From grounding to supervenience?

Leuenberger, S. (2014) From grounding to supervenience? Erkenntnis, 79(1), pp. 227-240. (doi: 10.1007/s10670-013-9488-6)

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The concept of supervenience and a regimented concept of grounding are often taken to provide rival explications of pre-theoretical concepts of dependence and determination. Friends of grounding typically point out that supervenience claims do not entail corresponding grounding claims. Every fact supervenes on itself, but is not grounded in itself, and the fact that a thing exists supervenes on the fact that its singleton exists, but is not grounded in it. Common lore has it, though, that grounding claims do entail corresponding supervenience claims. In this article, I show that this assumption is problematic. On one way of understanding it, the corresponding supervenience claim is just an entailment claim under a different name. On another way of understanding it, the corresponding claim is a distinctive supervenience claim, but its specification gives rise to what I call the "reference type problem": to associate the classes of facts that are the relata of grounding with the types of facts that are the relata of supervenience. However it is understood, supervenience rules out prima facie possibilities: alien realizers, blockers, heterogeneous realizers, floaters, and heterogeneous blockers. Instead of being rival explications of one and the same pre-theoretical concept, grounding and supervenience may be complementary concepts capturing different aspects of determination and dependence.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The final publication is available at
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leuenberger, Professor Stephan
Authors: Leuenberger, S.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Erkenntnis
ISSN (Online):1572-8420
Published Online:27 April 2013
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 Springer
First Published:First published in Erkenntnis 2013
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
572551The Contingency of ContingencyStephan LeuenbergerArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/J004189/1HU - PHILOSOPHY