Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality

Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 110746028X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Some of the most eminent and enduring philosophical questions concern matters of priority: what is prior to what? What 'grounds' what? Is, for instance, matter prior to mind? Recently, a vivid debate has arisen about how such questions have to be understood. Can the relevant notion or notions of priority be spelled out? And how do they relate to other metaphysical notions, such as modality, truth-making or essence? This volume of new essays, by leading figures in contemporary metaphysics, is the first to address and investigate the metaphysical idea that certain facts are grounded in other facts. An introduction introduces and surveys the debate, examining its history as well as its central systematic aspects. The volume will be of wide interest to students and scholars of metaphysics.

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temporal parts) and the four-dimensionalist insisting that they have such parts. But even the three-dimensionalist might be willing to admit that material things have temporal parts. For given any persisting object, he might suppose that “in thought,” so to speak, we could mark out its temporal segments or parts. But his difference from the four-dimensionalist will then be over a question of ground. For he will take the existence of a temporal part at a given time to be grounded in the existence

has two theses: that any ground-theoretic connection can be generalized; and that any general groundtheoretic connection will flow from the nature of the items involved in the given fact and its grounds. Thus my view traces the source of the ground-theoretic connection to the nature of the items involved in the given fact while his also appeals to the nature of the items involved in its grounds. I should add that there are problems with his formulation of Formality (p. 131). Merely saying that a

Dog and being a dog? Our own formulation avoids these problems. E. J. Lowe considers and points out some difficulties in providing an essentialist account of truthmaking in Chapter 11 of Lowe and Rami 2008. Guide to ground 79 under logical consequence and for which it will not be true in virtue of the nature of A that A if A ∧ A.28 There is no doubt that appeal to a constitutive conception of essence will enable us to approximate more closely to the notion of ground. But how are we to

relations of supervenience (which itself has species), ontological dependence, and grounding. Furthermore, grounding cannot be understood in other terms although it is ubiquitous and invaluable in understanding many philosophical issues (see Audi this volume, manuscript c, Rosen 2010, and Schaffer 2009b). Two points of clarification: First, Schaffer, Rosen, and Audi do not speak with one voice. They disagree, for example, about what the relata of the grounding relation are. For the purposes of

the notion of having a greater degree of reality. Daly worries that this is a strange notion. Ordinarily, we do not recognize degrees of reality; things are real or they are not. But, as Daly notes, this could be construed as a technical notion of metaphysical priority. (Compare Hofweber on this point.) But while that may protect the notion from doubts we have about degrees of reality in the ordinary sense of reality, it prevents this definition from serving as a means of connecting grounding

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