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.
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.
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)
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)
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)