Grounding-based formulations of physicalism

Topoi 37 (3):495-512 (2016)
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Abstract

I problematize Grounding-based formulations of physicalism. More specifically, I argue, first, that motivations for adopting a Grounding-based formulation of physicalism are unsound; second, that a Grounding-based formulation lacks illuminating content, and that attempts to imbue Grounding with content by taking it to be a strict partial order are unuseful and problematic ; third, that conceptions of Grounding as constitutively connected to metaphysical explanation conflate metaphysics and epistemology, are ultimately either circular or self-undermining, and controversially assume that physical dependence is incompatible with explanatory gaps; fourth, that in order to appropriately distinguish physicalism from strong emergentism, a Grounding-based formulation must introduce one and likely two primitives in addition to Grounding; and fifth, that understanding physical dependence in terms of Grounding gives rise to ‘spandrel’ questions, including, e.g., “What Grounds Grounding?”, which arise only due to the overly abstract nature of Grounding.

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Author's Profile

Jessica M. Wilson
University of Toronto at Scarborough

Citations of this work

Metaphysical Grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The fundamental: Ungrounded or all-grounding?Stephan Leuenberger - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2647-2669.
Constitutive Explanation.Shamik Dasgupta - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):74-97.
Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):341-364.
Full and Partial Grounding.Kelly Trogdon & D. Gene Witmer - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (2):252-271.

View all 20 citations / Add more citations

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No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.

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