In the meantime, though, grounding skeptics continue to maintain that the classification of factual and/or nonfactual connections under the rubric of grounding does not really help us illuminate the nature of the connections at issue; instead, from the view of the grounding skeptic, we are better off studying these various connections separately and in their own right. (shrink)
Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe (...) hylomorphism is alleged by its proponents to solve various philosophical problems. However, I demonstrate, in light of a compelling account of explanation, that these problems are actually demands to explain what cannot be but inexplicable. Second, I show how my argument against hylomorphism illuminates an account of the essence of a thing, thereby providing insight into what it is to exist. This indicates what a thing, in the most general sense, must be and a correlative account of the structure in reality. Third, I argue that this account of structure is incompatible not only with hylomorphism, but also with any hierarchical view of reality. Although hylomorphism and the latter views are quite different, representing distinct philosophical traditions, I maintain they share untenable accounts of structure and fundamentality and so should be rejected on the same grounds. (shrink)
Many think that sentences about what metaphysically explains what are true iff there exist grounding relations. This suggests that sceptics about grounding should be error theorists about metaphysical explanation. We think there is a better option: a theory of metaphysical explanation which offers truth conditions for claims about what metaphysically explains what that are not couched in terms of grounding relations, but are instead couched in terms of, inter alia, psychological facts. We do not argue that our account is superior (...) to grounding-based accounts. Rather, we offer it to those already ill-disposed towards grounding. (shrink)
This correction reflects that I forgot to cite Stephan Leuenberger's unpublished work in the paragraph beginning "More promising, perhaps, is the orthodox view ..." in Section 5. The overall argument of Section 5 is a development of an argument I gave in footnote 27 of 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). At issue in the relevant sections of 'No Work...' and 'Grounding-based Formulations...' is whether a proponent of Grounding has resources to accommodate strongly emergent phenomena, where strong (...) emergence is understood as contrasting with physicalism. In 'No Work...', after arguing in the text that an account of strong emergence as involving a failure of full Grounding would not accommodate the live possibility that strongly emergent goings-on might be partially but not completely metaphysically dependent on physical goings on, I considered in note 27 whether strong emergence, again understood as contrasting with physicalism, could be characterized by appeal to a Finean notion of partial Grounding, as the view that strongly emergent goings-on are partially but not fully Grounded in physical goings-on, and I argued that assuming that the notion of partial Grounding was taken to be primitive, then (since there were no prospects of defining full Grounding in terms of primitive partial Grounding along lines of defining a general notion of parthood in terms of primitive proper parthood or identity), such an approach would require that full Grounding also be taken as primitive, with possibly yet another primitive connecting partial and full Grounding. -/- I heard Leuenberger's talk 'Emergence and Failures of Supplementation' in May 2015; for purposes of developing my previous argument (as per Section 5 in 'Grounding-based Formulations...') this talk was helpful since Leuenberger correctly argued that there were also no prospects for implementing the partial Grounding-based strategy by taking full Grounding to be primitive and defining partial Grounding in terms of full Grounding, since that would import a weak supplementation structure that might not be present in cases of strong emergence. I wrote to Leuenberger asking for his slides so that I could reference him and his work (which again is presented in the paragraph beginning "More promising, perhaps, is the orthodox view..."), but somehow forgot to include a citation to his talk, for which I sincerely apologize. -/- One last thing: the erratum is a bit misleading about my use of Leuenberger's work. My discussion of whether a primitivist (i.e., 'non-orthodox') understanding of Finean partial Ground serves as a suitable basis for a partial Grounding-based approach to strong emergence stems from footnote 27 of my 2014, not Leuenberger's 2015 talk, and in both 'No Work...' and 'Grounding-based Formulations...' I argue that such an approach would be problematic, not "suitable", since involving two or three primitives. Also worth noting is that I do not claim or argue that the orthodox conception of partial Grounding as defined in supplementary fashion in terms of full Grounding is *incompatible* with strong emergence. Again, at issue in both 'No Work...' and in 'Grounding-based Formulations...' is strong emergence understood as contrasting with physicalism, so the relevant application of a partial Grounding-based strategy, whether or not involving an 'orthodox' account of partial Grounding as definable in terms of full Grounding, is in my papers one according to which strongly emergent goings-on are partially but not fully Grounded in *physical* goings-on. So far as I can tell, there might be cases of strong emergence that *do* obey supplementation, and which would be compatible with a partial Grounding-based account of strong emergence, where the operative notion of partial Grounding is 'orthodox' (non-primitive). For my purposes, what is important is that cases of strong emergence might not obey supplementation. (shrink)
This paper defends Flatland—the view that there exist neither determination nor dependence relations, and that everything is therefore fundamental—from the objection from explanatory inefficacy. According to that objection, Flatland is unattractive because it is unable to explain either the appearance as of there being determination relations, or the appearance as of there being dependence relations. We show how the Flatlander can meet the first challenge by offering four strategies—reducing, eliminating, untangling and omnizing—which, jointly, explain the appearance as of determination relations (...) where no such relations obtain. Since, plausibly, dependence relations just are asymmetric determination relations, we argue that once we come mistakenly to believe that there exist determination relations, the existence of other asymmetries (conceptual and temporal) explains why it appears that there are dependence relations. (shrink)
The notions of ground and ontological dependence have made a prominent resurgence in much of contemporary metaphysics. However, objections have been raised. On the one hand, objections have been raised to the need for distinctively metaphysical notions of ground and ontological dependence. On the other, objections have been raised to the usefulness of adding ground and ontological dependence to the existing store of other metaphysical notions. Even the logical properties of ground and ontological dependence are under debate. In this article, (...) I focus on how to account for the judgements of non-symmetry in several of the cases that motivate the introduction of notions like ground and ontological dependence. By focusing on the notion of explanation relative to a theory, I conclude that we do not need to postulate a distinctively asymmetric metaphysical notion in order to account for these judgements. (shrink)
In recent years, metaphysics has undergone what some describe as a revolution: it has become standard to understand a vast array of questions as questions about grounding, a metaphysical notion of determination. Why should we believe in grounding, though? Supporters of the revolution often gesture at what I call the Argument from Explanatoriness: the notion of grounding is somehow indispensable to a metaphysical type of explanation. I challenge this argument and along the way develop a “reactionary” view, according to which (...) there is no interesting sense in which the notion of grounding is explanatorily indispensable. I begin with a distinction between two conceptions of grounding, a distinction which extant critiques of the revolution have usually failed to take into consideration: grounding qua that which underlies metaphysical explanation and grounding qua metaphysical explanation itself. Accordingly, I distinguish between two versions of the Argument from Explanatoriness: the Unexplained Explanations Version for the first conception of grounding, and the Expressive Power Version for the second. The paper’s conclusion is that no version of the Argument from Explanatoriness is successful. (shrink)
Monistic grounding says that there is one fundamental ground, while pluralistic grounding says that there are many such grounds. Grounding necessitarianism says that grounding entails, but is not reducible to, necessitation, while grounding contingentism says that there are at least some cases where grounding does not entail necessitation. Pluralistic grounding necessitarianism is a very popular position, but accidental generalizations, such as ‘all solid gold spheres are less than one mile in diameter’, pose well-known problems for this view: the many fundamental (...) grounds of such generalizations do not necessitate them. Though there is a straightforward response to this objection, I argue that it fails. Thus the objection from accidental generalizations stands, and proponents of pluralistic grounding necessitarianism face the following dilemma: either give up pluralistic grounding, or give up necessitarianism. (shrink)
In this paper we provide a psychological explanation for ‘grounding observations’—observations that are thought to provide evidence that there exists a relation of ground. Our explanation does not appeal to the presence of any such relation. Instead, it appeals to certain evolved cognitive mechanisms, along with the traditional modal relations of supervenience, necessitation and entailment. We then consider what, if any, metaphysical conclusions we can draw from the obtaining of such an explanation, and, in particular, if it tells us anything (...) about whether we ought to posit a relation of ground. (shrink)
Primitive, unanalysable grounding relations are considered by many to be indispensable constituents of the metaphysician’s toolkit. Yet, as a primitive ontological posit, grounding must earn its keep by explaining features of the world not explained by other tools already at our disposal. Those who defend grounding contend that grounding is required to play two interconnected roles: accounting for widespread intuitions regarding what is ontologically prior to what, and forming the backbone of a theory of metaphysical explanation, in much the same (...) way that causal relations have been thought to underpin theories of scientific explanation. This thesis undermines the need to posit grounding relations to perform either of these jobs. With regard to the first, it is argued that a pair of human psychological mechanisms—for which there is substantial empirical support—can provide a more theoretically virtuous explanation of why we have the intuitions that we do. With regard to the second, I begin by considering what we want from a theory of explanation, and go on to develop three attractive (yet grounding-free) theories of metaphysical explanation. I offer: i) a psychologistic theory that calls upon the aforementioned psychological mechanisms, as well as the modal relations of necessitation and supervenience, ii) a metaphysical variant of the deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation, and iii) a metaphysical variant of the unificationist theory of scientific explanation. Furthermore, these theories draw upon mechanisms and relations (both logical and ontological) to which we are already committed. Thus, to posit grounding relations in order to explain our priority intuitions, or in order to develop a theory of metaphysical explanation, is ontologically profligate. I conclude that we should not posit relations of ground. (shrink)
There has been much recent interest in a distinctively metaphysical kind of determinative explanation: ground. This paper concerns various skeptical challenges to ground’s relevance to metaphysics, such as that it is an empty posit, that the work it is supposed to do is appropriated by other notions, and that it is inapt for specific issues it should serve. I argue against these challenges. My strategy is both critical and constructive. Critical because I argue that versions of these challenges raised by (...) Elizabeth Barnes, Kathrin Koslicki, Mari Mikkola, and Jessica Wilson are not persuasive. Constructive because we may nevertheless learn from them new work for ground. (shrink)
This paper argues that the semantic facts about ‘because’ are best explained via a metaphorical treatment of metaphysical explanation that treats causal explanation as explanation par excellence. Along the way, it defends a commitment to a unified causal sense of ‘because’ and offers a proprietary explanation of grounding skepticism. With the causal metaphor account of metaphysical explanation on the table, an extended discussion of the relationship between conceptual structure and metaphysics ends with a suggestion that the semantic facts about ‘because’ (...) tell against grounding-causation unity. (shrink)
I argue that the present (if not insuperable) lack of fixed standards in philosophy is associated with three barriers to philosophical progress, pertaining to intra-disciplinary siloing, sociological rather than philosophical determinants of philosophical attention, and the encouraging of bias.
Part I -- Scientific Composition and the New Mechanism. - 1. Laura Franklin-Hall: New Mechanistic Explanation and the Need for Explanatory Constraints. - 2. Kenneth Aizawa: Compositional Explanation: Dimensioned Realization, New Mechanism, and Ground. - 3. Jens Harbecke: Is Mechanistic Constitution a Version of Material Constitution?. - 4. Derk Pereboom: Anti-Reductionism, Anti-Rationalism, and the Material Constitution of the Mental. Part II -- Grounding, Science, and Verticality in Nature. - 5. Jonathan Schaffer: Ground Rules: Lessons from Wilson. - 6. Jessica Wilson: (...) The Unity and Priority Arguments for Grounding. - 7. Carl Gillett: The Metaphysics of Nature, Science, and the Rules of Engagement. - 8. Andrew Melnyk: Grounding and the Formulation of Physicalism. - 9. Alyssa Ney: Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind: A Defense. (shrink)
Many have been tempted to invoke a primitive notion of grounding to describe the way in which some features of reality give rise to others. Jessica Wilson argues that such a notion is unnecessary to describe the structure of the world: that we can make do with specific dependence relations such as the part–whole relation or the determinate–determinable relation, together with a notion of absolute fundamentality. In this paper I argue that such resources are inadequate to describe the particular ways (...) in which some parts of reality give rise to others, and thus that we do in fact need grounding. (shrink)
Does the notion of ground, as it has recently been employed by metaphysicians, point to a single unified phenomenon? Jonathan Schaffer holds that the phenomenon of grounding exhibits the unity characteristic of a single genus. In defense of this hypothesis, Schaffer proposes to take seriously the analogy between causation and grounding. More specifically, Schaffer argues that both grounding and causation are best approached through a single formalism, viz., that utilized by structural equation models of causation. In this paper, I present (...) several concerns which suggest that the structural equation model does not transfer as smoothly from the case of causation to the case of grounding as Schaffer would have us believe. If it can in fact be shown that significant differences surface in how the formalism in question applies to the two types of phenomena in question, Schaffer’s attempt at establishing an analogy between grounding and causation has thereby been weakened and, as a result, the application of the Unity Hypothesis to the case of grounding once again stands in need of justification. (shrink)
Grounding is all the rage in analytical metaphysics. But here I give three reasons for not appealing to a primitive relation of grounding in formulating physicalism. (1) It probably can't do the key job it would need to do. (2) We don't need it, since we already have realization. (3) It is probably not even consistent with physicalism.
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 (...) posit 'big-G' Grounding in addition to the 'small-g' grounding relations already in the metaphysician's toolkit? The best reasons for doing so stem from the Unity argument, according to which the further posit of Grounding is motivated as an apt unifier of the specific relations, and the Priority argument, according to which Grounding is needed in order to fix the direction of priority of the specific relations. I previously considered versions of these arguments, and argued that they did not succeed; in two papers, however, Jonathan Schaffer aims to develop a better version of the Unity argument, and offers certain objections to my reasons for rejecting the Priority argument. Here I consider these new arguments for Grounding. (shrink)
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 (...) with explanatory gaps; fourth, that in order to appropriately distinguish physicalism from strong emergentism, a Grounding-based formulation must introduce one and likely two primitives in addition to Grounding; and fifth, that understanding physical dependence in terms of Grounding gives rise to ‘spandrel’ questions, including, e.g., “What Grounds Grounding?”, which arise only due to the overly abstract nature of Grounding. (shrink)
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 (...) putative examples of grounding connections: systematic connections between entire realms of facts (mental/physical; moral/natural; etc.); truthmaking (e.g., the relation between the truth of the proposition that snow is white and snow’s being white); logical cases (e.g., the connection between conjunctive facts or disjunctive facts and their constituent facts); the determinate/determinable relation (e.g., the relation between something’s being maroon and its being red). I argue in this paper that classifying all of these phenomena as exhibiting grounding connections does not achieve much in the way of illumination. In fact, by treating a collection of phenomena which is in fact heterogeneous as though it were homogeneous, we have, if anything, taken a dialectical step backward. (shrink)
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 (...) Grounded goings-on exist, whether they are reducible to or rather distinct from Grounding goings-on, whether they are efficacious, and so on; but in the absence of answers to such basic questions, we are not in position 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—for example, type or token identity, functional realization, classical mereological parthood, the set membership relation, the proper subset relation, the determinable/determinate relation, and so on—which are capable of answering these questions. But, I argue, once the specific relations are on the scene, there is no need for Grounding. (shrink)
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 (...) footing - to explain how it is to be understood, how it relates to other ideas, and how it might be of use in philosophy. (shrink)
I defend (metaphysical) ground against recent, unanswered objections aiming to dismiss it from serious philosophical inquiry. Interest in ground stems from its role in the venerable metaphysical project of identifying which facts hold in virtue of others. Recent work on ground focuses on regimenting it. But many reject ground itself, seeing regimentation as yet another misguided attempt to regiment a bad idea (like phlogiston or astrology). I defend ground directly against objections that it is confused, incoherent, or fruitless. This vindicates (...) the very attempt to regiment ground. It also refocuses our attention on the genuine open questions about ground and away from the distracting, unpersuasive reasons for dismissing them. (shrink)
In order to perfectly describe the world, it is not enough to speak truly. One must also use the right concepts - including the right logical concepts. One must use concepts that "carve at the joints", that give the world's "structure". There is an objectively correct way to "write the book of the world". Much of metaphysics, as traditionally conceived, is about the fundamental nature of reality; in the present terms, this is about the world's structure. Metametaphysics - inquiry into (...) the status of metaphysical questions - turns on structure. The question of whether ontological, causal, or modal questions are "substantive" is in large part a question of whether the world has ontological, causal, and modal structure - whether quantifiers, causal relations, and modal operators carve at the joints. (shrink)
There is a long history of worrying about whether or not metaphysics is a legitimate philosophical discipline. Traditionally such worries center around issues of meaning and epistemological concerns. Do the metaphysical questions have any meaning? Can metaphysical methodology lead to knowledge? But these questions are, in my opinion, not as serious as they have sometimes (historically) been taken to be. What is much more concerning is another set of worries about metaphysics, which I take to the greatest threat to metaphysics (...) as a philosophical discipline. These worries, in effect, hold that the questions that metaphysics tries to answer have long been answered in other parts of inquiry, ones that have much greater authority. And if they haven’t been answered yet then one should not look to philosophy for an answer. What metaphysics tries to do has been or will be done by the sciences. There is nothing left to do for philosophy, or so the worry. Let me illustrate this with two examples, one of which is our main concern here. (shrink)
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 (...) what grounds the facts of a given domain, when fundamentality is in question, and what grounds our engagement with the putative facts, when factuality is in question. (shrink)