Philosophical Studies 174 (12):2927-2952 (2017)
AbstractIn 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.
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads
Similar books and articles
Grounding: Necessary or Contingent?Kelly Trogdon - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (4):465-485.
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.
Truthmaking and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (2):196-215.
Nominalistic Content, Grounding, and Covering Generalizations: Reply to ‘Grounding and the Indispensability Argument’.Matteo Plebani - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2):549-558.
Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
An Introduction to Grounding.Kelly Trogdon - 2013 - In Miguel Hoeltje, Benjamin Schnieder & Alex Steinberg (eds.), Varieties of Dependence. Munich, Germany: Philosophia Verlag. pp. 97-122.
Simplicity and Economy in Bolzano's Theory of Grounding.Stefan Roski & Antje Rumberg - 2016 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 54 (3):469-496.
A Puzzle About Partial Grounding.Michael J. Clark - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (3):189-197.
Truth‐Grounding and Transitivity.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):332-340.
References found in this work
Making Things Happen: A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2003 - Oxford University Press.
Scientific Explanation and the Causal Structure of the World.Wesley C. Salmon - 1984 - Princeton University Press.
Mind in a Physical World: An Essay on the Mind–Body Problem and Mental Causation.Jaegwon Kim - 1998 - MIT Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Meaning and Necessity: A Study in Semantics and Modal Logic.Rudolf Carnap - 1947 - Chicago, IL, USA: University of Chicago Press.
Citations of this work
Grounding and Metaphysical Explanation: It’s Complicated.Anna-Sofia Maurin - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1573-1594.
Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.