Varieties of ontological dependence

In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 186 (2012)
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Abstract

A significant reorientation is currently under way in analytic metaphysics, away from an almost exclusive focus on questions of existence and towards a greater concentration on questions concerning the dependence of one type of phenomenon on another. Surprisingly, despite the central role dependence has played in philosophy since its inception, interest in a systematic study of this concept has only recently surged among contemporary metaphysicians. In this paper, I focus on a promising account of ontological dependence in terms of a non-modal and sufficiently constrained conception of essence developed by Kit Fine. I argue that even this essentialist account is, as it stands, not fine-grained enough to recognize different varieties of dependence which ought to be distinguished even within the realm of ontology. In some cases, an entity may be ontologically dependent on its essential constituents out of which it is constructed; but in other cases, an entity may be ontologically dependent on another for a different reason. A framework which glosses over these differences does not offer a proper diagnosis of why one entity ontologically depends on another.

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Kathrin Koslicki
Université de Neuchâtel

Citations of this work

Ontological Dependence.Tuomas E. Tahko & E. J. Lowe - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
Ground.Michael J. Raven - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (5):322-333.

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