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  1. Metaphysical Explanation: The Kitcher Picture.Sam Baron & James Norton - 2019 - Erkenntnis 86 (1):187-207.
    This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Sect. 2, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: irreflexivity, non-monotonicity, asymmetry and relevance. Since the unificationist theory of metaphysical explanation inherits irreflexivity and non-monotonicity (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism: Keeping It Simple.Simon D. Thunder - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):278-287.
    (Mereological) nihilism states that there are no composite objects—there are only sub-atomic particles such as quarks. Nihilism’s biggest rival, (mereological) universalism, posits vast numbers of composite objects in addition to the sub-atomic particles, and so nihilism appears to be the more ontologically parsimonious of the two theories. If this is the case, it’s a significant result for the nihilist: ontological parsimony is almost always thought to be a theoretical virtue, so a nihilist victory in the parsimony stakes gives us a (...)
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  • A New Puppet Puzzle.Andrew M. Bailey & Joshua Rasmussen - 2020 - Philosophical Explorations 23 (3):202-213.
    We develop a new puzzle concerning a material being's relationship to the smallest parts of the material world. In particular, we investigate how a being could be responsible for anything if its be...
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  • Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
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  • Problemas de Metafísica Analítica / Problems in Analytical Metaphysics.Guido Imaguire & Rodrigo Reis Lastra Cid (eds.) - 2020 - Pelotas: Editora da UFPel / UFPel Publisher.
    O desenvolvimento da filosofia acadêmica no Brasil é direcionada, entre vários fatores, pelas investigações dos diversos Grupos de Trabalho (GTs) da Associação Nacional de Pós-Graduação em Filosofia (ANPOF). Esses GTs se dividem de acordo com a temática investigada. O GT de Metafísica Analítica é relativamente novo e ainda tem poucos membros, mas os temas nele trabalhados são variados e todos centrais no debate metafísico contemporâneo internacional. A sua investigação se caracteriza pelo rigor lógico e conceitual com o qual aborda esses (...)
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  • Taking Causing Out of Bennett's Making Things Up.Jonathan Schaffer - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (7):722-744.
    ABSTRACT In Making Things Up, Bennett defends the intriguing idea that causation should be included among the building relations. I critique Bennett’s arguments for inclusion, and claim that inclusion distorts her own treatments of causation, relative fundamentality, and absolute fundamentality. Instead, I argue for treating causation and grounding as separate species of generative, explanatory difference-making.
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  • Grounding Pluralism: Why and How.Kevin Richardson - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1399-1415.
    Grounding pluralism is the view that there are multiple kinds of grounding. In this essay, I motivate and defend an explanation-theoretic view of grounding pluralism. Specifically, I argue that there are two kinds of grounding: why-grounding—which tells us why things are the case—and how-grounding—which tells us how things are the case.
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  • Metaphysical and Conceptual Grounding.Robert Smithson - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1501-1525.
    In this paper, I clarify the relation between two types of grounding: metaphysical and conceptual. Metaphysical grounding relates entities at more and less fundamental ontological levels. Conceptual grounding relates semantically primitive sentences and semantically derivative sentences. It is important to distinguish these relations given that both types of grounding can underwrite non-causal “in-virtue-of” claims. In this paper, I argue that conceptual and metaphysical grounding are exclusive: if a given in-virtue-of claim involves conceptual grounding, then it does not involve metaphysical grounding. (...)
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  • The Problem of Secondary Effects.Jeff Engelhardt - 2016 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (2):247-266.
    This paper argues that two principles held by many metaphysicians and philosophers of mind are inconsistent: there is no systematic overdetermination, and some causal effects are also determined by their metaphysical grounds. Call this “The Problem of Secondary Effects.” After introducing the problem and noting philosophical theories that face it, the paper offers further clarification by considering three potential strategies for solving it. All fail. An approach that sacrifices ‘secondary effects’ is briefly sketched as a solution.
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  • The Methodological Implications of Reference Magnetism on Moral Twin Earth.David Mokriski - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (5):702-726.
    The Moral Twin Earth challenge to ethical naturalism threatens to undermine an otherwise promising metaethical view by showing that typical, naturalist-friendly theories of reference determination predict diverging reference in Twin Earth scenarios, making it difficult to account for substantive moral disagreement. Several theorists have recently invoked David Lewis’s doctrine of reference magnetism as a solution, claiming that a highly elite moral property—a moral “joint in nature”—could secure shared reference between ourselves and our twins on Twin Earth, despite our diverging usages (...)
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  • Skepticism About Ought Simpliciter.Derek Clayton Baker - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 13.
    There are many different oughts. There is a moral ought, a prudential ought, an epistemic ought, the legal ought, the ought of etiquette, and so on. These oughts can prescribe incompatible actions. What I morally ought to do may be different from what I self-interestedly ought to do. Philosophers have claimed that these conflicts are resolved by an authoritative ought, or by facts about what one ought to do simpliciter or all-things-considered. However, the only coherent notion of an ought simpliciter (...)
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  • Explanatory Asymmetries, Ground, and Ontological Dependence.Lina Jansson - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):17-44.
    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, (...)
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  • Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
    I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...)
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  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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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. Basinstoke: 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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  • Indefinite Extensibility and the Principle of Sufficient Reason.Geoffrey Hall - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):471-492.
    The principle of sufficient reason threatens modal collapse. Some have suggested that by appealing to the indefinite extensibility of contingent truth, the threat is neutralized. This paper argues that this is not so. If the indefinite extensibility of contingent truth is developed in an analogous fashion to the most promising models of the indefinite extensibility of the concept set, plausible principles permit the derivation of modal collapse.
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  • Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. Oxford University Press. pp. 237-253.
    In this chapter, a generic definition of fundamentality as an ontological minimality thesis is sought and its applicability examined. Most discussions of fundamentality are focused on a mereological understanding of the hierarchical structure of reality, which may be combined with an atomistic, object-oriented metaphysics. But recent work in structuralism, for instance, calls for an alternative understanding and it is not immediately clear that the conception of fundamentality at work in structuralism is commensurable with the mereological conception. However, it is proposed (...)
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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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  • What Social Construction Isn’t.Emilie Pagano - forthcoming - Philosophia:1-20.
    Just as contemporary metaphysics, in general, is marked by an interest in ground, contemporary social metaphysics, in particular, is marked by an interest in social construction. It’s no surprise, then, that some contemporary metaphysicians have come to understand social construction in terms of ground. In this paper, I argue that this is a mistake. In particular, I argue that any otherwise plausible account of construction as ground is objectionably revisionary. First, I discuss an argument for the view that construction is (...)
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  • Constitutive Essence and Partial Grounding.Eileen S. Nutting, Ben Caplan & Chris Tillman - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):137-161.
    Kit Fine and Gideon Rosen propose to define constitutive essence in terms of ground-theoretic notions and some form of consequential essence. But we think that the Fine–Rosen proposal is a mistake. On the Fine–Rosen proposal, constitutive essence ends up including properties that, on the central notion of essence, are necessary but not essential. This is because consequential essence is closed under logical consequence, and the ability of logical consequence to add properties to an object’s consequential essence outstrips the ability of (...)
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  • Experiential Holism in Time.Philippe Chuard - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Wildman’s Defense of Sparse Modalism and a Dilemma of Post-Finean Modalism.Jaeho Lee - 2020 - Axiomathes 30 (5):531-547.
    Since K. Fine’s influential criticism of modalism, many philosophers have agreed that we cannot understand the concept of essence with that of modality. However, some philosophers have resisted this mainstream position. In this paper, I examine N. Wildman’s claim that, unlike other versions of modalism, his version of modalism, namely Sparse Modalism can save modalism. I will argue first that if we introduce the notion of grounding into this debates, Wildman’s criticisms of other versions are significantly undermined. Next, I will (...)
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  • Indeterminacy: Deep but Not Rock Bottom.Cristian Mariani - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Barnes (2014) has argued in this journal for the following conditional: If there is any metaphysical indeterminacy, this must be at the most fundamental level of reality. To argue for this claim, Barnes relies on two principles that I shall call bivalent completeness and determinate link. According to the former, a complete description is a bivalent assignment of truth values to every sentence. The determinate link, instead, establishes that the determination relation between levels of reality preserves determinacy from one level (...)
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  • Grounded Shadows, Groundless Ghosts.Ezra Rubenstein - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axaa008.
    According to a radical account of quantum metaphysics that I label ‘high-dimensionalism’, ordinary objects are the ‘shadows’ of high-dimensional fundamental ontology. Critics—especially Maudlin —allege that high-dimensionalism cannot provide a satisfactory explanation of the manifest image. In this paper, I examine the two main ideas behind these criticisms: that high-dimensionalist connections between fundamental and non-fundamental are 1) inscrutable, and 2) arbitrary. In response to the first, I argue that there is no metaphysically significant contrast regarding the scrutability of low- and high-dimensionalist (...)
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  • Counterpossible Dependence and the Efficacy of the Divine Will.Kenneth L. Pearce - 2017 - Faith and Philosophy 34 (1):3-16.
    The will of an omnipotent being would be perfectly efficacious. Alexander Pruss and I have provided an analysis of perfect efficacy that relies on non-trivial counterpossible conditionals. Scott Hill has objected that not all of the required counterpossibles are true of God. Sarah Adams has objected that perfect efficacy of will (on any analysis) would be an extrinsic property and so is not suitable as a divine attribute. I argue that both of these objections can be answered if the divine (...)
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):497-522.
    Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...)
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  • Fundamental Yet Grounded.Joaquim Giannotti - forthcoming - Theoria.
    Grounding is claimed to offer a promising characterization of the fundamental as thatwhich is ungrounded. Detractors of this view argue that there can be fundamental and yet mutuallygrounded entities. Such a possibility undermines the denition of the fundamental as theungrounded. I aim to show, however, that the possibility of fundamental mutually grounded entitiesdoes not force us to renounce the prospects of characterizing fundamentality in terms of ground-ing. To accomplish this aim, I defend a grounding-based view that accommodates fundamentalmutually grounded entities (...)
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  • Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind: A Defense.Alyssa Ney - 2016 - In Ken Aizawa Carl Gillett (ed.), Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
  • Grounding at a distance.Sam Baron, Kristie Miller & Jonathan Tallant - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3373-3390.
    What distinguishes causation from grounding? One suggestion is that causation, but not grounding, occurs over time. Recently, however, counterexamples to this simple temporal criterion have been offered. In this paper, we situate the temporal criterion within a broader framework that focuses on two aspects: locational overlapping in space and time and the presence of intermediaries in space and time. We consider, and reject, the idea that the difference between grounding and causation is that grounding can occur without intermediaries. We go (...)
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  • What is Priority Monism?David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    In a series papers, Jonathan Schaffer defended priority monism, the thesis that the cosmos is the only fundamental material object, on which all other objects depend. A primitive notion of dependence plays a crucial role in Schaffer’s argu- ments for priority monism. The goal of this paper is to scrutinize this notion and also to shed new light on what is at stake in the debate. I present three familiar arguments for priority monism and point out that each relies on (...)
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  • Explanation.Martin Glazier - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. London: pp. 121-132.
    I survey the philosophical literature on grounding explanation and its connection to metaphysical ground.
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  • Emergent Properties.Hong Yu Wong - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Emergence is a notorious philosophical term of art. A variety of theorists have appropriated it for their purposes ever since George Henry Lewes gave it a philosophical sense in his 1875 Problems of Life and Mind. We might roughly characterize the shared meaning thus: emergent entities (properties or substances) ‘arise’ out of more fundamental entities and yet are ‘novel’ or ‘irreducible’ with respect to them. (For example, it is sometimes said that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.) Each (...)
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  • Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding.Paul Audi - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):567-590.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Platonic Relations and Mathematical Explanations.Robert Knowles - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Some scientific explanations appear to turn on pure mathematical claims. The enhanced indispensability argument appeals to these ‘mathematical explanations’ in support of mathematical platonism. I argue that the success of this argument rests on the claim that mathematical explanations locate pure mathematical facts on which their physical explananda depend, and that any account of mathematical explanation that supports this claim fails to provide an adequate understanding of mathematical explanation.
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  • The Levels of the Empirical Sciences.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    It is the aim of this paper to develop and defend an interpretation of level of scientific discipline within the truth-maker framework. In particular, I exploit the mereological relation of proper parthood, which is integral to truth-maker semantics, in order to provide an account of scientific level.
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  • Grounding-based formulations of legal positivism.Samuele Chilovi - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3283-3302.
    The goal of this paper is to provide an accurate grounding-based formulation of positivism in the philosophy of law. I start off by discussing some simple formulations, based on the ideas that social facts are always either full or partial grounds of legal facts. I then raise a number of objections against these definitions: the full grounding proposal rules out possibilities that are compatible with positivism; the partial grounding proposal fails, on its own, to vindicate the distinctive role that is (...)
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  • Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Ontological dependence is a relation—or, more accurately, a family of relations—between entities or beings. For there are various ways in which one being may be said to depend upon one or more other beings, in a sense of “depend” that is distinctly metaphysical in character and that may be contrasted, thus, with various causal senses of this word. More specifically, a being may be said to depend, in such a sense, upon one or more other beings for its existence or (...)
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  • A puzzle about rates of change.David Builes & Trevor Teitel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):3155-3169.
    Most of our best scientific descriptions of the world employ rates of change of some continuous quantity with respect to some other continuous quantity. For instance, in classical physics we arrive at a particle’s velocity by taking the time-derivative of its position, and we arrive at a particle’s acceleration by taking the time-derivative of its velocity. Because rates of change are defined in terms of other continuous quantities, most think that facts about some rate of change obtain in virtue of (...)
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  • Consequentialism and the Causal Efficacy of the Moral.Andrea Viggiano - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2927-2944.
    Assume consequentialism and assume moral properties are causally efficacious. Then, I’ll argue, a puzzle arises. These assumptions lead to denying each of two plausible metaphysical principles: that a cause cannot cause anything occurring before its ground and that a cause cannot cause anything belonging to its ground. We therefore have to reject either consequentialism or the causal efficacy of moral properties or the plausible metaphysical principles. And, I’ll show, the puzzle arises again even if we replace moral properties with the (...)
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  • A Process Ontology.Haines Brown - 2014 - Axiomathes 24 (3):291-312.
    The paper assumes that to be of practical interest process must be understood as physical action that takes place in the world rather than being an idea in the mind. It argues that if an ontology of process is to accommodate actuality, it must be represented in terms of relative probabilities. Folk physics cannot accommodate this, and so the paper appeals to scientific culture because it is an emergent knowledge of the world derived from action in it. Process is represented (...)
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  • The Growing Block and What Was Once Present.Peter Tan - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-22.
    According to the growing block ontology of time, there exist past and present objects and events, but no future objects or events. The growing block is made attractive not just because of the attractiveness of its ontological basis for past-tensed truths, the past’s fixity, and future’s openness, but by underlying principles about the right way to fill in this sort of ontology. I shall argue that given these underlying views about the connection between truth and ontology, growing blockers incur an (...)
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  • Is Backing Grounding?Ylwa Sjölin Wirling - 2020 - Ratio 33 (3):129-137.
    Separatists are grounding theorists who hold that grounding relations and metaphysical explanations are distinct, yet intimately connected in the sense that grounding relations back metaphysical explanations, just as causal relations back causal explanations. But Separatists have not elaborated on the nature of the ‘backing’ relation. In this paper, I argue that backing is a form of (partial) grounding. In particular, backing has many of the properties commonly attributed to grounding, and taking backing to be partial grounding allows Separatists to make (...)
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • Replies to Hawley, Mikkola, and Hindriks.Brian Epstein - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):230-246.
  • Social Construction and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):393-409.
    The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...)
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  • Grounding and Anchoring: On the Structure of Epstein’s Social Ontology.Mari Mikkola - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):198-216.
    ABSTRACTBrian Epstein’s The Ant Trap is a praiseworthy addition to literature on social ontology and the philosophy of social sciences. Its central aim is to challenge received views about the social world – views with which social scientists and philosophers have aimed to answer questions about the nature of social science and about those things that social sciences aim to model and explain, like social facts, objects and phenomena. The received views that Epstein critiques deal with these issues in an (...)
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  • Comments on Brian Epstein’s The Ant Trap.Katherine Hawley - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (2):217-229.
    ABSTRACTThe Ant Trap is a terrific book, which opens up new opportunities to use philosophical methods in the social realm, by drawing on the tools and techniques of contemporary metaphysics. Epstein uses concepts of dependence, constitution, and grounding, of parts and whole, of membership and kindhood, both to clarify existing accounts of social reality and to develop an account of his own. Whilst I admire the general strategy, I take issue with some aspects of Epstein’s implementation, notably his distinction between (...)
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  • Ideal Laws, Counterfactual Preservation, and the Analyses of Lawhood.Peter Tan - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):574-589.
    This paper presents a unified argument against three widely held contemporary analyses of lawhood—Humean reductionism about laws, the dispositionalist view of laws, and the view of laws as relation...
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  • Primitive Directionality and Diachronic Grounding.Naoyuki Kajimoto, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2019 - Acta Analytica 35 (2):195-211.
    Eternalists believe that there is no ontological difference between the past, present and future. Thus, a challenge arises: in virtue of what does time have a direction? Some eternalists, Oaklander and Tegtmeier ) argue that the direction of time is primitive. A natural response to positing primitive directionality is the suspicion that said posit is too mysterious to do any explanatory work. The aim of this paper is to relieve primitive directionality of some of its mystery by offering a novel (...)
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  • Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):341-364.
    The Question of Iterated Grounding (QIG) asks what grounds the grounding facts. Although the question received a lot of attention in the past few years, it is usually discussed independently of another important issue: the connection between metaphysical explanation and the relation or relations that supposedly “back” it. I will show that once we get clear on the distinction between metaphysical explanation and the relation(s) backing it, we can distinguish no fewer than four questions lumped under QIG. I will also (...)
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