There is currently an explosion of interest in grounding. In this article we provide an overview of the debate so far. We begin by introducing the concept of grounding, before discussing several kinds of scepticism about the topic. We then identify a range of central questions in the theory of grounding and discuss competing answers to them that have emerged in the debate. We close by raising some questions that have been relatively neglected but which warrant further attention.
_Paradoxes from A to Z, Third edition_ is the essential guide to paradoxes, and takes the reader on a lively tour of puzzles that have taxed thinkers from Zeno to Galileo, and Lewis Carroll to Bertrand Russell. Michael Clark uncovers an array of conundrums, such as Achilles and the Tortoise, Theseus’ Ship, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, taking in subjects as diverse as knowledge, science, art and politics. Clark discusses each paradox in non-technical terms, considering its significance and looking at likely (...) solutions. This third edition is revised throughout, and adds nine new paradoxes that have important bearings in areas such as law, logic, ethics and probability. Paradoxes from A to Z, Third edition is an ideal starting point for those interested not just in philosophical puzzles and conundrums, but anyone seeking to hone their thinking skills. (shrink)
I argue that plausible claims in the logic of partial grounding, when combined with a plausible analysis of that concept, entail the falsity of plausible grounding claims. As our account of the concept of partial grounding and its logic should be consistent with plausible grounding claims, this is problematic. The argument hinges on the idea that some facts about what grounds what are grounded in others, which is an idea the paper aims to motivate.
Previous claims to have resolved the two-envelope paradox have been premature. The paradoxical argument has been exposed as manifestly fallacious if there is an upper limit to the amount of money that may be put in an envelope; but the paradoxical cases which can be described if this limitation is removed do not involve mathematical error, nor can they be explained away in terms of the strangeness of infinity. Only by taking account of the partial sums of the infinite series (...) of expected gains can the paradox be resolved. (shrink)
If there are facts about what grounds what, are there any grounding relations between them? This paper suggests so, arguing that transitivity and amalgamation principles in the logic of grounding yield facts of grounding that are grounded by others. I develop and defend this view and note that combining it with extant accounts of iterated grounding commits us to seemingly problematic instances of ground-theoretic overdetermination. Taking the superinternality thesis as a case study, I discuss how defenders of this thesis should (...) respond. It emerges that our discussion puts pressure on superinternalists to make an interesting qualification to their view: to only regard as a fundamental metaphysical law a version of the superinternality thesis that is restricted to minimal and immediate grounding. (shrink)
Recently, Kroedel and Schulz have argued that the exclusion problem—which states that certain forms of non-reductive physicalism about the mental are committed to systematic and objectionable causal overdetermination—can be solved by appealing to grounding. Specifically, they defend a principle that links the causal relations of grounded mental events to those of grounding physical events, arguing that this renders mental–physical causal overdetermination unproblematic. Here, we contest Kroedel and Schulz’s result. We argue that their causal-grounding principle is undermotivated, if not outright false. (...) In particular, we contend that the principle has plausible counterexamples, resulting from the fact that some mental states are not fully grounded by goings on ‘in our heads’ but also require external factors to be included in their full grounds. We draw the sceptical conclusion that it remains unclear whether non-reductive physicalists can plausibly respond to the exclusion argument by appealing to considerations of grounding. (shrink)
Nicholas Rescher claims that rational decision theory “may leave us in the lurch”, because there are two apparently acceptable ways of applying “the standard machinery of expected-value analysis” to his Dr. Psycho paradox which recommend contradictory actions. He detects a similar contradiction in Newcomb’s problem. We consider his claims from the point of view of both Bayesian decision theory and causal decision theory. In Dr. Psycho and in Newcomb’s Problem, Rescher has used premisses about probabilities which he assumes to be (...) independent. From the former point of view, we show that the probability premisses are not independent but inconsistent, and their inconsistency is provable within probability theory alone. From the latter point of view, we show that their consistency can be saved, but then the contradictory recommendations evaporate. Consequently, whether one subscribes to evidential or causal decision theory, rational decision theory is not in any way vitiated by Rescher’s arguments. (shrink)
I discuss a modification of Lewisian modal realism called 'inclusionism'. Inclusionism is the thesis that some worlds contain other worlds as proper parts. Inclusionism has some attractive consequences for theories of modality. Josh Parsons, however, has raised a problem for inclusionism: the problem of unmarried husbands. In this paper I reply to this problem. My strategy is twofold: first I claim, pace Parsons, that it is not clear why the inclusionist cannot avail herself of an obvious solution to the problem; (...) and second, I argue that even if there is no available solution, the same problem also afflicts Lewis' original theory. Therefore, even if the problem remains unsolved, we have not been given any reason to think that an inclusionist version of Lewisian realism is worse than the original. (shrink)
Chapter 1 presents BS, a basic syllogistic system based on Aristotle's logic, in natural deduction form. Chapters 2 and 3 treat the metatheory of BS: consitency, soundness, independence, and completeness. Chapter 4 and 5 deal with syllogistic and, in turn, propositional and predicate logic, chapter 6 is on existential import, chapter 7 on subject and predicate and chapter 8 on classes. Chapter 9 adds negative variables to BS, and proves its soundness and completeness.
The question “What is humour?” has exercised in varying degrees such philosophers as Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer and Bergson and has traditionally been regarded as a philosophical question. And surely it must still be regarded as a philosophical question at least in so far as it is treated as a conceptual one. Traditionally the question has been regarded as a search for the essence of humour, whereas nowadays it has become almost a reflex response among some philosophers to dismiss (...) the search for essences as misconceived. Humour, it will be said, is a family-resemblance concept: no one could hope to compile any short list of essential properties abstracted from all the many varieties of humour— human misfortune and clumsiness, obscenity, grotesqueness, veiled insult, nonsense, wordplay and puns, human misdemeanours and so on, as manifested in forms as varied as parody, satire, drama, clowning, music, farce and cartoons. Yet even if the search for the essence of humour seems at first sight unlikely to succeed, I do not see how we can be sure in advance of any conceptual investigation; and in any case we might do well to start with the old established theories purporting to give the essence of humour, for even if they are wrong they may be illuminatingly wrong and may help us to compile a list of typical characteristics. (shrink)