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Annotated bibliography on metaphysical grounding. First part: A-C


  1. "Grounding Relation(s)." 2013. Essays in Philosophy no. 14.

    Edited by Paul Hovda & Troy Cross.

    Contents: Paul Hovda, Troy Cross: Grounding Relation(s): Introduction 1; Louis deRosset: What is Weak Ground? 7; Jon Erling Litland: On Some Counterexamples to the Transitivity of Grounding 19; Avram Hiller: Grounding Relation(s) 33-55.

  2. "Aristotelian Metaphysics: Essence and Ground." 2014. Studia Philosophica Estonica no. 7.2.

    Edited by Riin Sirkel and Tuomas E. Tahko.

  3. "Special Issue on Ground, Essence, and Modality." 2021. Synthese no. 198.

    Supplement issue 6; Edited by Donnchadh Ó Conaill & Tuomas E. Tahko.

    Contents: Donnchadh Ó Conaill & Tuomas Tahko: New frontiers in ground, essence, and modality: introduction 1219; Henrik Rydéhn: Grounding and ontological dependence 1231; Michael Wallner: The ground of ground, essence, and explanation: 1257; Fabrice Correia: The logic of relative fundamentality 1279; Michele Lubrano: The emergence of ground: some limitative results 1303; Samuele Chilovi: Grounding entails supervenience 1317; Benjamin Schnieder: On ground and consequence 1335; Barbara Vetter: A plenitude of powers 1365; Antonella Mallozzi: Two notions of metaphysical modality 1387; Martin Glazier: The difference between epistemic and metaphysical necessity 1409; Penelope Mackie: Persistence and modality 1425; Mark Jago: Essential bundle theory and modality 1439; Nathan Wildman: Against the reduction of modality to essence 1455-471.

  4. Aizawa, Ken. 2016. "Compositional Explanation: Dimensioned Realization, New Mechanism, and Ground." In Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground , edited by Aizawa, Ken and Gillett, Carl, 75-90. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.

    "The primary concern of this chapter is to bring Dimensioned realization to the attention of both New Mechanists and “Grounders.” For both New Mechanists and Grounders, recognizing compositional explanations involving Dimensioned realization is an important step in the development of more descriptively adequate accounts of non-causal, compositional explanations. More specifically, Dimensioned realization shows how New Mechanists might embrace compositional explanatory relations among properties. Moreover, Dimensioned realization suggests that, at least at times, one needs to move beyond bare grounding claims—claims such as “X Grounds Y”—in order to develop a (good) explanation. 3 In principle, the recognition of Dimensioned realization and its implications might be viewed as friendly additions to work on New Mechanism and Ground." (p. 79)

  5. Aizawa, Kenneth, and Gillett, Carl, eds. 2016. Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground . London: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Contents: Steven French: Series Editor’s Preface V-VI; 1. Kenneth Aizawa, Carl Gillett: Introduction: Vertical Relations in Science, Philosophy, and the World: Understanding the New Debates over Verticality 1;

    Part I Scientific Composition and the New Mechanism 39

    2. L. R. Franklin-Hall: New Mechanistic Explanation and the Need for Explanatory Constraints 41; 3. Kenneth Aizawa: Compositional Explanation: Dimensioned Realization, New Mechanism, and Ground 75; 4. Jens Harbecke: Is Mechanistic Constitution a Version of Material Constitution? 91; 5. Derk Pereboom: 5 Anti-Reductionism, Anti-Rationalism, and the Material Constitution of the Mental 123;

    Part II Grounding, Science, and Verticality in Nature 141

    6. Jonathan Schaffer: Ground Rules: Lessons from Wilson 143; 7. Jessica Wilson: The Unity and Priority Arguments for Grounding 171; 8. Carl Gillett: The Metaphysics of Nature, Science, and the Rules of Engagement 205; 9. Andrew Melnyk: Grounding and the Formulation of Physicalism 249; 10. Alyssa Ney: Grounding in the Philosophy of Mind: A Defense 271;

    Index 301-310.

    "Aizawa and Gillett’s exciting new collection focused on those metaphysical tools designed to capture ‘vertical’ relations between entities and systems of different kinds. One such device is ‘grounding’ which has become a ubiquitous umbrella term, covering relations between a variety of entities from the scientific to the social." (From the Series Editor's Preface, p. V)

  6. Aizawa, Ken, and Gillett, Carl. 2016. "Introduction: Vertical Relations in Science, Philosophy, and the World: Understanding the New Debates over Verticality." In Scientific Composition and Metaphysical Ground , edited by Carl Gillett, Ken Aizawa, 1-38. London: Palgrave-Macmillan.

    "Given our limited space, we cannot provide a detailed characterization of even one of the philosophical research traditions about verticality. Each of these traditions has a rich history, is sophisticated in its treatment of verticality, has numerous proponents off ering distinct variants, and includes a range of competing versions of the relevant type of V-framework. Our focus is therefore simply to provide a minimal characterization of each research tradition for our purposes here, which are twofold. We simply seek, first, to give the reader an initial sense of the research tradition and, second, we seek to highlight one or two distinctive features of verticality as it is characterized under the particular kind of account offered by the research tradition." (p. 9)

  7. Alvarado, José Tomas, and Tugby, Matthew. 2021. "A Problem for Natural-Kind Essentialism and Formal Causes." In Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation , edited by Jansen, Ludger and Sandstad, Petter, 201-221. New York: Routledge.

    "In the first section we will present some of the main characteristics of the relations of grounding and dependence, and what constraints must be respected when they interact. In the second section, we will introduce the main problem as it occurs in natural-kind essentialism. The third and fourth sections will discuss some alternatives that may be attempted by defenders of natural-kind ontologies to assuage the problem presented, in particular, a theory of 'substantial forms' and a structuralist stance towards the connection between kinds and essential properties. What appears through this examination is a significant concern for all those enthusiastic about the prospects of 'formal causes' in metaphysics. The function attributed to these causes should be treated carefully to avoid incoherent structures of ontological explanation." (pp. 201-202)

  8. Amijee, Fatema. 2021. "Explaining Contingent Facts." Philosophical Studies no. 178:1163-1181.

    Abstract: "I argue against a principle that is widely taken to govern metaphysical explanation. This is the principle that no necessary facts can, on their own, explain a contingent fact. I then show how this result makes available a response to a longstanding objection to the Principle of Sufficient Reason—the objection that the Principle of Sufficient Reason entails that the world could not have been otherwise (i.e. that all facts are necessary)."

  9. Assadian, Bahram, and Nassim, Jonathan. 2019. "Indeterminacy and Failure of Grounding." Theoria no. 85:276-288.

    Abstract: "Cases of grounding failure present a puzzle for fundamental metaphysics. Typically, solutions are thought to lie either in adding ontology such as haecceities or in re-describing the cases by means of the ideology of metaphysical indeterminacy. The controversial status of haecceities has led some to favour metaphysical indeterminacy as the way to solve the puzzle. We consider two further treatments of grounding failure each of which, we argue, is a more plausible alternative. As such, the initial dichotomy is a false one, and these alternative options deserve consideration before resorting to the heavyweight machinery of metaphysical indeterminacy."

  10. Atiq, Emad H. 2018. "On Ground as a Guide to Realism." Ratio no. 31:165-178.

    Abstract: "According to Fine (among others), a nonbasic factual proposition must be grounded in facts involving those of its constituents that are both real and fundamental. But the principle is vulnerable to several dialectically significant counterexamples. It entails, for example, that a logical Platonist cannot accept that true disjunctions are grounded in the truth of their disjuncts; that a Platonist about mathematical objects cannot accept that sets are grounded in their members; and that a colour primitivist cannot accept that an object’s being scarlet grounds its not being chartreuse. The Finean might try to defend these implications, but it generates further problems. Instead, the principle should be rejected. An important upshot is that the principle cannot be relied on to distinguish robust realism from anti-realism about a propositional domain, for the principle obscures ways of taking features to be both real and fundamental."

  11. Audi, Paul. 2012. "Grounding: Toward a Theory of the In-Virtue-of Relation." The Journal of Philosophy no. 109:685-711.

    "The phrase 'in virtue of' is ubiquitous in philosophy. Nearly as pervasive are the protestations that it is poorly understood and in need of clarification. Far less common are sustained attempts to elucidate this phrase and its philosophical significance.

    I propose that it expresses a primitive, noncausal relation of determination, which I call grounding . Although my understanding of grounding fits well with many of the most interesting and important uses of the phrase 'in virtue of' (and related locutions), my account is not purely descriptive; my claim is that we should regiment our use of the phrase to achieve the best theoretical result." (pp. 685-686, notes omitted)

  12. ———. 2012. "A Clarification and Defense of the Notion of Grounding." In Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality edited by Correia, Fabrice and Schnieder, Benjamin, 101-121. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "This paper defends a particular version of the idea that there is a non-causal relation of determination, grounding , often expressed by the phrase “in virtue of .” This relation corresponds to certain non-causal explanations, including those philosophers give, e.g., in saying that a statue has its aesthetic properties in virtue of its physical properties, or that a thing has its dispositional features in virtue of its categorical features, or that a person has a reason to believe that p in virtue of her perceptual experiences. Indeed, it is the fact that there are such explanations, together with the fact that their correctness cannot be underwritten by any causal relation, that makes it incumbent on us to recognize grounding." (p. 101)

  13. ———. 2016. "Property Identity." Philosophy Compass no. 11:829-840.

    Abstract: "The question of how properties are individuated is extremely important. Consider the following proposals. To be in pain is to be in a certain neurological state. To be red is to appear red to normal observers in standard conditions. To be obligatory is to maximize the good. Each makes a claim of property identity. Each is a substantive metaphysical thesis of wide interest. None can be studied with due scrutiny in the absence of a general account of property identity. Here, I will survey existing accounts and suggest a new account in terms of grounding that has some advantages over the other candidates."

  14. ———. 2020. "Why Truthmaking Is Not a Case of Grounding." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 101:567-590.

    Abstract: "Truthmaker theorists often express their core commitment by saying that truth is grounded in being, and grounding theorists often take truthmaking to be a paradigm case of grounding. But I will argue that truthmaking is not a case of grounding. What is crucial for understanding truthmaking is not grounding but rather meaning (in a broad sense including reference). Truth is still constrained by how things are, so even if (socalled) truthmakers don’t play a role in grounding truths, the methodological program of truthmaker theory survives. Here I lay out my understanding of truth and truthmaking, and distinguish two conceptions of grounding. I argue that truthmaking is not plausibly seen as a case of grounding on either conception. I argue further that treating truthmaking as grounding threatens to violate a plausible irreflexivity principle, and makes trouble for the view that grounding is transitive. I then suggest that there is no genuine relation of truthmaking (which there would have to be if it were a true case of grounding). Finally, I show how the core insights of truthmaker theory are preserved by the understanding of truthmaking that I favor."

  15. Austin, Christopher J. 2021. "Form, Cause, and Explanation in Biology: A Neo-Aristotelian Perspective." In Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Formal Causation , edited by Jansen, Ludger and Sandstad, Petter, 238-268. New York: Routledge.

    "Conclusion: In this chapter I have illustrated the ways in which the mechanization of the natural world in the aftermath of the Scientific Revolution was crystallised in the biological sciences with the formation of the Modern Synthesis-a conceptual framework for evolutionary theory in which the teleological prowess of formal causation is rendered both explanatorily impotent and ontologically otiose. I have argued, however, that the radical reframing of that theory implicit in the explanatory structure of evolutionary developmental biology suggests that the Aristotelian posit of a non-mechanistic ground of the modality of morphology need not be treated with suspicion. Form may yet prove a metaphysically and empirically powerful apparatus with which to comprehend the nature of organisms in the context of our post-Darwinian picture of the living world." (p. 258)

  16. Azzano, Lorenzo, and Carrara, Massimiliano. 2021. "The Grounding of Identities." Philosophia no. 49:1943-1962.

    Abstract: "A popular stance amongst philosophers is one according to which, in Lewis’ words, “identity is utterly simple and unproblematic”.[*] Building from Lewis’ famous passage on the matter, we reconstruct, and then criticize, an argument to the conclusion that identities cannot be grounded. With the help of relatively uncontroversial assumption concerning identity facts, we show that not all identities are equi-fundamental, and, on the contrary, some appear to be provided potential grounding bases using two-level identity criteria. Further potential grounding bases for identities are presented. Identity might be utterly simple and unproblematic, but this is not sufficient to conclude that identities are ungrounded, or fundamental."

    [*] David Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds , Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 1986, pp. 192-193.

  17. Bader, Ralf. 2013. "Towards a Hyperintensional Theory of Intrinsicality." The Journal of Philosophy no. 110:525-563.

    Abstract: "The distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties is an elusive distinction that has resisted precise formulation.

    Some of the most promising accounts of this distinction take the form of combinatorial or duplication analyses. The former try to capture the patterns of independence amongst intrinsic and extrinsic properties in terms of logical, modal, mereological and spatiotemporal notions. The latter attempt to identify intrinsic properties as properties that never differ amongst duplicates. This paper argues in favour of a hyperintensional analysis of intrinsicality that appeals to ‘in virtue of’ claims. It will be shown that accounts of intrinsicality that appeal to combinatorial and duplication principles do not yield satisfactory results, even when they are supplemented with a notion of ‘naturalness’. We need to appeal to ‘in virtue of’ claims rather than to ‘naturalness’ in order (i) to allow for cases whereby a property is possessed both intrinsically and extrinsically, (ii) to adequately classify modal properties when these are given a counterparttheoretic analysis, and (iii) to retain the idea that the set of intrinsic properties and the set of pure extrinsic properties are closed under Boolean operations. Moreover, the paper will argue in favour of treating the intrinsically/extrinsically distinction as more basic than the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction and explaining the latter in terms of the former."

  18. ———. 2013. "Multiple-Domain Supervenience for Non-Classical Mereologies." In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 347-367. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    "Conclusion: Thus, we have seen that we can use co-ordinated multiple-domain supervenience relations to model determination and dependence relations between complex entities and their constituents. In particular, we developed two ways of making such supervenience claims, namely (i) by appealing to R -related pairs, and (ii) by making use of associated isomorphisms. Moreover, it was shown that suitable supervenience relations can be devised not only for classical mereological systems but also for non-classical ones, by modifying the domains and imposing various conditions on mappings that allow us to capture the additional structure of non-classical parthood relations. Additionally, we provided principles for cases in which wholes are taken to be prior to their parts that are applicable in settings in which one is dealing with dense parthood orderings and atomless gunk." (p. 366-367)

  19. ———. 2017. "The Grounding Argument against Non-Reductive Moral Realism." Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Vol. 12 :106-134.

    Abstract: "Strong supervenience of normative properties on non-normative properties implies that for every normative property there is a necessarily co-extensive non-normative property, given that the set of non-normative properties is closed under infinitary disjunction and conjunction (cf. Kim 1993: chapter 3, Jackson 1998, Streumer 2008). This puts pressure on non-reductionist versions of moral realism, insofar as normative properties would seem to end up being identical to non-normative properties, thereby ruling out the existence of irreducibly normative properties." (Notes omitted)


    Jackson, F. (1998) From Metaphysics to Ethics (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

    Kim, J. (1993) Supervenience and Mind (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

    Streumer, B. (2008) ‘Are there irreducibly normative properties?’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86(4): 537–61.

  20. Bailey, Andrew M. 2011. "The Incompatibility of Composition as Identity, Priority Pluralism, and Irreflexive Grounding." Analytic Philosophy no. 52:171-174.

    "Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is incompatible with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go." (p. 171)


    "... composition as identity promises answers to the General and Special Composition Questions.(13) These are intriguing promissory notes; but if composition as identity is false, we cannot cash them. Those interested in these mereological questions had best look elsewhere for help." (p. 174)

    (13) 13. But see Cameron (forthcoming) and McDaniel (forthcoming) for cautionary notes about the

    latter claim.


    R. Cameron, “Composition As Identity Doesn’t Settle the Special Composition Question,” Philosophy

    and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming). [73, 97-100, 2010]

    K. McDaniel, “Composition As Identity Does Not Imply Universalism,” Erkenntnis (forthcoming). [84, 531-554. 2012]

  21. Barker, Jonathan. 2021. "Grounding and the Myth of Ontological Innocence." Australasian Journal of Philosophy no. 99:303-318.

    Abstract: "According to the Ontological Innocence Thesis (OIT), grounded entities are ontologically innocent relative to their full grounds. I argue that OIT entails a contradiction, and therefore must be discarded. My argument turns on the notion of ‘groundmates’, two or more numerically distinct entities that share at least one of their full grounds. I argue that, if OIT is true, then it is both the case that there are groundmates and that there are no groundmates. Therefore, I conclude, OIT is false. Moreover, in seeing why OIT is false, we will be left with three heterodox options about grounding and reality’s structure. So this paper’s second conclusion is that, even after we have discarded OIT, we are in for an additional surprise."

  22. Barker, Stephen. 2012. "Expressivism about Making and Truth-Making." In Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality edited by Correia, Fabrice and Schnieder, Benjamin, 272-293. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "The facts of truth are not primitive facts. Unless we accept the identity theory of truth – and equate truth and fact – the fact that a proposition is true must obtain in virtue of something: how things are with its subject matter.(1) We might express this thought as the idea that truth supervenes on, is asymmetrically determined by, being (see Bigelow 1988). But that would be misleading, since it suggests that truth is not part of being. The facts of truth, that certain propositions are true or false, are part of how things are, and so, are aspects of being. We should say rather that the facts of truth, the alethic facts, are made the case by non-alethic facts. (Still, as we shall see, that claim will need qualification.) Viewed in this way, the problem of truth-making reduces to the problem of making. What’s making ?" (p. 272)

    (1) Rodríguez-Pereyra 2005 presents this kind of argument for truth-making.


    Beebee, H. and Dodd, J. (eds.) 2005. Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Oxford: Clarendon Press

    Bigelow, J. 1988. The Reality of Numbers . Oxford University Press

    Rodríguez-Pereyra, G. 2005. ‘Why Truthmakers’, in Beebee and Dodd 2005, 17–31

  23. Baron, Sam. 2015. "The Priority of the Now." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly no. 96:325-348.

    Abstract: "This article motivates and develops a new theory of time: priority presentism. Priority presentism is the view according to which (i) only present entities exist fundamentally and (ii) past and future entities exist, but they are grounded in the present. The articulation of priority presentism is an exercise in applied grounding: it draws on concepts from the recent literature on ontological dependence and applies those concepts in a new way, to the philosophy of time. The result, as I will argue, is an attractive position that can do much of the same work in satisfying our intuitions about time as presentism, but without the ontological cost."

  24. Baron, Sam, Miller, Kristie, and Norton, James. 2014. "Groundless Truth." Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy no. 57:175-195.

    Abstract: "We defend two claims: (1) if one is attracted to a strong non-maximalist view about truthmaking, then it is natural to construe this as the view that there exist fundamental truths; (2) despite considerable aversion to fundamental truths, there is as yet no viable independent argument against them. That is, there is no argument against the existence of fundamental truths that is independent of any more specific arguments against the ontology accepted by the strong non-maximalist. Thus there is no argument that the strong non-maximalist herself will find dialectically motivating."

  25. Baron, Sam, Miller, Kristie, and Tallant, Jonathan. 2020. "Grounding at a Distance." Philosophical Studies no. 177:3373-3390.

    Abstract: "What distinguishes causation from grounding? One suggestion is that causation, but not grounding, occurs over time. Recently, however, counterexamples to this simple temporal criterion have been offered. In this paper, we situate the temporal criterion within a broader framework that focuses on two aspects: locational overlapping in space and time and the presence of intermediaries in space and time. We consider, and reject, the idea that the difference between grounding and causation is that grounding can occur without intermediaries. We go on to use the fact that grounding and causation both involve intermediaries to develop a better temporal criterion for distinguishing causation from grounding. The criterion is this: when a cause and effect are spatially disjoint, there is always a chain of causal intermediaries between the cause and the effect that are extended in time. By contrast, when the grounds and the grounded are spatially disjoint, there is always a chain of grounding intermediaries, but the chain need not be extended in time, it can be purely spatial. The difference between grounding and causation, then, is that causation requires time for chaining in a way that grounding does not."

  26. Baron, Samuel, Miller, Kristie, and Tallant, Jonathan. 2022. "The Harmony of Grounding." Philosophical Studies .

    Not yet published, available

    Abstract: "Mereological harmony is the idea that the mereological structure of objects mirrors the mereological structure of locations. Grounding harmony is the idea that there is a similar mirroring between the grounding structure of objects and locations. Our goal in this paper is exploratory: we introduce and then explore two notions of grounding harmony: locative and structural. We outline potential locative and structural harmony principles for grounding, and show which of these principles may entail, or be entailed by, principles of mereological harmony. We then present a case study in grounding harmony, by applying it to Schaffer’s (2010a) specific version of priority monism. We show that, given a strong form of grounding harmony, Schaffer-style monism is inconsistent, but that this inconsistency can be resolved by offering bespoke notions of grounding harmony. We use Schaffer’s priority monism to demonstrate a broader tension within certain packages of metaphysical views, including versions of priority pluralism. We close by briefly considering the case against structural grounding harmony."

  27. Baron-Schmitt, Nathaniel. 2021. "Contingent Grounding." Synthese no. 199:4561-4580.

    Abstract: "A popular principle about grounding, “Internality”, says that if A grounds B, then necessarily, if A and B obtain, then A grounds B. I argue that Internality is false. Its falsity reveals a distinctive, new kind of explanation, which I call “ennobling”. Its falsity also entails that every previously proposed theory of what grounds grounding facts is false. I construct a new theory."

  28. Batchelor, Roderick. 2010. "Grounds and Consequences." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 80:65-77.

    Summary: "We first introduce the intuitive idea of a relation of grounding between facts (§ 1).

    Then we propose a definition of this idea, based on a certain theory of the structure of facts (§ 2, with formalization in an appendix). Finally we consider the idea of proofs of a special kind, namely proofs which follow the grounds of what is proved (§ 3)."

  29. Bennett, Karen. 2004. "Spatio-Temporal Coincidence and the Grounding Problem." Philosophical Studies no. 118:339-371.

    Abstract: "A lot of people believe that distinct objects can occupy precisely the same place for the entire time during which they exist. Such people have to provide an answer to the ‘grounding problem’ – they have to explain how such things, alike in so many ways, nonetheless manage to fall under different sortals, or have different modal properties. I argue in detail that they cannot say that there is anything in virtue of which spatio-temporally coincident things have those properties. However, I also argue that this may not be as bad as it looks, and that there is a way to make sense of the claim that such properties are primitive."

  30. ———. 2011. "By Our Bootstraps." Philosophical Perspectives no. 25:27-41.

    "Conclusion: I admit that the superinternality solution is occasionally hard to articulate, but that does not make it wrong. The regresses are suprisingly hard to articulate, too, but that does not make them nonsense.

    The grounding dilemma is hard. On pain of flatworldism, we must solve it.

    To solve it, we must either claim that both the grounding facts and the grounding relation are fundamental, or else claim that they are grounded, or else wave a magic wand and find some way between the horns. I have not argued that the first and third options are hopeless. I have simply argued that the second is definitely not. Grounding is not fundamental." (p. 41)

  31. ———. 2021. "Why I Am Not a Dualist." Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind no. 1:208-231.

    "I am not a dualist. I do not think there are any nonphysical properties, substances, or facts. I think that the entire nature of the world is grounded in—determined or settled by—its fundamental physical nature.

    But why do I think this? In the bright light of day, I take physicalism to be almost obvious. But in the dark of night, I have to admit to myself that it is not entirely clear why exactly I dislike dualism. Are there good arguments against it? That is, set aside whether there are good objections to the arguments for dualism, or against physicalism. Are there good arguments against the view itself?

    In what follows, I will take up that question. After more carefully spelling out what I take dualism and physicalism to be, I will suggest that the most frequently heard arguments against dualism are more problematic than we physicalists like to admit. I will then offer a new argument against dualism.

    In broad strokes, it is this: dualists do not dodge all demands for explanation by denying that consciousness can be explained in physical terms. I will articulate what exactly it is that they must explain, and offer two independent arguments for thinking that they cannot do so. The basic upshot is that moving to dualism because of a perceived explanatory failure of physicalism simply does not help." (p. 208)

  32. Benovsky, Jiri. 2012. "Aesthetic Supervenience vs. Aesthetic Grounding." Estetika no. 49:166-178.

    Abstract: "The claim that having aesthetic properties supervenes on having non-aesthetic properties has been widely discussed and, in various ways, defended. In this article, I aim to demonstrate that even if it is sometimes true that a supervenience relation holds between aesthetic properties and ‘subvenient’ non-aesthetic ones, it is not the interesting relation in the neighbourhood. As we shall see, a richer, asymmetric, and irreflexive relation is required, and I shall defend the claim that the increasingly popular relation of grounding does amuch better job than supervenience."

  33. Berker, Selim. 2018. "The Unity of Grounding." Mind no. 127:729-777.

    Abstract: "I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics (in contrast to Ronald Dworkin’s claim that there is no normatively-pure metaethics)."

  34. Bernstein, Sara. 2016. "Grounding Is Not Causation." Philosophical Perspectives no. 30:21-38.

    "Grounding is not causation, and is not like causation, contra its contemporary characterizers. Apparent similarities between causation and grounding are mostly superficial, and utilizing causation as a way to illuminate ground glosses over their important dissimilarities while failing to untangle distinct, subtle problems that both grounding and causation face. Or so I will argue." (p. 21)


    "In the following discussion, I set these claims in my sights. I target two distinct but similar theses: what Schaffer (2016) calls “grounding-causation unity”, the thesis that grounding and causation are only nominally distinct relations, and what I will call “grounding-causation comparison”, the methodological process of illuminating ground by appealing to similar features of causation. I call proponents of either of these two theses Grinders, or those who meld together the notions of causation and grounding literally or metaphorically." (p. 22)



    Grounding skepticism has largely focused on challenging the univocality, usefulness, and explanatory power of grounding. Here I have issued a new challenge to grounding: that it cannot be illuminated by appeal to the familiar notion of causation. Perhaps groundhogs will find a new notion to which to appeal in order to illuminate ground, or perhaps grounding skeptics will be satisfied with another methodological route to securing a transparent notion of ground. But attempting to use causation as a guide to ground emphasizes similarities that turn out to be superficial, while ignoring the intricacies that genuinely characterize each notion. Groundhogs [*] should not be Grinders: they need another path forward." (p. 35)

    [*] I owe thanks to Kit Fine’s “Essential Glossary of Ground” for this term.


    Schaffer, J. (2016). “Grounding in the Image of Causation”, Philosophical Studies 173(1): 49–100.

  35. ———. 2018. "Causal Idealism." In Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics , edited by Goldschmidt, Tyron and Pearce, Kenneth L., 217-230. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "A quick disclaimer: as a causal realist, I am invested in discovering an objective, mind-independent causal relation. Thus I will not make it my goal in this discussion to defend causal idealism against general objections or broader criticism. Rather, my goal will be to give causal idealism a fair shake by articulating it clearly and fairly, and to explain why the view should be considered a viable alternative to the mixed views I have mentioned.

    Roadmap: In section 1, I articulate the thesis of causal idealism, and apply it to some contemporary problems for causal theories. In section 2, I give an overview of a family of views that incorporates human thought and agency into the causal relation. In section 3, I weigh causal idealism against the discussed mixed views, and argue that causal idealism is a viable alternative." (p. 218)

  36. Bertrand, Michael. 2020. "We Need Non‑factive Metaphysical Explanation." Erkenntnis :1-21.

    First online 7 February 2020.

    Abstract: "Suppose that A explains B. Do A and B need to be true? Provided that we have metaphysical explanation in mind, orthodoxy answers “yes:” metaphysical explanation is factive. This article introduces and defends a non-factive notion of metaphysical explanation. I argue that we need a non-factive notion of explanation in order to make sense of explanationist arguments where we motivate a view by claiming that it offers better explanations than its competitors. After presenting and rejecting some initially plausible rivals, I account for non-factive metaphysical explanation by drawing on existing applications of structural equation models to metaphysical grounding."

  37. Bianchi, Silvia, and Giannotti, Joaquim. 2021. "Grounding Ontic Structuralism." Synthese no. 199:5205-5223.

    Abstract: "A respectable assessment of priority-based ontic structuralism demands an elucidation of its metaphysical backbone. Here we focus on two theses that stand in need of clarification: (1) the Fundamentality Thesis states that structures are fundamental, and (2) the Priority Thesis states that these structures are prior to putative fundamental objects, if these exist. Candidate notions to illuminate (1) and (2) such as supervenience and ontological dependence failed at this task. Our purpose is to show that grounding is the best competitor to articulate (1) and (2), and regiment such theses in a desirable unified way. Our strategy is two-fold. First, we make the case that grounding does better than ontological dependence and supervenience. Second, we show that the distinction between partial and full grounds permits us to respond to an objection raised by Kerry McKenzie against the proposal of interpreting priority-based Ontic Structuralism in the idiom of metaphysical determination. Our conclusion is that priority ontic structuralists have compelling reasons for adopting a grounding-based approach."

  38. Bliss, Ricki. 2013. "Viciousness and the Structure of Reality." Philosophical Studies no. 166:399-418.

    Abstract: "Given the centrality of arguments from vicious infinite regress to our philosophical reasoning, it is little wonder that they should also appear on the catalogue of arguments offered in defense of theses that pertain to the fundamental structure of reality. In particular, the metaphysical foundationalist will argue that, on pain of vicious infinite regress, there must be something fundamental. But why think that infinite regresses of grounds are vicious? I explore existing proposed accounts of viciousness cast in terms of contradictions, dependence, failed reductive theories and parsimony. I argue that no one of these accounts adequately captures the conditions under which an infinite regress—any infinite regress—is vicious as opposed to benign. In their place, I suggest an account of viciousness in terms of explanatory failure. If this account is correct, infinite grounding regresses are not necessarily vicious; and we must be much more careful employing such arguments to the conclusion that there has to be something fundamental."

  39. ———. 2014. "Viciousness and Circles of Ground." Metaphilosophy no. 45:245-256.

    Abstract: "Metaphysicians of a certain stripe are almost unanimously of the view that grounding is necessarily irreflexive, asymmetric, transitive, and well-founded.

    They deny the possibility of circles of ground and, therewith, the possibility of species of metaphysical coherentism. But what’s so bad about circles of ground?

    One problem for coherentism might be that it ushers in anti-foundationalism: grounding loops give rise to infinite regresses. And this is bad because infinite grounding regresses are vicious. This article argues that circles of ground do not necessarily give rise to infinite regresses, and where they do, those regresses are not necessarily vicious."

  40. ———. 2018. "Grounding and Reflexivity." In Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality , edited by Bliss, Ricki and Priest, Graham, 70-90. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "This paper aims to focus the reasons for which we might find reflexive instances of dependence unacceptable: a task that necessitates an investigation into what it even means for a fact to ground itself. In §1, I introduce the notion of ground along with the kinds of circles of ground I will be considering. In §2, I present several different reasons to motivate the need to think about circles of ground more seriously. In §3, I discuss possible metaphysically substantive reasons to deny that anything can be self-dependent. Both historically and contemporarily, philosophers have expressed worries over the ontological priority ordering, bootstrapping, and the connection between self-dependence and the necessary and the divine. In §4, I turn to a consideration of explanatory reasons to avoid circles of ground. I discuss connections between circularity, non-well-foundedness, and viciousness, along with the thought that circles of ground are unacceptable for the more (deceptively) humdrum reason that they give rise to trivial and uninformative explanations. I conclude that the most salient reasons we have for supposing grounding is irreflexive are explanatory rather than metaphysical, and that reasons to reject or accept instances of reflexivity need to be assessed with a greater eye to other of our commitments." (p. 71)

  41. Block, Ned. 2014. "The Canberra Plan Neglects Ground." In Qualia and Mental Causation in a Physical World: Themes from the Philosophy of Jaegwon Kim , edited by Horgan, Terence, Sabates, Marcelo and Sosa, David, 105-133. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "According to the Canberra Plan, the first step in a reductive physicalist enterprise is to functionally define the property to be reduced, and the second step is to find the physical property that fills that functional role.

    Reductive physicalism is true for the mind if both steps can always be carried out for mental properties.


    This chapter will argue that the point of view of the Canberra Plan neglects ground. I will consider a few attempts to graft an account of the physical/functional ground of mind onto the Canberra Plan, arguing that such attempts lead nowhere." (p. 105)

  42. Bohn, Einar Duenger. 2018. "Indefinitely Descending Ground." In Reality and its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality , edited by Bliss, Ricki and Priest, Graham, 167-181. New York: Oxford University Press.

    "We often say that some facts obtain in virtue of others, for example that semantic facts obtain in virtue of facts about language-use, or that normative facts obtain in virtue of descriptive facts, or that mental facts obtain in virtue of physical facts. The question I'm interested in is: must such in-virtue-of chains eventually end in some facts that don't obtain in virtue of any other facts? Or can they go on indefinitely without end?(1)

    In other words (to be clarified below), must the in-virtue-of relation be well-founded?

    In what follows, I argue that it must not, and point to some reasons for it even actually not being so. More specifically, in Section l, I introduce what is perhaps the closest we get to a standard notion of the in-virtue-of relation, namely a relation of grounding; in Section 2, I argue that there is no good reason to think that this relation of grounding must be well-founded; and in Section 3, I argue more directly that it's not necessarily well-founded, and further that there are reasons to think it's actually non-well-founded." (p. 167)

    (1) Note that there can be infinite chains that are limited, but I wish to talk about infinite chains that are unlimited; I here and throughout use the term 'indefinite' for that purpose. This should not be confused with the way 'indefinite' is sometimes used in the philosophy of mathematics, where there is a constructional or potential aspect to it, nor should it be confused with the way 'indefinite' is sometimes used in debates over vagueness, where there is an aspect of, well, vagueness to it.

  43. Braver, Lee. 2012. Groundless Grounds: A Study of Wittgenstein and Heidegger . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    "As we have seen, Wittgenstein and Heidegger challenge a number of the assumptions and aspirations that have guided philosophy since its inception.

    One of these, foundationalism, is the attempt to trace all knowledge back to a source or set of claims that, as necessarily true, secure the truth of all that is derived from them. Just as a valid argument produces only true conclusions from true premises, so a properly built system insulates the circulation of truth throughout its entirety. As Descartes argues, if we don’t know that we know what we think we know, then we may not know it after all.

    The problem, which has been with us nearly as long as philosophy itself, is that a base–superstructure organization requires an ultimate level which itself has no justifying foundation underneath it. Absent the troubled notion of self-justifying beliefs, we have either a bottom level hovering over the abyss or, as they say, it’s turtles all the way down. Wittgenstein and Heidegger accept the first horn of this perennial dilemma. Stopping at an unjustified level only seems worrisome to a mindset conditioned by foundationalism to expect a transcendent ground which, more than being right, cannot be wrong, an idea which is incompatible with finite creatures like us. Freed from this incoherent demand, we can accept the grounding afforded by human nature and cultural norms as both all that is possible and all that is needed. Once we are weaned off millennia-old cravings for the transcendent, we can learn to live with the human." (pp. 173-174)

  44. Brenner, Andrew. 2020. "Explaining Why There is Something Rather than Nothing." Erkenntnis :1-17.

    First online 7 June 2020.

    Abstract: "It is sometimes supposed that, in principle, we cannot offer an explanation for why there is something rather than nothing. I argue that this supposition is a mistake, and stems from a needlessly myopic conception of the form explanations can legitimately take. After making this more general point, I proceed to offer a speculative suggestion regarding one sort of explanation which can in principle serve as an answer to the question “why is there something rather than nothing?” The suggestion is that there may be something rather than nothing in virtue of the truth of certain sorts of subjunctive conditionals."

  45. ———. 2021. "How Does God Know That 2 + 2 = 4?" Religious Studies no. 57:301-316.

    Abstract: "Sometimes theists wonder how God’s beliefs track particular portions of reality, e.g. contingent states of affairs, or facts regarding future free actions. In this article I sketch a general model for how God’s beliefs track reality. God’s beliefs track reality in much the same way that propositions track reality, namely via grounding. Just as the truth values of true propositions are generally or always grounded in their truthmakers, so too God’s true beliefs are grounded in the subject matters of those beliefs (i.e. God believes that p in virtue of the fact that p).

    This is not idle speculation, since my proposal allows the theist to account for God’s true beliefs regarding causally inert portions of reality."

  46. Brewer, Bill. 2019. "Basic Objects as Grounds: A Metaphysical Manifesto." In The Nature of Ordinary Objects , edited by Cumpa, Javier and Brewer, Bill, 48-62. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "Introduction: According to our commonsense world-view, macroscopic material objects endure, are never precisely collocated with each other, and may survive the loss of at least some of their parts. But these commitments are notoriously difficult to reconcile. My project in what follows is to elaborate an account that succeeds in reconciling them in the most basic cases, of what I call Natural Continuants, and to explore its potential as an adequate overall theory by explaining how such basic objects may serve as the grounds for various other material things." (p. 48)

  47. Bryant, Amanda. 2018. "Naturalizing Grounding: How Theories of Ground Can Engage Science." Philosophy Compass no. 13:1-12.

    Abstract: "This paper surveys some of the grounding literature searching for points of contact between theories of ground and science. I find that there are some places where a would‐be naturalistic grounding theorist can draw inspiration. I synthesize a list of recommendations for how science may be put to use in theories of ground. I conclude that the prospects for naturalizing the metaphysics of ground are bright."

  48. ———. 2020. "Physicalism." In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding , edited by Raven, Michael J., 484-500. New York: Routledge.

    "Before determining whether grounding may be fruitfully applied to physicalism, we will need some sense of what physicalism is supposed to be. To that end, Section 1 will lay out some key metaphysical physicalist theses. Section 2 will discuss supervenience and some central challenges to supervenience physicalism (see also Kovacs, Chapter 24, this volume). Section 3 will introduce the notion of grounding and use it to formulate physicalism. Finally, Section 4 will consider the relative merits and demerits of grounding physicalism.We will see that while grounding physicalism arguably improves on supervenience physicalism in some respects, serious work remains if grounding is to enable a clearly viable formulation of physicalism." (p. 484)

  49. ———. 2022. "Grounding Interventionism: Conceptual and Epistemological Challenges." Metaphilosophy .

    First on line 18 February 2022.

    Abstract: "Philosophers have recently highlighted substantial affinities between causation and grounding, which have inclined some to import the conceptual and formal resources of causal interventionism into the metaphysics of grounding. The prospect of grounding interventionism raises two important questions: What exactly are grounding interventions, and why should we think they enable knowledge of grounding? This paper approaches these questions by examining how causal interventionists have addressed (or might address) analogous questions and then comparing the available options for grounding interventionism. The paper argues that grounding interventions must be understood in worldly terms, as adding something to or deleting something from the roster of entities, or making some fact obtain or fail to obtain. It considers three bases for counterfactual assessment: imagination, structural equation models, and background theory. The paper concludes that grounding interventionism requires firmer epistemological foundations, without which the interventionist’s epistemology of grounding is incomplete and ineffectually rationalist."

  50. Busck Gundersen, Eline. 2013. "Response-Dependence and Conditional Fallacy Problems." In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 369-392. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    "Response-dependence theses seem vulnerable to conditional fallacy problems like those that afflict the simple conditional analysis of dispositions.

    This paper is an attempt to clear response-dependence theses of these charges. I discuss what the counterexamples show, and how they might be resisted. I consider three suggested solutions from the literature on response-dependence: Johnston's construal of response-dependence theses in explicitly dispositional terms, Blackburn's 'elasticity' approach, and \Vright's provisional equations. I develop a fourth strategy based on relativisation of the 'favourable conditions' that play a central role in response-dependence theses. I also table, but do not discuss in detail, a fifth suggestion inspired by Lewis's revised conditional analysis of dispositions. I conclude that the resources can be found to defend response-dependence theses against conditional fallacy problems." (p. 369)

  51. Cameron, Margaret. 2014. "Is Ground Said-in-Many-Ways?" Studia Philosophica Estonica no. 7.2:29-55.

    Abstract: "Proponents of ground, which is used to indicate relations of ontological fundamentality, insist that ground is a unified phenomenon, but this thesis has recently been criticized. I will first review the proponents’ claims for ground’s unicity, as well as the criticisms that ground is too heterogeneous to do the philosophical work it is supposed to do. By drawing on Aristotle’s notion of homonymy, I explore whether ground’s metaphysical heterogeneity can be theoretically accommodated while at the same time preserving its proponents’ desideratum that it be a unified phenomenon."

  52. Cameron, Ross P. 2016. "Do We Need Grounding?" Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy no. 59:382-397.

    Abstract: "Many have been tempted to invoke a primitive notion of grounding to describe the way in which some features of reality give rise to others. Jessica Wilson argues that such a notion is unnecessary to describe the structure of the world: that we can make do with specific dependence relations such as the part–whole relation or the determinate–determinable relation, together with a notion of absolute fundamentality. In this paper I argue that such resources are inadequate to describe the particular ways in which some parts of reality give rise to others, and thus that we do in fact need grounding."


    Wilson, Jessica. 2014. “No Work for a Theory of Grounding.” Inquiry 57 (5–6): 535–579.

  53. Caputo, Stefano. 2013. "The Dependence of Truth on Being: Is There a Problem for Minimalism?" In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 297-323. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    "Conclusions: I hope to have vindicated the following claims: first, TDB [asymmetrical dependence of truth on being] truth; second, TDB isue in virtue of facts concerning the nature of our linguistic competence with the truth-predicate; third, a minimalist can perfectly explain, in his framework, these facts and thereb,· why TDB true" (p. 321)

  54. Carmichael, Chad. 2016. "Deep Platonism." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 92:307–328.

    "According to the bundle theory, particulars are bundles of universals. For example, this blue cup is a bundle of universals including blueness, cuphood, etc. The elements of a bundle are said to be compresent, which distinguishes genuine bundles from arbitrary groupings of unrelated universals. Every particular, on this view, is a bundle of compresent universals. Given the plausible claim that all the facts about bundles are grounded in facts about their members, the bundle theory entails the thesis that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts purely about universals. This thesis is what I call deep platonism."


    "For a variety of reasons, I reject the bundle theory. But I accept deep platonism. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to deep platonism (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility of distinct qualitative indiscernibles (section 1). The key to my reply is a non-standard theory of haecceities as non-well-founded properties of a certain sort. Then I will respond to several objections (section 2). Finally, I will argue that we should accept deep platonism on the basis of considerations of parsimony about the fundamental (section 3)." (pp. 307-308, notes omitted)

  55. Carnino, Pablo. 2014. "On the Reduction of Grounding to Essence." Studia Philosophica Estonica no. 7:56-71.

    Abstract: "In a recent article, Fabrice Correia explores the project of reducing the notion of grounding to that of essence. He then goes on to provide several candidate definitions and test each of them against a number of objections. His final take on the situation is, roughly, that two of the definitions can handle all of the considered objections.

    The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate Correia’s conclusions in the light of two sources of insights: Firstly, I will argue that one of the objections treated by Correia has been somewhat underestimated, and that it still constitutes a threat against definitions of grounding in terms of essence. Secondly, there are at least two further objections that should be considered by the advocate of such definitions. As I will show, one of them can be neutralized; but the other one is more serious and suggests a clear dialectical edge to an operationalist definition."


    Correia, F. Metaphysical grounds and essence, in M. Hoeltje, B. Schnieder and A. Steinberg (eds), Varieties of Dependence. Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , Basic Philosophical Concepts Series, Philosophia, München, pp. 271-296.

  56. ———. 2017. "Grounding Is Not Superinternal." Thought: A Journal of Philosophy no. 6:24-32.

    Abstract: "Whenever a fact P grounds another fact Q, one may ask why that is so. Karen Bennett (2011) and Louis deRosset (2013) independently argue that grounding facts—such as the fact that P grounds Q—are always grounded in their grounds-part (what stands in P’s position). Bennett calls this the view that grounding is superinternal. My aim in this paper is to argue that grounding is not superinternal. I will do so by showing that superinternality, together with some widely accepted formal features of grounding—namely, transitivity and necessitation—yield implausible claims about how necessities are explained. Then, I will discuss how my argument compares with Dasgupta’s (2014) argument against superinternality."


    Bennett, K. “By Our Bootstraps.” Philosophical Perspectives 25.1 (2011): 27–41.

    Dasgupta, S. “The Possibility of Physicalism.” Journal of Philosophy 111.9/10 (2014): 557–592.

    deRosset, L. “Grounding Explanations.” Philosophers’ Imprint 13.7 (2013): 1–26.

  57. Carrara, Massimiliano, and Martino, Enrico. 2015. "Grounding Megethology on Plural Reference." Studia Logica no. 103:697-711.

    Abstract: "In Mathematics is megethology (Lewis, Philos Math 1:3–23, 1993) Lewis reconstructs set theory combining mereology with plural quantification. He introduces megethology, a powerful framework in which one can formulate strong assumptions about the size of the universe of individuals. Within this framework, Lewis develops a structuralist class theory, in which the role of classes is played by individuals. Thus, if mereology and plural quantification are ontologically innocent, as Lewis maintains, he achieves an ontological reduction of classes to individuals. Lewis’work is very attractive. However, the alleged innocence of mereology and plural quantification is highly controversial and has been criticized by several authors. In the present paper we propose a new approach to megethology based on the theory of plural reference developed in To be is to be the object of a possible act of choice (Carrara, Stud Log 96: 289–313, 2010). Our approach shows how megethology can be grounded on plural reference without the help of mereology."


    Carrara, M., and E. Martino, To be is to be the object of a possible act of choice, Studia Logica 96:289–313, 2010.

    Lewis, D., Mathematics is megethology, Philosophia Mathematica 1:3–23, 1993. [Reprinted as Chapter 17 in D. Lewis, Papers in Philosophical Logic , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1998, pp. 203-229.]

  58. Chilovi, Samuele. 2020. "Grounding-based Formulations of Legal Positivism." Philosophical Studies no. 177:3283-3302.

    Abstract: "The goal of this paper is to provide an accurate grounding-based formulation of positivism in the philosophy of law. I start off by discussing some simple formulations, based on the ideas that social facts are always either full or partial grounds of legal facts. I then raise a number of objections against these definitions: the full grounding proposal rules out possibilities that are compatible with positivism; the partial grounding proposal fails, on its own, to vindicate the distinctive role that is played by social facts within positivist accounts of law. Then, I present a more adequate and insightful formulation capable of solving their problems, which crucially relies on a robust notion of a social enabler. Finally, I model inclusive and exclusive positivism on the resulting template, and set out the advantages of the ground-enablers proposal."

  59. ———. 2021. "Grounding Entails Supervenience." Synthese no. 198:1317-1334.

    Abstract: "Do grounding claims entail corresponding supervenience claims? The question matters, as a positive answer would help grounding theorists address worries that their hyperintensional primitive is obscure, and also increase the argumentative strategies that are available within ground-theoretic frameworks for metaphysical inquiry. Stephan Leuenberger („From Grounding to Supervenience?‟, 2014a) argues for a negative response, by specifying some candidate principles of entailment and then claiming that each of them is subject to counterexamples. In this paper, I critically assess those principles and the objections he raises against them, and advocate a novel entailment principle that overcomes all the problems suffered by those other principles. The principle I defend places a supervenience-based constraint on grounding claims, and secures a substantive connection between grounding and modality, weaker than necessitation."


    Leuenberger, S. (2014a) „From Grounding to Supervenience?‟, Erkenntnis 79: 227-240.

  60. Chilovi, Samuele, and Pavlakos, George. 2019. "Law-Determination as Grounding: A Common Grounding Framework for Jurisprudence." Legal Ethics no. 25:53-76.

    Abstract: "Law being a derivative feature of reality, it exists in virtue of more fundamental things, upon which it depends. This raises the question of what is the relation of dependence that holds between law and its more basic determinants. The primary aim of this paper is to argue that grounding is that relation. We first make a positive case for this claim, and then we defend it from the potential objection that the relevant relation is rather rational determination.(1) Against this challenge, we argue that the apparent objection is really no objection, for on its best understanding, rational determination turns out to actually be grounding. Finally, we clarify the framework for theories on law-determination that results from embracing our view; by way of illustration, we offer a ground-theoretic interpretation of Hartian positivism, and show how it can defuse an influential challenge to simple positivist accounts of law."

    (1) Greenberg, M. (2004) ‘How Facts Make Law’, Legal Theory 10:157-198.

  61. ———. 2021. "The Explanatory Demands of Grounding in Law." Pacific Philosophical Quarterly .

    First online 8 November 2021.

    Abstract: "A new strategy in philosophy of law appeals to explanatory gap arguments to attack legal positivism. We argue that the strategy faces a dilemma, which derives from two available readings of the constraint it places on legal grounding. To this end, we elaborate the most promising ways of spelling out the epistemic constraints governing law-determination and show that each of the arguments based on them has problems. Throughout the paper, we evaluate a number of explanatory requirements, ultimately with a view to shedding light on the explanatory nature of both grounding in general and legal grounding in particular."

  62. Christensen, Ryan. 2014. "Essence, Essence and Essence." Studia Philosophica Estonica no. 7:72-87.

    Abstract: "I argue that three different notions of essence—temporal, definitional, and modal— are all distinct notions, and are all philosophically useful. After defining the different notions, I discuss the philosophical problems each addresses."

  63. Claas, Jan. 2021. "The Grounds and the Components of Concepts." Erkenntnis :1-21.

    "In this paper I investigate the idea that in conceptual analysis we are in a substantialway concerned with revealing metaphysical grounds. I argue that a recent proposal fails, according to which we aim to reveal what complex concepts are grounded in.

    The notion of composition , rather than that of grounding , is the best way to understand the intuitive hierarchy of concepts. In an analysis we reveal the components or parts of complex concepts and their structure. Finally, I propose an alternative role for grounding in our accounts of analysis: in analyses we reveal truths about the composition of concepts that serve as grounds for truths about their functions , which are what we want to understand."

  64. Clark, Michael J. 2018. "What Grounds What Grounds What." The Philosophical Quarterly no. 68:38-59.

    Abstract: "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."

  65. Clark, Michael J., and Liggins, David. 2012. "Recent Work on Grounding." Analysis no. 72:812-823.

    "‘In virtue of’ is a mainstay of philosophical discourse. So are similar expressions, such as ‘depends on’, ‘is prior to’, and ‘is determined by’. It is reasonable to suppose that these expressions are all used to express claims of non-causal dependence, or – as is becoming the standard term – ‘grounding’.

    Whilst causation has been studied extensively, it is only in recent years that grounding has become established as a major concern of metaphysics. In this article, we will take stock by bringing together some of the main themes to have emerged in the recent debate. We begin by introducing the notion of grounding (Section 1). Then we discuss scepticism about grounding (Section 2) before setting out some of the main questions about grounding under current investigation (Section 3). The final section introduces further avenues for future research." (p. 812)

  66. Clark, Michael J., and Wildman, Nathan. 2018. "Grounding, Mental Causation, and Overdetermination." Synthese no. 195:3723-3733.

    Abstract: "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."


    Kroedel, T., & Schulz, M. (2016). Grounding mental causation. Synthese , 193, 1909–1923.

  67. Colomina-Almiñana, Juan J. 2018. Formal Approach to the Metaphysics of Perspectives: Points of View as Access . Cham (Switzerland): Springer.

    Contents: 1. A World of Points of View 1; 2. Contextualizing Points of View 27; 3. Adopting a Point of View 61; 4. Points of View as Grounding 81; 5. Comparing and Evaluating Points of View 105; 6. A Pluralist Notion of Truth for Metaphysical Points of View 117; Conclusion 143; References 147-156.

    "To summarize then, this book deals with the place that perspectives must occupy in the world. Besides that I will attend to some of these cases later, this book is not particularly interested in establishing whether some of these perspectives are better understood as mere ways of speech. Think, for instance, of uncontroversial cases regarding whether you are late for an appointment or not, or what actually is nearby, or some political and partisan opinions about events, or which scientific paradigm better accounts for gravity, or whether Secretariat (a horse) is an “athlete.” These are, with no doubt, very interesting disputes. However, the core of this book must analyze in depth substantial ontological arguments regarding the existence of what I call metaphysical points of view." (p. VIII)

  68. Correia, Fabrice. 2000. "Propositional Logic of Essence." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 29:295-311.

    "Introdcution: The present paper can be considered as a companion to Kit Fine’s papers ‘The Logic of Essence’ and ‘Semantics for the Logic of Essence’.(1) In the first paper Fine presents a logical system for quantified essentialist statements, E5.(2) In the second he presents a semantics for a variant of the system, and proves this system adequate (i.e. sound and complete) with espect to that semantics. I propose here a Kripke-style semantics for E5π, a propositional counterpart of E5, and prove the adequacy of the latter with respect to the former.

    There are many, more or less natural, more or less interesting, ways to extend E5 (or one of its cousins) to a system of quantified logic of essence. E5π, together with its semantics, is intended to constitute the core of subsequent, more expressive, logics of essence. So, the study of E5π per se, regardless of possible quantificational extensions, is of great interest.

    Another interesting point about the present study lies in the fact that the completeness proof given here is much simpler than the one Fine gives for his quantificational system.

    The reader is strongly urged to take a look at Fine’s papers on the logic of essence, if only because no detailed comparison between Fine’s material and mine will be offred." (p. 295)

  69. ———. 2005. Existential Dependence and Cognate Notions . Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    Contents: Introduction 11; 1. Preamble 17; 2. Simple Dependence I: Presentation, and Rejection of Some Accounts 43; 3. Metaphysical Grounding 57; 4. Simple Dependence II: The Foundational Approach 69; 5. Some Other Notions of Existential Dependence 93;

    6. Supervenience 135; Appendix 155; Bibliography 165; List of Figures 169; List of Symbols and Notations 171; List of Named Propositions, Conditions and Rules 173; Index 175.

    "The use of notions of existential dependence pervades the whole history of philosophy, and as the above remarks suggest there are good reasons to consider them as notions of central philosophical importance. Yet they have never been a topic of philosophical research of their own—at least in the contemporary period—a few exceptions aside. The first notable exception is Husserl with his third Logical Investigation on modal mereology. Yet even if in this work Husserl not only uses, but also spends time to define some notions of existential dependence, the result is quite imprecise, and how exactly Husserl’s views should be understood is still a matter of controversy.

    The remaining exceptions are three. There is first and foremost the work of the Manchester triad which, at least at the beginning, to a certain extent tries to dig up the Husserlian investigations. Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons and Barry Smith are responsible for “introducing” existential dependence to the analytic world, and two approaches to dependence pervade an important amount of their work, namely the modal-existential approach and the essentialist-existential approach. The second exception is E. J. Lowe and his purely essentialist approach, and finally the third is Kit Fine, to whom I shall also attribute the essentialist-existential approach." (p. 12)


    "My plan is the following. In the Preamble, I introduce notions and principles that will be useful in the rest of this work. After a short break, chapter 2 introduces the simplest notion of existential dependence, presents some existing accounts of this notion and some objections to these accounts. In chapter 3 the crucial notion of grounding is introduced. In chapter 4, I then propose my own account of simple existential dependence, and show how it escapes the difficulties faced by its rivals. Chapter 5 deals with other forms of existential dependence—like generic dependence, disjunctive dependence and temporalized forms of existential dependence—and finally chapter 6 is about supervenience." (p. 15)

  70. ———. 2006. "Generic Essence, Objectual Essence, and Modality." Noûs no. 40:753-767.

    Abstract: "When thinking about the notion of essence or of an essential feature, philosophers typically focus on what I will call the notion of objectual essence. The main aim of this paper is to argue that beside this familiar notion stands another one, the notion of generic essence, which contrary to appearance cannot be understood in terms of the familiar notion, and which also fails to be correctly characterized by certain other accounts which naturally come to mind as well. Some of my objections to these accounts are similar to some of Kit Fine’s compelling objections to the standard modal account of (objectual) essence (Fine 1994). In the light of these objections, Fine advances the view that it is metaphysical necessity which has to be understood in terms of essence, rather than the other way around, and takes essence to be unanalyzable.

    When formulating his view, Fine had only objectual essence in mind (or had both concepts in mind, but assumed that the generic is a special case of the objectual), and for that reason, I will argue, his account fails. I will suggest that Fineans should modify their view, and take it that metaphysical necessity is to be understood in terms of the two notions of essence—a view I myself find appealing. Finally, I will end by suggesting a further move which reduces the objectual to the generic, making metaphysical necessity reducible to generic essence alone—a move with which I myself have some sympathy."


    Fine, K. (1994) “Essence and Modality,” Philosophical Perspectives , 8: 1–16.

  71. ———. 2010. "Grounding and Truth-Functions." Logique et Analyse no. 53:251-279.

    "The plan of the paper is the following. I first discuss the question of the logical form of statements of grounding (§1). There I distinguish between the predicational view on the logical form of these statements, and the operational view, which I endorse. I then introduce the notions of factual identity and factual equivalence, and argue that the formulation of a logic of grounding must go in tandem with the formulation of a logic of factual identity in case one opts for predicationalism, and of a logic of factual equivalence if one opts for operationalism (§2). In §3, I define the language relative to which I subsequently formulate the logic of grounding and factual equivalence.

    In §4 I lay down structural principles for grounding and factual equivalence.

    In §5, I then propose principles for the logic of factual equivalence and truth-functions, and in §6, I do the same for the logic of grounding and truth-functions. Finally, I present a semantical characterization of the resulting logical system and prove the system to be sound and complete with respect to the semantics (§7)" (pp. 252-263)

  72. ———. 2011. "From Grounding to Truth-Making: Some Thoughts." In Mind, Values, and Metaphysics. Philosophical Essays in Honor of Kevin Mulligan. Vol. 1 , edited by Reboul, Anne, 85-98. Dordrecht: Springer.

    Abstract: "The number of writings on truth-making which have been published since Kevin Mulligan, Peter Simons and Barry Smith’s seminal, rich and deep article ‘Truth-Makers’ in 1984 is considerable. Some deal with the theory of the notion, some with its applications and some with both. This chapter adds up to the pile of writings which focus on the theory. I focus on one account of truth-making I find plausible, the view that for a truth-bearer to be made true by an entity is for it to be the case that the truth-bearer is true because the entity exists, where ‘because’ is understood as expressing a form of objective, metaphysical explanation which is now often subsumed under the label ‘grounding’. Taking this account for granted, we may distinguish, amongst the general principles governing truth-making, those which derive from more basic principles governing the notions in terms of which it is defined, from those which do not. Which principles compose the first class, which are the more basic principles from which they derive and how do the former derive from the latter? I try to make some steps towards an answer to this difficult question."


    Mulligan K., Simons P., Smith B. (1984), Truth-makers. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 44(3): 287–321.

  73. ———. 2013. "Logical Grounds." Review of Symbolic Logic no. 7:31-59.

    "As I see it, the main interest of this study is threefold. First, the study provides a precise account of a pretheoretic notion of logical explanation which, I take it, is of great intrinsic interest. Second, it shows that the concept of logical grounding can be used to provide a new angle of approach in logic, which is illuminating and possesses a certain power of unification. And third, it shows that the concept of logical grounding is not irremediably obscure or fruitless, thereby providing (i) a direct response to some forms of scepticism about this concept and (ii) an element of response to certain forms of scepticism about more general concepts of grounding (in particular, that of metaphysical grounding)." (p. 33, notes omitted)

  74. ———. 2013. "Metaphysical Grounds and Essence." In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 271-296. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.

    "Is it possible to provide an account of metaphysical grounding in terms of essence? E. J. Lowe (2009) addresses a similar question about truth-making and essence, and makes a suggestion which points towards a positive answer. Kit Fine (2012) addresses the original question and answers negatively. I argue that the prospects for an account of metaphysical grounding in terms of essence are not as bad as one might have thought." (p. 271)


    Correia, E and B. Schnieder (eds.) 2012: Metaphysical Grounding: Understandiing the Structure ol Reali!y· . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Fine, K. 2012: 'Guide to Ground'. In Correia and Schnieder 2012, pp. 37-80.

    Lowe, E. J. 2009: 'An Essentialist Approach to Truth-Making'. In Lowe and Rami 2009, pp. 201-16.

    Lowe, E. J. and A. Rami (eds.) 2009: Truth and Truth-Making, Stocksfield: Acumen.

  75. ———. 2017. "Real Definitions." Philosophical Issues no. 27:52-73.

    Abstract: "I offer and defend an account of real definitions. I put forward two versions of the account, one formulated in terms of the notion of generalised identity and of a suitable notion of grounding (RD1), and the other one formulated in terms of the former notion and of a suitable notion of comparative joint carvingness (RD2). Given a plausible assumption, (RD1) and (RD2) turn out to be equivalent. I give a sketch of a unified account of the three notions involved in (RD1) and (RD2) from which the assumption can be derived."

  76. ———. 2017. "An Impure Logic of Representational Grounding." Journal of Philosophical Logic no. 46:507-538.

    Abstract: "I give a semantic characterization of a system for the logic of grounding similar to the system introduced by Kit Fine in his “Guide to Ground”, as well as a semantic characterization of a variant of that system which excludes the possibility of what Fine calls ‘zero-grounding’."

  77. ———. 2020. "Granularity." In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding , edited by Raven, Michael J., 228-243. New York: Routledge.

    "Grounding is a hyperintensional notion: necessarily equivalent sentences need not be equivalent from a ground-theoretic perspective. How fine-grained, exactly, is grounding? There is a striking lack of consensus on this question. In this chapter, I try to systematize and review the main options that have been put forward in the literature. For reasons that have to do with both naturalness and convenience, I for the most part take the question to be about what is sometimes called, following Kit Fine’s (2012a) terminology, strict full grounding, and I take for granted a conception of grounding as a relation that is many-to-one and non-factive. I discuss the consequences of making alternative assumptions only in the very last section." (p. 228, notes omitted)


    Fine, K, (2012a). Guide to Ground. In F. Correia & B. Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 37–80.

  78. ———. 2021. "A New Argument for the Groundedness of Grounding Facts." Erkenntnis :1-16.

    First online 8 June 2021.

    Abstract: "Many philosophers have recently been impressed by an argument to the effect that all grounding facts about “derivative entities”—e.g. the facts expressed by the (let us suppose) true sentences ‘the fact that Beijing is a concrete entity is grounded in the fact that its parts are concrete’ and ‘the fact that there are cities is grounded in the fact that p’, where ‘p’ is a suitable sentence couched in the language of particle physics—must themselves be grounded. This argument relies on a principle, Purity, which states that facts about derivative entities are non-fundamental. Purity is questionable.

    In this paper, I introduce a new argument—the argument from Settledness—for a similar conclusion but which does not rely on Purity. The conclusion of the new argument is that every “thick” grounding fact is grounded, where a grounding fact [F is grounded in G, H, …] is said to be thick when at least one of F, G, H, … is a fact—a condition that is automatically satisfied if grounding is factive. After introducing the argument, I compare it with the argument from Purity, and I assess its cogency relative to the relevant accounts of the connections between grounding and fundamentality that are available in the literature."

  79. ———. 2021. "Ontological dependence, Grounding and Modality." In The Routledge Handbook of Modality , edited by Bueno, Otávio and Shalkowski, Scott A. , 100-113. New York: Routledge.

    "Ontological dependence and grounding are two important items in the metaphysician’s toolbox: both notions can be used to formulate important philosophical claims and to define other notions that play a central role in philosophical theorising. Philosophical inquiry about ontological dependence and (especially) grounding has been very lively over the past few years, making it difficult to write a short review article on any of them, let alone a short review article on both.

    I try to reach a good compromise between a discussion of each notion taken separately and a discussion of how they relate to one another." (p. 100)

  80. Correia, Fabrice, and Schnieder, Benjamin, eds. 2012. Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Contents: List of contributors VII; Fabrice Correia, Benjamin Schnieder: Grounding: an opinionated introduction 1; 1. Kit Fine: Guide to ground 37; 2. Chris Daly: Scepticism about grounding 81; 3. Paul Audi: A clarification and defense of the notion of grounding 101; 4. Jonathan Schaffer: Grounding, transitivity, and contrastivity 122; 5. Michael Della Rocca: Violations of the Principle of Sufficient Reason (in Leibniz and Spinoza) 139; 6. J. Robert G. Williams: Requirements on reality 165; 7. Kathrin Koslicki: Varieties of ontological dependence 186; 8. E. J. Lowe: Asymmetrical dependence in individuation 214; 9. Jody Azzouni: Simple metaphysics and “ontological dependence” 234; 10. David Liggins: Truth-makers and dependence 254; 11. Stephen Barker: Expressivism about making and truth-making 272; Bibliography 294; Name index 306; Subject index 309-311.

  81. ———. 2012. "Grounding: An Opinionated Introduction." In Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality , edited by Correia, Fabrice and Schnieder, Benjamin, 1-36. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "Some of the most important questions in philosophy, we believe, concern matters of priority.


    What concerns us here is not so much whether these specific claims are true, but rather something they have in common topic-wise: it seems to us that they all target a particular sort of non-causal priority which we would like to call grounding and which we regard as a phenomenon of the highest philosophical importance.

    This volume collects papers in which this phenomenon is addressed from various (both sympathetic and critical) sides. Summaries of those papers are provided in Section 6 of this introduction. But first, we want to walk you through an opinionated survey of pertinent issues, preparing the field and putting the papers into perspective.

    While the recent debate about grounding is not older than a decade, the topic has been dealt with before. So, we start by briefly walking through some important stages of the history of grounding. We then devote two sections on systematic issues, one on the theory of grounding proper, and one on its connections with other notions.(1)" (pp. 1-2)

    (1) For further reading we recommend a survey article by Trogdon (forthcoming). While his paper naturally has some overlap with ours, he often has a different focus so that the two papers complement each other.


    Trogdon, K. forthcoming. ‘Grounding – An Overview’, in Hoeltje, Schnieder, and Steinberg, Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence , Munich: Philosophia Verlag 2013, pp. 97-122.

  82. Correia, Fabrice, and Skiles, Alexander. 2019. "Grounding, Essence, and Identity." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 98:642-670.

    Abstract: "Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustın Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with antecedently plausible principles governing grounding, essence, and identity taken individually, and illuminates how the three interact. We also argue that the account compares favorably to an alternative unification of grounding and essence recently proposed by Kit Fine."

  83. Cusbert, John, and Millier, Kristie. 2018. "The Unique Groundability of Temporal Facts." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 94:410-432.

    Abstract: "The A-theory and the B-theory advance competing claims about how time is grounded. The A-theory says that A-facts are more fundamental in grounding time than are B-facts, and the B-theory says the reverse.

    We argue that whichever theory is true of the actual world is also true of all possible worlds containing time. We do this by arguing that time is uniquely groundable: however time is actually grounded, it is necessarily grounded in that way. It follows that if either the A-theory or the B-theory is actually false, then it is necessarily false."