Stuttgart, Deutschland: Metzler Verlag/ Springer (2019)

Julio De Rizzo
University of Vienna
Many philosophers have shown sympathy to the thought that reality is fundamentally positive. Julio De Rizzo formulates this idea precisely by means of the notion of grounding, and examines how the resulting thesis fares with respect to three much discussed classes of negative truths, namely that of negative predications, that of negative causal reports, and that of negative existential truths. By shedding light on the issues advocates of the thesis have to deal with, this work shows the positivist account to be a tenable position in metaphysics.
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ISBN(s) 978-3-476-05149-3   3476051498   978-3-476-05150-9   9783476051493
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Chapters BETA
Grounding non-existence

Negative existential truths are a famous source of numerous puzzlements. They also pose a genuine challenge to the positivist thesis. In this final chapter, I will address some answers on the positivist’s behalf to the question: What are the positive grounds of negative existential truths?

The things we don’t do

In interacting with the world, we not only cause by doing certain things, but also by not doing some of them. Thus the student’s not doing his homework caused his teacher to yell at him; Beth’s not kissing Al that evening caused Al’s surprise; the gardener’s not watering the plants caused the plants... see more

On what is not

In this chapter, we turn to the first class of negative truths the positivist has to struggle with, namely that of negative predicational propositions . Propositions of this class are expressed, for example, by the following sentences: “Socrates is not dumb.”; “Mary does not love John.”; “This pen i... see more

A definition of positivity and negativity

In the last chapter we got a first glance at the positivist thesis. In its formulation, an operator was employed, symbolized by “+” in the upper right of the sentence it applies to. This operator might be read as “it is positively the case that”.

The positivist thesis

In this chapter, I will formulate the positivist thesis in precise terms.


The piece of paper in front of me has several characteristics. It is white, has a certain texture and smell, is currently dry, burns if exposed to fire, is something one would typically write on, is flexible, and so on. In addition, it is not green, not yellow, not wet, not hard, does not smell like... see more

References found in this work BETA

Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
Essence and Modality.Kit Fine - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8 (Logic and Language):1-16.
Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
On the Plurality of Grounds.Shamik Dasgupta - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

In Defence of Explanatory Realism.Stefan Roski - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14121-14141.

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