About this topic
Summary Consider the following three claims made by Plato, Russell, and Kripke, respectively: an act is lovable by the gods in virtue of its being pious, complexes exist because simples exist, and the fact that our use of the term ‘Aristotle’ is causally connected in the right kind of way to how it was originally used explains why ‘Aristotle’ refers to Aristotle when we use the term. Some suggest that these and related claims should be read as grounding claims – claims about what grounds what. Key issues with respect to grounding include whether grounding is unitary, whether we can analyze the concept of grounding, the logical form of grounding statements, how grounding is related to explanation as well as necessity, and what philosophical work grounding can be put to.  
Key works Recent interest in grounding is due in large part to the following four papers: Fine 2001, Fine 2012, Rosen 2010, and Schaffer 2009
Introductions For introductions to and surveys of recent work on grounding, see Bliss & Trogdon 2014, Clark & Liggins 2012, Correia & Schnieder 2012Raven 2015, and Trogdon 2013.  
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  1. Run Aground: Kit Fine’s Critique of Truthmaker Theory.Jamin Asay - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):443-463.
    Kit Fine, the leading proponent of the metaphysical project of grounding theory, has offered a number of potentially devastating objections to truthmaker theory, the branch of metaphysics dedicated to exploring the ontological grounds for truths. In this paper I show what presuppositions about truthmaker theory Fine’s objections are based upon, and why they are false. I discuss four objections that Fine raises, and demonstrate how truthmaker theorists may respond to them. I then showcase the positive contribution that truthmaker theory can (...)
  2. On Ground as a Guide to Realism.Emad H. Atiq - 2018 - Ratio 31 (2):165-178.
    According to Fine (among others), a nonbasic factual proposition must be grounded in facts involving those of its constituents that are both real and fundamental. But the principle is vulnerable to several dialectically significant counterexamples. It entails, for example, that a logical Platonist cannot accept that true disjunctions are grounded in the truth of their disjuncts; that a Platonist about mathematical objects cannot accept that sets are grounded in their members; and that a color primitivist cannot accept that an object’s (...)
  3. 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.
  4. Grounding: Toward a Theory of the In-Virtue-Of Relation.Paul Audi - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (12):685-711.
  5. The Grounding Argument Against Non-Reductive Moral Realism.Ralf M. Bader - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 30 (1).
  6. The Incompatibility of Composition as Identity, Priority Pluralism, and Irreflexive Grounding.Andrew M. Bailey - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):171-174.
    Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is inconsistent with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
  7. Symposium: Metaphysical Explanation.Kenneth Barber - 1975 - Metaphilosophy 6 (3-4):259-260.
  8. The Priority of the Now.Sam Baron - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly:0-0.
    This paper motivates and develops a new theory of time: priority presentism. Priority presentism is the view according to which (i) only present entities exist fundamentally and (ii) past and future entities exist, but they are grounded in the present. The articulation of priority presentism is an exercise in applied grounding: it draws on concepts from the recent literature on ontological dependence and applies those concepts in a new way, to the philosophy of time. The result, as I will argue, (...)
  9. Grounds and Consequences.Roderick Batchelor - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):65-77.
    We first introduce the intuitive idea of a relation of grounding between facts . Then we propose a definition of this idea, based on a certain theory of the structure of facts . Finally we consider the idea of proofs of a special kind, namely proofs which follow the grounds of what is proved.
  10. Uma Proposta Tomista Para o Debate Actual Entre Monismos E Pluralismos Na Metafísica da Fundação.Ricardo Barroso Batista & Álvaro Balsas - 2016 - Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 72 (2-3):725-770.
    Before the limits of the standard Quinean meta-ontology that persists in contemporary analytical metaphysics, an alternative has recently emerged, proposing metaphysical grounding. Under the inspiration of neo-Aristotelians, it seeks to overcome the Quinean constraints by reflecting on the relation of ontological dependence. However, the theorists of metaphysical grounding are currently at a stalemate among themselves: a current debate between grounding monists and grounding pluralists divides and dominates the community. The authors of this essay present the circumstances that has led to (...)
  11. Evidentialism, Circularity, and Grounding.Bob Beddor - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1847-1868.
    This paper explores what happens if we construe evidentialism as a thesis about the metaphysical grounds of justification. According to grounding evidentialism, facts about what a subject is justified in believing are grounded in facts about that subject’s evidence. At first blush, grounding evidentialism appears to enjoy advantages over a more traditional construal of evidentialism as a piece of conceptual analysis. However, appearances are deceiving. I argue that grounding evidentialists are unable to provide a satisfactory story about what grounds the (...)
  12. 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?
  13. Construction Area (No Hard Hat Required).Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):79-104.
    A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
  14. Priority Monism and Essentiality of Fundamentality: A Reply to Steinberg.Matteo Benocci - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1983-1990.
    Steinberg has recently proposed an argument against Schaffer’s priority monism. The argument assumes the principle of Necessity of Monism, which states that if priority monism is true, then it is necessarily true. In this paper, I argue that Steinberg’s objection can be eluded by giving up Necessity of Monism for an alternative principle, that I call Essentiality of Fundamentality, and that such a principle is to be preferred to Necessity of Monism on other grounds as well.
  15. Aesthetic Supervenience Vs. Aesthetic Grounding.Jiri Benovsky - 2012 - Estetika 49 (2):166–178.
    The claim that the having of aesthetic properties supervenes on the having of non-aesthetic properties has been widely discussed and, in various ways, defended. In this paper, I will show that even if it is sometimes true that a supervenience relation holds between aesthetic properties and the 'subvenient' non-aesthetic ones, it is not the interesting relation in the neighbourhood. As we shall see, a richer, asymmetric and irreflexive relation is required, and I shall defend the claim that the more-and-more-popular relation (...)
  16. The Explanatory Ambitions of Moral Principles.Selim Berker - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Moral properties are explained by other properties. And moral principles tell us about moral properties. How are these two ideas related? In particular, is the truth of a given moral principle part of what explains why a given action has a given moral property? I argue “No.” If moral principles are merely concerned with the extension of moral properties across all possible worlds, then they cannot be partial explainers of facts about the instantiation of those properties, since in general necessitation (...)
  17. The Unity of Grounding.Selim Berker - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):729-777.
    I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
  18. Does Evolutionary Psychology Show That Normativity Is Mind-Dependent?Selim Berker - 2014 - In Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson (eds.), Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 215-252.
    Suppose we grant that evolutionary forces have had a profound effect on the contours of our normative judgments and intuitions. Can we conclude anything from this about the correct metaethical theory? I argue that, for the most part, we cannot. Focusing my attention on Sharon Street’s justly famous argument that the evolutionary origins of our normative judgments and intuitions cause insuperable epistemological difficulties for a metaethical view she calls "normative realism," I argue that there are two largely independent lines of (...)
  19. Grounding Is Not Causation.Sara Bernstein - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):21-38.
    Proponents of grounding often describe the notion as "metaphysical causation" involving determination and production relations similar to causation. This paper argues that the similarities between grounding and causation are merely superficial. I show that there are several sorts of causation that have no analogue in grounding; that the type of "bringing into existence" that both involve is extremely different; and that the synchronicity of ground and the diachronicity of causation make them too different to be explanatorily intertwined.
  20. Metaphysical Explanation by Constraint.Michael Bertrand - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-16.
    It is often thought that metaphysical grounding underwrites a distinctive sort of metaphysical explanation. However, it would be a mistake to think that all metaphysical explanations are underwritten by metaphysical grounding. In service of this claim, I offer a novel kind of metaphysical explanation called metaphysical explanation by constraint, examples of which have been neglected in the literature. I argue that metaphysical explanations by constraint are not well understood as grounding explanations.
  21. Review of Kenneth Aizawa and Carl Gillett’s Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Grounding. [REVIEW]Michael Bertrand - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Review of Books:N/A.
  22. Fundamental Ontological Structure: An Argument Against Pluralism.Michael Bertrand - 2016 - Philosophical Studies (5):1-21.
    In recent years, a hierarchical view of reality has become extremely influential. In order to understand the world as a whole, on this view, we need to understand the nature of the fundamental constituents of the world. We also need to understand the relations that build the world up from these fundamental constituents. Building pluralism is the view that there are at least two equally fundamental relations that together build the world. It has been widely, though tacitly, assumed in a (...)
  23. What Work the Fundamental?Ricki Bliss - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-21.
    Although it is very often taken for granted that there is something fundamental, the literature appears to have developed with little to no careful consideration of what exactly it is that the fundamentalia are supposed to do. If we are to have a good reason to believe that there is something fundamental, we need not only to know what exactly it is that the fundamentalia are invoked for, but why it is that nothing else is available for the task to (...)
  24. Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality.Ricki Bliss - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (3):410-415.
  25. Viciousness and Circles of Ground.Ricki Bliss - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):245-256.
    Metaphysicians of a certain stripe are almost unanimously of the view that grounding is necessarily irreflexive, asymmetric, transitive, and well-founded. They deny the possibility of circles of ground and, therewith, the possibility of species of metaphysical coherentism. But what's so bad about circles of ground? One problem for coherentism might be that it ushers in anti-foundationalism: grounding loops give rise to infinite regresses. And this is bad because infinite grounding regresses are vicious. This article argues that circles of ground do (...)
  26. Viciousness and the Structure of Reality.Ricki Bliss - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):399-418.
    Given the centrality of arguments from vicious infinite regress to our philosophical reasoning, it is little wonder that they should also appear on the catalogue of arguments offered in defense of theses that pertain to the fundamental structure of reality. In particular, the metaphysical foundationalist will argue that, on pain of vicious infinite regress, there must be something fundamental. But why think that infinite regresses of grounds are vicious? I explore existing proposed accounts of viciousness cast in terms of contradictions, (...)
  27. Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality.Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.) - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Fifteen leading philosophers explore metaphysical foundationalism, the idea that reality has an over-arching hierarchical structure ordered by relations of metaphysical dependence, where chains of entities ordered by those dependence relations terminate in something fundamental.
  28. Metaphysical Grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  29. The Canberra Plan Neglects Ground.Ned Block - 2015 - In Terence Horgan, Marcelo Sabates & David Sosa (eds.), Qualia and Mental Causation in a Physical World: Themes from the Philosophy of Jaegwon Kim,. Cambridge University Press. pp. 105-133.
    This paper argues that the “Canberra Plan” picture of physicalistic reduction of mind--a picture shared by both its proponents and opponents, philosophers as diverse as David Armstrong, David Chalmers Frank Jackson, Jaegwon Kim, Joe Levine and David Lewis--neglects ground (Fine, 2001, 2012). To the extent that the point of view endorsed by the Canberra Plan has an account of the physical/functional ground of mind at all, it is in one version trivial and in another version implausible. In its most general (...)
  30. Indefinitely Descending Ground.Einar Duenger Bohn - forthcoming - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press.
    In this paper I argue against grounding being necessarily well-founded, and provide some reasons to think it's actually not well-founded.
  31. Panpsychism, The Combination Problem, and Plural Collective Properties.Einar Duenger Bohn - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    I develop and defend a version of panpsychism that avoids the combination problem by appealing to plural collective properties.
  32. Divine Foundationalism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12524.
    Divine Foundationalism is the thesis that God is the source of all things (apart from God hirself). I clarify and defend the thesis, before I consider the main arguments for and against it.
  33. Normativity All the Way Down: From Normative Realism to Pannormism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4107-4124.
    In this paper, I provide an argument for pannormism, the view according to which there are normative properties all the way down. In particular, I argue for what I call the trickling down principle, which says that if there is a metaphysically basic normative property, then, if whatever instantiates it has a ground, that ground instantiates it as well.
  34. The Relation Between General and Particular: Entailment Vs. Supervenience.Phillip Bricker - 2006 - In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Papers in Metaphysics, vol. 3. Oxford University Press. pp. 251-287.
    Some argue, following Bertrand Russell, that because general truths are not entailed by particular truths, general facts must be posited to exist in addition to particular facts. I argue on the contrary that because general truths (globally) supervene on particular truths, general facts are not needed in addition to particular facts; indeed, if one accepts the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existents, one can further conclude that there are no general facts. When entailment and supervenience do not coincide (...)
  35. Naturalizing Grounding: How Theories of Ground Can Engage Science.Amanda Bryant - 2018 - Philosophy Compass:e12489.
    This paper surveys some of the grounding literature searching for points of contact between theories of ground and science. I find that there are some places where a would-be naturalistic grounding theorist can draw inspiration. I synthesize a list of recommendations for how science may be put to use in theories of ground. I conclude that the prospects for naturalizing the metaphysics of ground are bright.
  36. Monism and Gunk.Jacek Brzozowski - 2016 - In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-74.
  37. Is Ground Said-in-Many-Ways?Margaret Anne Cameron - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2):29.
    Proponents of ground, which is used to indicate relations of ontological fundamentality, insist that ground is a unified phenomenon, but this thesis has recently been criticized. I will first review the proponents' claims for ground's unicity, as well as the criticisms that ground is too heterogeneous to do the philosophical work it is supposed to do. By drawing on Aristotle's notion of homonymy, I explore whether ground's metaphysical heterogeneity can be theoretically accommodated while at the same time preserving its proponents' (...)
  38. Do We Need Grounding?Ross P. Cameron - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (4):382-397.
    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 (...)
  39. From Humean Truthmaker Theory to Priority Monism.Ross P. Cameron - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):178 - 198.
    I argue that the truthmaker theorist should be a priority monist if she wants to avoid commitment to mysterious necessary connections. In section 1 I briefly discuss the ontological options available to the truthmaker theorist. In section 2 I develop the argument against truthmaker theory from the Humean denial of necessary connections. In section 3 I offer an account of when necessary connections are objectionable. In section 4 I use this criterion to narrow down the options from section 1. In (...)
  40. Turtles All the Way Down: Regress, Priority and Fundamentality.Ross P. Cameron - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):1-14.
    I address an intuition commonly endorsed by metaphysicians, that there must be a fundamental layer of reality, i.e., that chains of ontological dependence must terminate: there cannot be turtles all the way down. I discuss applications of this intuition with reference to Bradley’s regress, composition, realism about the mental and the cosmological argument. I discuss some arguments for the intui- tion, but argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude by making some suggestions for how the intuition should be argued for, (...)
  41. Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground.Carl Gillett Ken Aizawa (ed.) - forthcoming - Palgrave.
  42. Deep Platonism.Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):307-328.
    According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...)
  43. Grounding is Not Superinternal.Pablo Carnino - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (4).
    Whenever a fact P grounds another fact Q, one may ask why that is so. Karen Bennett and Louis deRosset independently argue that grounding facts—such as the fact that P grounds Q—are always grounded in their grounds-part. Bennett calls this the view that grounding is superinternal. My aim in this paper is to argue that grounding is not superinternal. I will do so by showing that superinternality, together with some widely accepted formal features of grounding—namely, transitivity and necessitation—yield implausible claims (...)
  44. On the Reduction of Grounding to Essence.Pablo Carnino - 2014 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2):56-71.
    In a recent article, Fabrice Correia explores the project of reducing the notion of grounding to that of essence. He then goes on to provide several candidate definitions and test each of them against a number of objections. His final take on the situation is, roughly, that two of the definitions can handle all of the considered objections. The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate Correia's conclusions in the light of two sources of insights: Firstly, I will argue that (...)
  45. Grounding Entails Supervenience.Samuele Chilovi - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Do grounding claims entail corresponding supervenience claims? The question matters, as a positive answer would help grounding theorists address worries that their hyperintensional primitive is obscure, and also increase the argumentative strategies that are available within ground-theoretic frameworks for metaphysical inquiry. Leuenberger (Erkenntnis 79:227–240, 2014a) argues for a negative response, by specifying some candidate principles of entailment and then claiming that each of them is subject to counterexamples. In this paper, I critically assess those principles and the objections he raises (...)
  46. Ontologically Dependent Entities.Roderick M. Chisholm - 1994 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (3):499-507.
  47. A Puzzle About Partial Grounding.Michael J. Clark - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (3):189-197.
    I argue that plausible claims in the logic of partial grounding, when combined with a plausible analysis of that concept, entail the falsity of plausible grounding claims. As our account of the concept of partial grounding and its logic should be consistent with plausible grounding claims, this is problematic. The argument hinges on the idea that some facts about what grounds what are grounded in others, which is an idea the paper aims to motivate.
  48. Recent Work on Grounding.Michael J. Clark & David Liggins - 2012 - Analysis Reviews 72 (4):812-823.
    There is currently an explosion of interest in grounding. In this article we provide an overview of the debate so far. We begin by introducing the concept of grounding, before discussing several kinds of scepticism about the topic. We then identify a range of central questions in the theory of grounding and discuss competing answers to them that have emerged in the debate. We close by raising some questions that have been relatively neglected but which warrant further attention.
  49. Grounding, Mental Causation, and Overdetermination.Michael J. Clark & Nathan Wildman - 2018 - Synthese 195 (8):3723-3733.
    Recently, Kroedel and Schulz have argued that the exclusion problem—which states that certain forms of non-reductive physicalism about the mental are committed to systematic and objectionable causal overdetermination—can be solved by appealing to grounding. Specifically, they defend a principle that links the causal relations of grounded mental events to those of grounding physical events, arguing that this renders mental–physical causal overdetermination unproblematic. Here, we contest Kroedel and Schulz’s result. We argue that their causal-grounding principle is undermotivated, if not outright false. (...)
  50. Not All Partial Grounds Partly Ground: Some Useful Distinctions in the Theory of Grounding.Shlomit Wygoda Cohen - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
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