Theory and History of Ontology
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Theory and History of Ontology by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc
Lowe, E. J. 1994. "Ontological Dependency." Philosophical Papers no. 23:31-48.
"A crucial notion in metaphysics is that of one object depending for its existence upon another object - not in a merely causal sense, but in a deeper, quasi-logical sense. (I say ‘quasi-logical’ because, strictly speaking, logical relations can only obtain between propositions, not worldly objects.) Thus a substance is often conceived to be an object which does not depend for its existence upon anything else.(1) Again, properties are often said to depend for their existence upon the objects which possess them.(2)" (p. 31)
(1) Thus Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, I, 5 1: ‘by substance we can understand nothing other than a thing which exists in such a way as to depend on no other thing for its existence’. See John Cottingham et al. (eds), The Philosophical Writings of Descartes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), Vol. I, p. 210.
(2) Thus Descartes, Second Set of Replies, Definition V: ‘we know by the natural light that a real attribute cannot belong to nothing’. See Cottingham et al. (eds), op. cit., Vol II, p. 114.
———. 1998. The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Contents: 1 The Possibility of Metaphysics 1; 2 Objects and Identity 28; 3 Identity and Unity 58; 4 Time and Persistence 84; 5 Persistence and Substance 106; 6 Substance and Dependence 136; 7 Primitive Substances 154; 8 Categories and Kinds 174; 9 Matter and Form 190; 10 Abstract Entities 210; 11 Facts and the World 228; 12 The Puzzle of Existence 248;
Bibliography 261; Index 269-275.
"The arguments of Chapter 5 more or less take the concept of substance for granted and so part of the aim of Chapter 6 is to provide a rigorous definition of substance, in terms of the crucial notion of existential dependency. At the same time, I begin to build up a picture of the relationships between the category of substance and other categories of entities at the same ontological level—entities such as events, properties, places, and times. This picture is further developed in Chapter 7, where I go on to argue for quite general reasons that certain fundamental kinds of substance—what I call primitive substances—must exist in order to provide the ultimate existential grounding of all concrete existence. Such substances are distinctive in that their identity through time is itself primitive or ungrounded.
However, identifying these substances is a more difficult matter than arguing in a general way for the necessity of their existence." (Preface, p. VI)
———. 2004. "The Particular–Universal Distinction: A Reply to MacBride." Dialectica no. 58:335-340.
Abstract: "In this brief reply to Fraser MacBride’s critical examination of the four-category ontology and the place within it of the particular – universal distinction, it is argued that the prospects for identifying the four basic ontological categories in terms of the characteristic patterns of ontological dependency between entities belonging to the different categories are rather more promising than MacBride suggests."
MacBride, F. 2004, “Particulars, Modes and Universals: An examination of E. J. Lowe’s Four-Fold Ontology”, 58, pp. 317-333.
———. 2004. "Some Formal Ontological Relations." Dialectica no. 58:297-316.
Abstract: "Some formal ontological relations are identified, in the context of an account of ontological categorization.
It is argued that neither formal ontological relations nor ontological categories should themselves be regarded as elements of being, but that this does not undermine the claim of formal ontology to be a purely objective science. It is also argued that some formal ontological relations, like some ontological categories, are more basic than others. A four-category ontology is proposed, in which two basic categories of universals and two basic categories of particulars are distinguished in terms of certain formal ontological relations characteristically obtaining between entities belonging to the different categories."
———. 2012. "Asymmetrical Dependence in Inviduation." In Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality edited by Correia, Fabrice and Schnieder, Benjamin, 214-233. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
"Identity-dependence would appear to be an asymmetrical, or at least an anti-symmetrical relation, with the implication that no two distinct entities can be each other’s individuators – even if we can allow, as I believe we should, that some entities are self-individuating. This point is related to the fact that circular explanations are inadmissible. For identity-dependence is clearly a species of explanatory relation, in the metaphysical – rather than the merely epistemic – sense of ‘explanation’. The identity of a death is explained, at least partly, by the identity of its subject. As it may otherwise be put, a death has its identity at least partly ‘in virtue of ’ the identity of its subject – and not the other way around." (p. 215)
———. 2013. "Some Varieties of Metaphysical Dependence." In Varieties of Dependence: Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence, edited by Hoeltje, Miguel, Schnieder, Benjamin and Steinberg, Alex, 193-210. Munchen: Philosophia.
"In this paper, I shall first of all (in section 1) define various kinds of ontological dependence, motivating these definitions by appeal to examples. My contention is that whenever we need, in metaphysics, to appeal to some notion of existential or identity-dependence, one or other of these definitions will serve our needs adequately, which one depending on the case in hand. Then (in section 2) I shall respond to some objections to one of these proposed definitions in particular, namely, my definition of (what I call) essential identitydependence.
Finally (in section 3), I shall show how a similar approach can be applied in the theory of truthmaking, by offering an account of the truthmaking relation which defines it in terms of a type of essential dependence. I shall also say why I think that this approach is preferable to one which treats the truthmaking relation as primitive. More generally, my view is that accounts of dependence or 'grounding' which treat these notions as primitive are less satisfactory than my own position, which is that in all cases a suitable definition is forthcoming if we look hard enough." (p. 193)
———. 2013. "Complex Reality: Unity, Simplicity, and Complexity in a Substance Ontology." In Johanssonian Investigations: Essays in Honour of Ingvar Johansson on His Seventieth Birthday, edited by Svennerlind, Ch, Almäng, J. and Ingthorsson, R., 338-357. Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag.
"1. Ontology and Levels
As I have just remarked, it is common in current metaphysics to speak of ‘ontological levels’. But levels of what? As I understand it, we should take these to be levels of being, rather than mere levels of description of being. But what exactly is to be understood in this context by a ‘level of being’? What I propose is that we should take a ‘level of being’ to be a level of beings, where ‘beings’ in the relevant sense are taken to be objects (though one might also want to include properties of objects).
Moreover, I have in mind now only concrete objects, not abstract ones — a distinction that I shall discuss shortly. As well as clarifying what is to be understood by ‘being’ in this context, however, we need also to clarify what is to be understood by ‘level’. This I propose to do in terms of part–whole relations.
"But accepting that — by definition, according to my proposal — a whole is always at a ‘higher’ level than its proper parts, is there anything more that we can say, quite generally, about how objects at different levels are related? I think so, because we can always ask, concerning objects at different levels, what relationships of ontological dependence — or, if this term is preferred, grounding — they stand in to one another. Of particular interest here are dependence relations which are asymmetric (or perhaps anti-symmetric) and which consequently determine an order of ontological priority between the objects so related, with the object depended upon (the ‘dependee’) having ontological priority over the dependent object (the ‘depender’)." (p. 341)
Lycan, William G. 1970. "Identifiability-Dependence and Ontological Priority." The Personalist no. 51:502-513.
MacBride, Fraser. 2004. "Particulars, Modes and Universals: An examination of E. J. Lowe’s Four-Fold Ontology." Dialectica no. 58:317-333.
Abstract: "Is there a particular-universal distinction? Ramsey famously advocated scepticism about this distinction. In “Some Formal Ontological Relations” E.J. Lowe argues against Ramsey that a particular-universal distinction can be made out after all if only we allow ourselves the resources to distinguish between the elements of a four-fold ontology. But in defence of Ramsey I argue that the case remains to be made in favour of either (1) the four-fold ontology Lowe recommends or (2) the articulation of a particular-universal distinction within it. I also argue that the case remains to be made against (3) a spatio-temporal conception of the particular-universal distinction."
McKenzie, Kerry. 2014. "Priority and Particle Physics: Ontic Structural Realism as a Fundamentality Thesis." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science no. 65:353-380.
Abstract: "In this article, I address concerns that the ontological priority claims definitive of ontic structural realism are as they stand unclear, and I do so by placing these claims on a more rigorous formal footing than they typically have been hitherto. I first of all argue that Kit Fine’s analysis of ontological dependence furnishes us with an ontological priority relation that is particularly apt for structuralism. With that in place, and with reference to two case studies prominent within the structuralist literature, I consider whether any of structuralism’s distinctive priority claims may be regarded as warranted. The discussion as a whole has largely negative implications for the radical structuralism of French and Ladyman (including their ‘eliminativist’ interpretation of it), largely positive implications for the moderate structuralism primarily advocated by Esfeld and Lam, and some broad lessons for contemporary fundamentalist metaphysics as a whole."
French, S. and Ladyman, J. [2003a]: ‘Remodelling Structural Realism: Quantum Physics and the Metaphysics of Structure’, Synthese, 136, pp. 31–56.
Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. : ‘Moderate Structural Realism about Space-Time’, Synthese, 160, pp. 27–46.
Esfeld, M. and Lam, V. : ‘Ontic Structural Realism as a Metaphysics of Objects’, in A. Bokulich and P. Bokulich (eds), Scientific Structuralism, Dordrecht: Springer,pp. 143–59.
———. 2019. "Dependence." In The Routledge Handbook of Emergence, edited by Gibb, Sophie, Hendry, Robin and Lancaster, Tom, 36-53. New York: Routledge.
"Dependence is the most general notion under which a host of familiar metaphysical relations between entities – causation, supervenience, grounding, realisation, etc. – fall. In the first section of this chapter, I will offer some preliminary clarifications to outline the territory in a little more detail. Some years back, this would have primarily involved differentiating kinds of dependence in terms of the strength of the modal operators used and the other details of an analysis deploying them. Now, there has been a proliferation of non-purely modal accounts of dependence. The second section identifies the various reasons that have been offered for this proliferation. The third section discusses a notion of ontological dependence and grounding, each of which draws on an appeal to the essence of the depending, or depended upon, entities. In spite of their popularity,
we will see that such notions are of little assistance in capturing a central case of interest to us: the proper understanding of emergence. In the light of this, the fourth section defends a purely modal treatment of some of the problem cases outlined in the first section and also discusses a non-modal notion of construction. I close with a hypothesis that the combination of three features, a non-dependence account of fundamentality, various notions of construction and purely modal properties, remove the motivation for appeal to an independent account of grounding in this, and perhaps any, area." (p. 36)
———. 2020. "Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination." British Journal for the Philosophy of Science no. 71:497-522.
Abstract: "Ontic structural realism (OSR) is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. Few, however, have joined French and Ladyman either in acknowledging that such underdetermination exists or in attributing to it such drastic consequences. However, an alternative view that physics does sanction objects, albeit merely as ontologically secondary entities, represents a different and seemingly less extreme route to the same conclusion regarding the fundamentality of structure. But since what it means to be ‘ontologically prior’ is itself a vexed philosophical question, a stance must be taken as to how we are to understand priority before its prospects may be evaluated. In an earlier paper, I outlined how Fine’s notion of ontological dependence might be utilized to defend the priority-based approach to structuralism. Since then, however, I have become convinced that that ontological dependence is not a relation of priority after all. As a result, the arguments outlined in that paper stand in need of reassessment.
In this work, I consider the prospects for priority-based structuralism when expressed in the idiom of determination. My conclusion will be that it has yet to be vindicated by our best physical theories, owing to the failure of symmetry structures to determine the world’s inventory of fundamental kinds. Nevertheless, the same symmetry considerations point toward there being renewed prospects for eliminativism—an eliminativism, moreover, of more naturalistic appeal than that hitherto associated with OSR."
French, S. and Ladyman, J. : ‘Remodelling Structural Realism: Quantum Physics and the Metaphysics of Structure,’ Synthese, 136, pp. 31–56.
French, S. and Ladyman J. : ‘In Defence of Ontic Structural Realism’, in A. Bokulich and P. Bokulich (eds), Scientific Structuralism, Springer, pp. 25–42.
Meixner, Uwe. 1998. "Actual Existence, Identity and Ontological Priority." Erkenntnis no. 48:209-226.
Abstract: "The paper first distinguishes ontological priority from epistemological priority and unilateral ontic dependence. Then explications of ontological priority are offered in terms of the reducibility of the actual existence or identity of entities in one ontological category to the actual existence or identity of entities in another. These explications lead to incompatible orders of ontological priority for individuals, properties of individuals and states of affairs. Common to those orders is, however, that the primacy of the category of individuals is abandoned. This primacy is challenged in the paper also by epistemological arguments, and an onto-anthropological explanation is offered for the very common but false idea that individuals are ontological prior to all other kinds of entities. Finally ontological priority is discussed with respect to a fully specified system of ontological categories."
Moltmann, Friederike. 2019. "Ontological Dependence, Spatial Location, and Part Structure." In Ontology Makes Sense: Essays in Honor of Nicola Guarino, edited by Borgo, Stefano, Ferrario, Roberta, Masolo, Claudio and Vieu, Laure, 211-221. Amsterdam: IOS Publications.
Abstract: "This paper presents new observations about ontologically dependent objects which cannot have a host-independent spatial location or a physical part structure, namely disturbances (holes, folds, scratches), tropes, and attitudinal objects (claims, thoughts, promises, requests). It proposes an account of such attributively limited objects in terms of Fregean abstraction, which has so far been applied only to abstract objects."
Moran, Alex. 2018. "The Paradox of Decrease and Dependent Parts." Ratio no. 31:273-284.
Abstract "This paper is concerned with the paradox of decrease. Its aim is to defend the answer to this puzzle that was propounded by its originator, namely, the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus.[*] The main trouble
with this answer to the paradox is that it has the seemingly problematic implication that a material thing could perish due merely to extrinsic change. (For, intuitively, it is not possible for a mere extrinsic change to cause a material thing to cease to be.) It follows that in order to defend Chrysippus’ answer to the paradox, one has to explain how it could be that Theon is destroyed by the amputation without changing intrinsically. In this paper, I shall answer this challenge by appealing to the broadly Aristotelian idea that at least some of the proper parts of a material substance are ontologically dependent on that substance. I will also appeal to this idea in order to offer a new solution to the structurally similar paradox of increase. In this way, we will end up with a unified solution to two structurally similar paradoxes."
"This paper is concerned with an ancient puzzle: the paradox of decrease. Consider Dion, a human being, and Theon, one of Dion’s large proper parts, identical to all of Dion besides his left foot. Suppose that Dion’s left foot is amputated, and that Dion survives. (Suppose also that Dion undergoes no further mereological change.) Intuitively, Theon survives in this scenario as well as Dion; after all, Theon only undergoes extrinsic change. However, if this is right, it follows that post-amputation, Dion and Theon end up composed of the very same matter, whilst occupying exactly the same region of space. Intuitively, however, it is not possible for two material objects to occupy precisely the same spatial region, or be composed of the very same matter, at once.(1)" (pp. 273-2174)
[*] The paradox is reported by Philo of Alexandria, On the Indestructibility of the World 48 (von Armin, Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta 2.397); English translation in A.A. Long & D. N. Sedley, The Helllenistic Philosophers, Cambridge: Cambridge University press 1987, Vol. 1, pp. 171-172]
Morganti, Matteo. 2009. "Ontological Priority, Fundamentality and Monism." Dialectica no. 63:271-298.
Abstract: "In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of ‘priority monism’ in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are not compelling: in particular, the possibility that there is no ultimate level of basic entities that compose everything else is on a par with the possibility of infinite ‘upward’ complexity. The idea that we must, at any rate, postulate an ontologically fundamental level for methodological reasons (Cameron 2008) is also discussed and found unconvincing: all things considered, there may be good reasons for endorsing ‘metaphysical infinitism’. In any event, a higher degree of caution in formulating metaphysical claims than found in the extant literature appears advisable."
Cameron, R. 2008, ‘Turtles All theWay Down: Regress, Priority and Fundamentality’, Philosophical Quarterly 58, pp. 1–14.
Schaffer, J. 2003, ‘Is There a Fundamental Level?’, Noûs 37, pp. 498–517.
Schaffer, J. 2004, ‘Two Conceptions of Sparse Properties’, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85, pp.
Schaffer, J. 2007a, ‘From Nihilism to Monism’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85, pp. 175–191.
Schaffer, J. 2007b, ‘Monism’, in: E. Zalta, ed., Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, URL: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/monism
Schaffer, J. forthcoming, ‘Monism: The Priority of the Whole’, Philosophical Review. [119 (1):31-76 (2010)]
———. 2014. "Metaphysical Infinitism and the Regress of Being." Metaphilosophy no. 45:232-244.
Abstract: "This article offers a limited defense of metaphysical “infinitism,” the view that there are, or might be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. According to a widespread presupposition, there must be an ultimate ground of being—most likely, a plurality of fundamental atoms. Contrary to this view, this article shows that metaphysical infinitism is internally coherent. In particular, a parallel with the debate concerning infinitism about epistemic justification is suggested, and an “emergence model” of being is put forward. According to the emergence model, the being of any given entity gradually arises out of an infinite series of progressively less dependent entities—it is not wholly transmitted, as it were, from a basic, ungrounded level to all the dependent ones in a step-by-step fashion. Some objections are considered and rebutted."
———. 2015. "Dependence, Justification and Explanation: Must Reality be Well-Founded?" Erkenntnis no. 80:555-572.
Abstract: "Abstract This paper is about metaphysical ‘infinitism’, the view that there are, or could be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. Its main aim is to show that, contrary to widespread opinion, metaphysical infinitism is a coherent position. On the basis of this, it is then additionally argued that metaphysical infinitism need not fare worse than the more canonical ‘foundationalist’ alternatives when it comes to formulating metaphysical explanations. In the course of the discussion, a rather unexplored parallel with the debate concerning infinitism about justification is suggested."
———. 2018. "From Ontic Structural Realism to Metaphysical Coherentism." European Journal for Philosophy of Science no. 9:1-20.
Abstract: "The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontological dependence does not necessarily lead to uninformative metaphysical explanations, and ii) metaphysical coherentism strikes the best balance between the requirements of naturalism and those of theoretical consistency – especially in view of the difficulties that structuralists seem to have in accounting for all state-independent properties of particles in relational terms.
On this basis, the coherentist picture is applied to the interpretation of the quantum domain, and contrasted with extant varieties of structuralism, of both the eliminative and the non-eliminative sort, and holism."
Morris, Kevin. 2018. "Truthmaking and the Mysteries of Emergence." In Brute Facts, edited by Vintiadis, Elly and Mekios, Constantinos, 113-119. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"My focus in what follows will be on the claim that truthmaking can play a substantive role in defining an unproblematic notion of emergence. While “emergence” and related locutions have been used to express a variety of nonequivalent ideas, in perhaps the most philosophically interesting sense, to say that some property M is emergent is to say that while instances of M synchronically depend on instances of other properties, instances of M are truly novel additions to the world; and instances of M are genuine additions to the world, at least in part, in virtue of making a unique and distinctive causal contribution." (p. 113, a note omitted)
"I will begin by sketching the two central notions of the truthmaking-based precisification of emergence: the notion of being needed as a truthmaker and the notion of ontological dependence." (p. 115)
Mount, Beau Madison. 2019. "Antireductionism and Ordinals." Philosophia Mathematica no. 27:105-124.
Abstract: "I develop a novel argument against the claim that ordinals are sets. In contrast to Benacerraf’s antireductionist argument, I make no use of covert epistemic assumptions. Instead, my argument uses considerations of ontological dependence.
I draw on the datum that sets depend immediately and asymmetrically on their elements and argue that this datum is incompatible with reductionism, given plausible assumptions about the dependence profile of ordinals. In addition, I show that a structurally similar argument can be made against the claim that cardinals are sets."
Nelson, Michael. 2013. "Modal Metaphysics. Contingently Existing Propositions." Canadian Journal of Philosophy no. 43:776-803.
Abstract: "I argue that propositions are contingent existents. Some propositions that in fact exist might not have existed and there might have been propositions that are distinct from every actually existing proposition. This is because some propositions are singular propositions, which are propositions containing ordinary objects as constituents, and so are ontologically dependent on the existence of those objects; had those objects not existed, then the singular propositions would not have existed. I provide both a philosophical and technical understanding of the contingent status of propositions."
Nolan, Daniel. 2011. "Categories and Ontological Dependence." The Monist no. 94:277-301.
"In this paper I want to do two connected things. The first is to explore, in general terms, some of the issues that come up when we start considering ontological categories and questions about relations of dependence between them (either between the members of one and the members of another, or between the categories themselves). The second is to discuss one particular way we could try to illuminate the apparent dependence relationships between categories (or apparent categories): by exploring and tentatively defending a particular account of how ordinary things are related to events, and how we might relate the putative category of 'physical object' (or 'thing', as I will call them) to the putative category of 'event'." (p. 277)
Noordhof, Paul. 2019. "Dependence." In The Routledge Handbook of Emergence, edited by Gibb, Sophie, Hendry, Robin and Lancaster, Tom, 36-53. New York: Routledge.
"Dependence is the most general notion under which a host of familiar metaphysical relations between entities – causation, supervenience, grounding, realisation, etc. – fall. In the first section of this chapter, I will offer some preliminary clarifications to outline the territory in a little more detail. Some years back, this would have primarily involved differentiating kinds of dependence in terms of the strength of the modal operators used and the other details of an analysis deploying them. Now, there has been a proliferation of non-purely modal accounts of dependence. The second section identifies the various reasons that have been offered for this proliferation. The third section discusses a notion of ontological dependence and grounding, each of which draws on an appeal to the essence of the depending, or depended upon, entities. In spite of their popularity, we will see that such notions are of little assistance in capturing a central case of interest to us: the proper understanding of emergence. In the light of this, the fourth section defends a purely modal treatment of some of the problem cases outlined in the first section and also discusses a non-modal notion of construction. I close with a hypothesis that the combination of three features, a non-dependence account of fundamentality, various notions of construction and purely modal properties, remove the motivation for appeal to an independent account of grounding in this, and perhaps any, area."
Orilia, Francesco. 2016. "Armstrong’s Supervenience and Ontological Dependence." In Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong, edited by Calemi, Francesco Federico, 233-251. Berlin: De Gruyter.
"Let us then turn to the dependence proposal, the idea that FL is (or should be) a way of saying that the supervenient is ontologically dependent on the subvenient.
This option is certainly intriguing and worth exploring, for it seems in line with Armstrong’s insistence on (contingent) particulars, universals and states of affairs as somehow fundamental: everything else seems to depend on this basic level." (p. 238)
"In sum, if we are to understand FL in terms of ontological dependence, as we are trying to do, it seems we should enroll Armstrong in the party of those who do not take ontological dependence as necessarily well-founded. Schaffer 2010 argues from the empirical possibility of gunks, objects made up of smaller and smaller parts ad infinitum, to priority monism, the thesis that the cosmos is a whole on which everything else, qua part, is dependent. But this argument presupposes that the well-foundedness of dependence is taken for granted. However,if we rather take for granted the plausible idea that a complex such as P&Q is dependent on its parts and not vice versa (after all, according to Armstrong, as we have seen, P&Q might fail to exist even if P and Q exist), the possibility of gunky universals should rather lead us to question the well-foundedness of dependence.
Similarly, well-foundedness should be questioned, given the possibility of gunks, or the possibility of appealing to fact infinitism to account for the relatedness of universals and particulars that brings about states of affairs." (p. 249)
Sigla = FL = “doctrine of the ontological free lunch” [ "One may call this view, that the supervenient is not something additional to what it supervenes upon, the doctrine of the ontological free lunch. Like other free lunches, this one gives and takes away at the same time. You get the supervenient for free, but you do not really get an extra entity." D. M. Armstrong, A World of States of Affairs, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1997, pp. 12-13.]
Page, Sam. 2006. "Mind-independence disambiguated: Separating the meat from the straw in the realism/anti-realism debate." Ratio no. 19:321-335.
Abstract: "The notion of mind-independence plays a central role in the contemporary realism/anti-realism debate, but the notion is severely ambiguous and consequently the source of considerable misunderstanding.
In this paper, four kinds of mind-independence are distinguished: ontological, causal, structural, and individuative independence. Appreciating these distinctions entails that one can reject the individuative independence of the natural world, and still maintain that the natural world is causally and structurally independent of us. This paper argues that so-called anti-realists, especially Rorty, Putnam, and Goodman, are not opposed to the causal and structural independence of the natural world, as is frequently
alleged, but rather its individuative independence. An acceptance of these points will hopefully put an end to the prevalence of strawmen in the debate, and focus attention on meatier issues."
Paolini Paoletti, Michele. 2016. "Non-Symmetrical Relations, O-Roles, and Modes." Acta Analytica no. 31:373-395.
Abstract: "I examine and discuss in this paper Orilia’s theory of external, non-symmetrical relations, that is based on ontological roles (O-Roles). I explore several attempts to interpret O-Roles from an ontological viewpoint and I reject them because of two problems concerning the status of asymmetrical relations (to be distinguished from non-symmetrical relations simpliciter) and of exemplification as an external, non-symmetrical relation. Finally, following Heil’s and Lowe’s characterization of modes as particular properties that ontologically depend on their “bearers”, I introduce relational modes in order to define a new solution to the problems of the ontological status of both external, non-symmetrical relations and O-Roles. I also deal with five objections raised by Fraser MacBride against relational modes and O-Roles and I elaborate an analysis of the relations of being to the left of and being to the right of."
MacBride, F. (2007). Neutral relations revisited. Dialectica, 61(1), 25–56.
MacBride, F. (2014). How involved do you want to be in a non-symmetric relationship? Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 92(1), 1–16.
———. 2018. "Substance Causation." Philosophia:1-22.
"Let me now turn to fundamentality – or ontological independence/basicness. An intuitive characterization of fundamentality is the following: an entity is fundamental if and only if (iff) it is needed to ground(1) something in the universe and it is not grounded by anything else. Metaphorically speaking, fundamental entities are all and only those entities that some "lazy" omniscient and omnipotent being would need to invoke in order to ground what happens in the universe." (p. 2
(1) I assume here that something is fundamental iff it is ontological independent (or ontologically basic) – even if there are some modal characterizations of ontological independence according to which the ontological independence of something does not guarantee its fundamentality. Moreover, as it will become apparent in a few lines, I am not committed here to the idea that fundamentality/ontological independence must be characterized in terms of some primitive relation of grounding. Therefore, my use of the verb "to ground" does not aim at recalling the latter view."
———. 2019. "Respects of Dependence." Studia Neoaristotelica no. 16:49-82.
Abstract: "I consider in this paper respects of dependence, namely, the fact that some entities depend on other entities in some respect or another. In the first section, I provide a characterization of contemporary debates on dependence based on respects of dependence. I also single out seven desiderata a good theory of dependence should satisfy and three ways of interpreting respects of dependence. In the second section, I criticize two of such ways and, in the third section, I defend the remaining option, namely, that respects of dependence correspond to different dependence-relations between entities (e.g., existence-dependence, identity-dependence, and so on). In the fourth section, I develop my theory of Respect-of-Dependence (RD) Relations in order to distinguish between partial and full dependence and between specific and generic dependence, and to qualify RD-relations in temporal and modal terms. Finally, in the last section, I anticipate and reply to three objections against dependence pluralism."
———. 2021. "Respects of Dependence and Symmetry." Studia Neoaristotelica no. 18:31-68.
Abstract: "In this article I discuss several apparent counterexamples to the asymmetry of ontological dependence. These counterexamples were introduced in discussions about grounding, but they can affect every theory of ontological dependence. I show that, if one adopts metaontological pluralism (i.e., the view according to which there are many dependence relations), one has some advantages when it comes to defending the asymmetry of dependence. In Section 1, I introduce metaontological pluralism and my own version of it, which is based on Respect-of-Dependence Relations (RD-Relations). I then single out five strategies to deal with apparent cases of symmetric dependence and show that only two of them are available to metaontological pluralists. In Sections 2, 3, and 4 I deal with cases of symmetric dependence by adopting these strategies. Finally, in Section 5, I anticipate and reply to three objections against my account."
Pearson, Olley. 2018. "Emergence, Dependence, and Fundamentality." Erkenntnis no. 83:391-402.
Abstract: "In a recent paper Barnes proposes to characterize ontological emergence by identifying the emergent entities with those entities which are both fundamental and dependent. Barnes offers characterizations of the notions of fundamentality and dependence, but is cautious about committing to the specifics of these notions. This paper argues that Barnes’s characterization of emergence is problematic in several ways. Firstly, emergence is a relation, and merely delimiting relata of this relation tells us little about it. Secondly, the group of entities delimited as dependent and fundamental do not appear to be the group of emergent entities. Rather, some entities appear to be dependent and fundamental and not emergent, whilst other entities appear to be emergent and not dependent and fundamental. The moral drawn is that in order to provide a characterization of emergence one must go beyond what Barnes says explicitly. It is also shown that a potentially fruitful way of doing this would be to further specify the notion of dependence at issue revealing it to be asymmetric and perhaps merely nomological."
Barnes, E. (2012). Emergence and fundamentality. Mind, 121(484), 873–901.
Plantinga, Alvin. 1979. "De Essentia." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 7:101-121.
Abstract: "In this paper I propose an amendment to Chisholm's definition of individual essence.[*] I then argue that a thing has more than one individual essence and that there is no reason to believe no one grasps anyone else's essence. The remainder of the paper is devoted to a refutation of existentialism, the view that the essence of an object X (along with propositions and states of affairs directly about x) is ontologically dependent upon x in the sense that it could not have existed if x had not existed."
[*] Roderick Chisholm, Person and Object (London: Allen and Unwin 1976), p. 29: "D.I.5 G is an individual essence (or haecceity) =Df G is a property which is such that, for every x, x has G if and only if x is necessarily such that it has G, and it is impossible that there is a y other than x such that y has G." (Note added)
Poli, Roberto. 2010. "Spheres of Being and the Network of Ontological Dependencies." Polish Journal of Philosophy no. 4:171-182.
Abstract: "Ontological categories form a network of ties of dependence. In this regard, the richest source of distinctions consists in the medieval discussion on the divisions of being.
After a preliminary examination of some of those divisions, the paper pays attention to Roman Ingarden's criteria for classifying the various types of ontological dependence. The following are the main conclusions that can be drawn from this exercise. Ingarden suggests that (1) the most general principles framing the categories of particulars are based on couples of mutually opposed principles; (2) the most general among these couples of principles appear to be based on three different types of modalities; (3) subsequent couples of opposed principles do not see to require the introduction of further types of modalities, and (4) the overall typology shows that there are three spheres of being, respectively composed of ideal entities, real entities and intentional entities as contents of psychological acts."
Prescott-Couch, Alexander. 2017. "Explanation and Manipulation." Noûs no. 51:484-520.
Abstract: "I argue that manipulationist theories of causation fail as accounts of causal structure, and thereby as theories of “actual causation” and causal explanation. I focus on two kinds of problem cases, which I call “Perceived Abnormality Cases” and “Ontological Dependence Cases.” The cases illustrate that basic facts about social systems—that individuals are sensitive to perceived abnormal conditions and that certain actions metaphysically depend on institutional rules—pose a challenge for manipulationist theories and for counterfactual theories more generally. I then show how law-based accounts of causal structure can answer such challenges. The moral of the story is that the basic manipulationist idea that our interest in causal structure is driven by our interest in manipulating our environment faces decisive problems in a central domain of application, the social sciences."
Rosen, Gideon. 2010. "Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction." In Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology, edited by Hale, Bob and Hoffmann, Aviv, 109-135. New York: Oxford University Press.
"Introduction: This essay is a plea for ideological toleration. Philosophers are right to be fussy about the words they use, especially in metaphysics where bad vocabulary has been a source of grief down through the ages. But they can sometimes be too fussy, dismissing as ‘unintelligible’ or ‘obscure’ certain forms of language that are perfectly meaningful by ordinary standards and which may be of some real use.
So it is, I suggest, with certain idioms of metaphysical determination and dependence. We say that one class of facts depends upon or is grounded in another.
We say that a thing possesses one property in virtue of possessing another, or that one proposition makes another true. These idioms are common, as we shall see, but they are not part of anyone’s official vocabulary. The general tendency is to admit them for heuristic purposes, where the aim is to point the reader’s nose in the direction of some philosophical thesis, but then to suppress them in favor of other, allegedly more hygienic formulations when the time comes to say exactly what we mean. The thought is apparently widespread that while these ubiquitous idioms are sometimes convenient, they are ultimately too unclear or too confused, or perhaps simply too exotic to figure in our first-class philosophical vocabulary.
Against this tendency, I suggest that with a minimum of regimentation these metaphysical notions can be rendered clear enough, and that much is to be gained by incorporating them into our analytic tool kit. I make this proposal in an experimental spirit. Let us see how things look if we relax our antiseptic scruples for a moment and admit the idioms of metaphysical dependence into our official lexicon alongside the modal notions (metaphysical necessity and possibility, the various forms of supervenience) with which they are often said to contrast unfavorably. If this only muddies the waters, nothing is lost; we can always retrench. If something is gained, however, as I believe it is, we may find ourselves in a position to make some progress. (pp. 109-110)
Rosenkrantz, Gary S. 2018. "Of Facts and Things." International Journal of Philosophical Studies no. 26:679-700.
Abstract: "This paper examines the ontological status of individual substances; intuitive examples of such entities include particles and living organisms. My aim is to assess the ontological status of individual substances in the light of arguments for an ontology of [concrete] facts, often called states of affairs. Advocates of a fact ontology have argued that these factive entities are the ontologically fundamental beings. I will address the salient question of whether individual substances are reducible to, or eliminable in favor of, facts. I will further address the question of whether individual substances, even if not reducible to facts, are nonetheless ontologically dependent upon facts in a way that undercuts the claim that some individual substances are ontologically fundamental. Finally, I will argue that a persuasive case for the claim that facts are what is ontologically fundamental has yet to be made."
Rosenkrantz, Gary S., and Hoffmann, Joshua. 1991. "The Independence Criterion of Substance." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research no. 51:835-853.
"According to a traditional view, an individual substance is that which could exist all by itself or which in some sense is "independent." In this paper, we construct a new version of an analysis of the notion of substance in terms of independence, and argue for its adequacy.
It should be noted that our project is to analyze the concept of individual substance as ordinarily understood, paradigm instances of which seem to be particular material objects and persons."
"For the purposes of our analysis we shall assume (plausibly, we think) that a thing in this ordinary sense, i.e., an individual substance, is not reducible to or identifiable with an entity of another kind or ontological category, e.g., a set or collection of either properties, ideas, sense-data, or events. (This does not rule out the possibility that a substance can be eliminated in favor of an entity of another kind or ontological category."
Since there is considerable disagreement among philosophers about what kinds of entities could exist, and since such disagreement is difficult to resolve, there is an advantage, epistemically speaking, in providing an analysis of substance which is ontologically neutral." (pp. 835-836, notes omitted)
Rydéhn, Henrik. 2018. "Grounding and Ontological dependence." Synthese no. 198:1231-1256.
Abstract: "Recent metaphysics has seen a surge of interest in grounding—a relation of non-causal determination underlying a distinctive kind of explanation common in philosophy. In this article, I investigate the connection between grounding and another phenomenon of great interest to metaphysics: ontological dependence. There are interesting parallels between the two phenomena: for example, both are commonly invoked through the use of “dependence” terminology, and there is a great deal of overlap in the motivations typically appealed to when introducing them. I approach the question of the relationship between grounding and ontological dependence through an investigation of their modal connections (or lack thereof). I argue, firstly, that on the common assumption that grounding is factive, it can be shown that no known variety of rigid ontological dependence is either necessary or sufficient for grounding. I also offer some suggestions in support of the claim that this generalizes to every possible form of rigid ontological dependence. I then broaden the discussion by considering a non-factive conception of grounding, as well as by looking at forms of generic (rather than rigid) ontological dependence. I argue that there is at least one form of rigid ontological dependence that is sufficient for non-factive grounding, and that a form of generic dependence may be necessary (but not sufficient) both for factive and non-factive grounding. However, justifying even these fairly weak modal connections between grounding and ontological dependence turns out to require some quite specific and substantive assumptions about the two phenomena that have only rarely been discussed."
Sacchi, Elisabetta, and Voltolini, Alberto. 2012. "To Think is to Have Something in One’s Thought." Quaestio no. 12:395-422.
"In this paper we will focus on the most basic form of intentionality, namely reference intentionality or aboutness: the property an intentional event or state (for short: a thought) has of being about, or of, a certain object, the entity thereby labelled the intentional object. Hereafter, by “intentionality” we will mean reference intentionality.
Along with a well-honoured tradition, we will accept that intentionality is at least a property a thought holds necessarily, i.e., in all possible worlds that contain it; more specifically, a necessary relation, namely the relation of existential dependence of the thought on its intentional object. Yet we will first of all try to show that intentionality is more than that. For we will claim that intentionality is an essential property of the thought, namely a property whose predication to the thought is true in virtue of the identity, or nature, of such a thought. More particularly, for us intentionality will again be a relation, yet a relation of ontological dependence of the thought on its intentional object; specifically, the relation for the thought of being constituted by its object." (p. 395, notes omitted)
Schnieder, Benjamin. 2006. "A Certain Kind of Trinity: Dependence, Substance, Explanation." Philosophical Studies no. 129:393-419.
Abstract: "The main contribution of this paper is a novel account of ontological dependence. While dependence is often explained in terms of modality and existence, there are relations of dependence that slip through the mesh of such an account. Starting from an idea proposed by Jonathan Lowe, the article develops an account of ontological dependence based on a notion of explanation; on its basis, certain relations of dependence can be established that cannot be accounted by the modal-existential account.
Dependence is only one of two main topics of this paper, for it is approached via a discussion of the category of substance. On a traditional view, substances can be characterised as independent entities. Before the background of a modal-existential account of dependence, this idea appears problematic.
The proposed notion of explanatory dependence is shown to vindicate the traditional approach to substance."
———. 2020. "Dependence." In The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding, edited by Raven, Michael J., 107-120. New York: Routledge.
"Not all entities are born equal. Some entities exist only derivatively: they depend for their existence on other, more fundamental entities that make the former exist.To study such existential dependencies is an important task of ontology.
Similarly, not all truths and facts are born equal. Some truths are derivative: they are true because of other, more fundamental truths that make the former true; these latter truths can be called the grounds of the former, and the relation holding between grounds and what they ground can be called grounding. Equally, some facts are derivative: they obtain because of other, more fundamental facts, i.e., their grounds.
As illustrated by these paragraphs, characterizations of existential dependence and of grounding can be phrased in similar terms. Dependent entities are often called derivative and are said to owe their existence to other entities that make them exist, just as grounded facts are often said to be derivative and to owe their obtaining to other facts that make them obtain.That observation motivates the question how exactly the notion of grounding relates to notions of existential dependence (and also other sorts of dependency; more on that in what follows).This is the main concern of this handbook entry.
As to the structure of what follows: In §2, notions of dependence are characterized in a general way. In §3, notions of existential and ontological dependence are introduced. In §4, proposals about how existential dependence relates to grounding are discussed." (p. 107)
Schwartzkopff, Robert. 2011. "Numbers as Ontologically Dependent Objects: Hume’s Principle Revisited." Grazer Philosophische Studien no. 82:353-373.
Summary: "Adherents of Ockham’s fundamental razor contend that considerations of ontological parsimony pertain primarily to fundamental objects. Derivative objects,on the other hand, are thought to be quite unobjectionable. One way to understand the fundamental vs. derivative distinction is in terms of the Aristotelian distinction between ontologically independent and dependent objects. In this paper I will defend the thesis that every natural number greater than 0 is an ontologically dependent object thereby exempting the natural numbers from Ockham’s fundamental razor."
Sethi, Umrao. 2021. "The Varieties of Instantiation." Journal of the American Philosophical Association no. 7:417-437.
Abstract: "Working with the assumption that properties depend for their instantiation on substances, I argue against a unitary analysis of instantiation. On the standard view, a property is instantiated just in case there is a substance that serves as the bearer of the property. But this view cannot make sense of how properties that are mind-dependent depend for their instantiation on minds. I consider two classes of properties that philosophers often take to be mind-dependent: sensible qualities like color, and bodily sensations like itches. Given that the mind is never itself literally red or itchy, we cannot explain the instantiation of these qualities as a matter of their having a mental bearer. Appealing to insights from Berkeley, I defend a view on which a property can be instantiated not in virtue of having a bearer—mental or material—but rather in virtue of being the object of a conscious act of perception.
In the second half of the paper, I suggest that the best account of sensible qualities and bodily sensations ultimately makes use of both varieties of instantiation."
Simons, Peter M. 1987. Parts: A Study in Ontology. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Chapter 8: Ontological Dependence, pp. 290-323.
Smith, Deborah C. 2012. "Rainbows, Time Zones, and Other Mind-Dependent Objects: Making Sense of the Relevant Notions of “Mind-Dependence” in the Debate between Metaphysical Realists and Antirealists." Open Journal of Philosophy no. 2:38-44.
Abstract: "In a recent article, Sam Page distinguishes four kinds of mind-(in)dependence: ontological, causal, struc-tural, and individuative. He argues that, despite the fact that the metaphysical realism/antirealism debate has been frequently characterized as a debate between those who accept and those who deny that the world is causally and/or structurally dependent on minds, many antirealists are primarily interested in de-fending the claim that the world is individuatively mind-dependent. In this article, I critically examine these differing senses of “mind-dependence” highlighting ways in which they remain ambiguous and identifying various entailment relations between them. I argue that there is reason to believe that onto-logical dependence, structural dependence, and the only sort of individuative dependence that is relevant to the metaphysical debate are coextensive notions. As such, any argument that succeeds in establishing that it is incoherent to suppose that everything is ontologically and/or structurally dependent thereby es-tablishes the incoherence of metaphysical antirealism."
Steinberg, Alex. 2015. "Priority monism and part/whole dependence." Philosophical Studies no. 172:2025-2031.
Abstract: "Priority monism is the view that the cosmos is the only independent concrete object. The paper argues that, pace its proponents, Priority monism is in conflict with the dependence of any whole on any of its parts: if the cosmos does not depend on its parts, neither does any smaller composite."
Tallant, Jonathan. 2015. "Ontological Dependence in a Spacetime-World." Philosophical Studies no. 172:3101-3118.
Abstract: "Priority Monism (hereafter, ‘Monism’), as defined by Jonathan Schaffer (Philos Rev 119:131–176, 2010), has a number of components. It is the view that: the cosmos exists; the cosmos is a maximal actual concrete object, of which all actual concrete objects are parts; the cosmos is basic—there is no object upon which the cosmos depends, ontologically; ontological dependence is a primitive and unanalysable
relation. In a recent attack, Lowe (Spinoza on monism. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 92-122, 2012) has offered a series of arguments to show that Monism fails. He offers up four tranches of argument, with different focuses.
These focal points are: (1) being a concrete object; (2) aggregation and dependence; (3) analyses of ontological dependence; (4) Schaffer’s no-overlap principle. These are all technical notions, but each figures at the heart of a cluster of arguments that Lowe puts forward. To respond, I work through each tranche of argument in turn.
Before that, in the first section, I offer a cursory statement of Monism, as Schaffer presents it in his 2010 paper, Monism: The Priority of the Whole. I then respond to each of Lowe’s criticisms in turn, deploying material from Schaffer’s 2009 paper Spacetime: the One Substance, as well as various pieces of conceptual machinery from Lowe’s own works (The possibility of metaphysics. Clarendon, Oxford, 1998, 2010) to deflect Lowe’s (Spinoza on monism. Palgave Macmillan, London, pp 92–122, 2012) attacks. In the process of defending Monism from Lowe (Spinoza on monism. Palgave Macmillan, London, pp 92–122, 2012), I end up offering some subtle refinements to Schaffer’s (Philos Rev 119:131–176, 2010) view and explain how the resulting ‘hybrid’ view fares in the wider dialectic."
Lowe, E. J., "Against Monism", in Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2012, 92-122.
Thomasson, Amie L. 1999. Fiction and Metaphysics. Cambrisge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 2. The nature and varieties of existential dependence, pp. 24-34.
"I have argued that fictional characters are dependent objects, requiring for their very existence such entities as literary works and the creative acts of an author. But they depend on these in different ways — requiring the creative acts of an author only to come into existence, and works of literature to remain in existence — so that it is misleading to simply speak of these indifferently as dependencies. To unravel the details of the status of fictional objects we must step back to examine the concept of existential dependence in general and to delineate carefully the various forms that this relation can take." (p. 24)
"Fictional characters provide an especially good motivation for drawing out a theory of dependence, because they exhibit many different sorts of dependence on many different sorts of entities, and because indeed the dependencies supporting them are layered, as they are dependent on literary works, which are themselves dependent on other entities. We can now utilize this system of dependence to return to make the earlier understanding of fictional objects more precise and detailed. The details of the theory of dependence also prove pivotal to understanding the place of fictional characters in a general system of categories in Part II. But it must not be forgotten that the phenomenon of dependence is completely general — many other types of entities seem to share each of these types of dependence; in fictional characters they are simply combined in an especially interesting way."
Todd, Patrick. 2013. "Soft Facts and Ontological Dependence." Philosophical Studies no. 164:829-844.
Abstract: "In the literature on free will, fatalism, and determinism, a distinction is commonly made between temporally intrinsic (‘hard’) and temporally relational (‘soft’) facts at times; determinism, for instance, is the thesis that the temporally intrinsic state of the world at some given past time, together with the laws, entails a unique future (relative to that time). Further, it is commonly supposed by incompatibilists that only the ‘hard facts’ about the past are fixed and beyond our control, whereas the ‘soft facts’ about the past needn’t be. A substantial literature arose in connection with this distinction, though no consensus emerged as to the proper way to analyze it. It is time, I believe, to revisit these issues. The central claim of this paper is that the attempts to analyze the hard/soft fact distinction got off on fundamentally the wrong track. The crucial feature of soft facts is that they (in some sense) depend on the future. Following recent work on the notion of dependence, however, I argue that the literature on the soft/hard distinction has failed to capture the sense of dependence at stake. This is because such attempts have tried to capture softness in terms of purely modal notions like entailment and necessitation. As I hope to show, however, such notions cannot capture the sort of asymmetrical dependence relevant to soft facthood. Arguing for this claim is the first goal of this paper. My second goal is to gesture towards what an adequate account of soft facthood will really look like."
Tognazzini, Neal A. 2015. "Grounding the Luck Objection." Australasian Journal of Philosophy no. 93:127-138.
Abstract: "Many object to libertarianism by arguing that it manages to solve one problem of luck (the threat of determinism) only by falling prey to another (the threat from indeterminism). According to this objection, there is something freedom undermining about the very circumstances that the libertarian thinks are required for freedom. However, it has proved difficult to articulate precisely what it is about these circumstances that is supposed to undermine freedom—the absence of certain sorts of explanations has perhaps been the most common complaint. In this paper, however, I argue that recent work on the metaphysics of ontological dependence provides the resources for formulating the luck objection in its strongest form."
Toner, Patrick. 2011. "Independence accounts of substance and substantial
parts." Philosophical Studies no. 155:37-43.
Abstract: "Traditionally, independence accounts of substance have held pride of place. Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes and Spinoza—among many others—accepted independence accounts in one form or another. The general thrust of such views is that substances are those things that are apt to exist in themselves. In this paper, I argue that several contemporary independence theories of substance—including those of Kit Fine, E.J. Lowe and Michael Gorman—include an ad hoc element that renders them
unacceptable. I’ll also consider the theories of Hoffman and Rosenkrantz."
Tugby, Matthew. 2016. "Universals, Laws, and Governance." Philosophical Studies no. 173:1147-1163.
Abstract: "Proponents of the dispositional theory of properties typically claim that their view is not one that offers a realist, governing conception of laws. My first aim is to show that, contrary to this claim, if one commits to dispositionalism then one does not automatically give up on a robust, realist theory of laws. This is because dispositionalism can readily be developed within a Platonic framework of universals.
Second, I argue that there are good reasons for realist dispositionalists to favour a Platonic view. This is because the alternative Aristotelian version of dispositionalism, on which universals are immanent entities, is unstable for various reasons.
My final aim is to address a common criticism facing Platonic theories of laws, which is the problem of how external entities can play an explanatory role where the world’s law-like patterns of behaviour are concerned. I argue that the Platonists’ response to the one over many problem can help to shed light on this matter, and a possible solution is sketched, one which makes use of the notions of essence, constitution and ontological dependence."
Wigglesworth, John. 2015. "Set-Theoretic Dependence." Australasian Journal of Logic no. 12:259-176.
Abstract: "In this paper, we explore the idea that sets depend on, or are grounded in, their members. It is said that a set depends on each of its members, and not vice versa. Members do not depend on the sets that they belong to. We show that the intuitive modal truth conditions for dependence, given in terms of possible worlds, do not accurately capture asymmetric dependence relations between sets and their members. We extend the modal truth conditions to include impossible worlds and give a more satisfactory account of the dependence of a set on its members. Focusing on the case of singletons, we articulate a logical framework in which to evaluate set-theoretic dependence claims, using a normal first-order modal logic. We show that on this framework the dependence of a singleton on its single members follows from logic alone. However, the converse does not hold."
Wilson M, Jessica. 2020. "Essence and Dependence." In Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine, edited by Dumitru, Mircea, 283-300. New York: Oxford University Press.
"What I aim to do in this paper is threefold. First, I’ll substantiate my previous claims concerning Fine’s approach to metaphysical theorizing, by attention to his accounts of essence and dependence. Second, I’ll raise some specific concerns about the general principles Fine takes to schematically characterize these notions. In particular, I’ll argue that Fine’s essence-based account of ontological dependence is subject to certain counterexamples. The problem, roughly speaking, is that Fine supposes that an entity’s essence makes reference just to what it ontologically depends on, but various cases suggest that an entity’s essence can also make reference to what ontologically depends on it. As such, Fine’s account of ontological dependence is subject to the same objection he raises against modal accounts of essence and dependence—that is, of being insufficiently general or ecumenical. Third, I’ll close by observing that in cases where the target phenomenon admits of highly diverse applications, as is the case with ontological dependence (or the related notion of ground), there is no guarantee that the search for general principles that are both appropriately contentful and appropriately ecumenical will be successful. Even so, the search for such principles is clearly worthwhile; hence whatever the outcome in a given case, in raising to salience the schema-based approach, Fine has here made a lasting contribution." (p. 284)
Zhong, Lei. 2021. "Physicalism Without Supervenience." Philosophical Studies no. 178:1529-1544.
Abstract: "It is widely accepted that supervenience is a minimal commitment of physicalism. In this article, however, I aim to argue that physicalism should be exempted from the supervenience requirement. My arguments rely on a parallel between ontological dependence and causal dependence. Since causal dependence does not require causal determination, ontological dependence should not require ontological determination either. Moreover, my approach has a significant theoretical advantage: if physicalism is not committed to supervenience, then the metaphysical possibility of zombies—which is still wide open after all these years—would pose no challenge to physicalism."
Zylstra, Justin. 2014. "Dependence and Fundamentality." Studia Philosophica Estonica no. 7:5-28.
Abstract: "I argue that dependence is neither necessary nor sufficient for relative fundamentality.
I then introduce the notion of ‘likeness in nature’ and provide an account of relative fundamentality in terms of it and the notion of dependence. Finally, I discuss some puzzles that arise in Aristotle’s Categories, to which the theory developed is applied."