Grounding and necessity

Leuenberger, S. (2014) Grounding and necessity. Inquiry, 57(2), pp. 151-174. (doi: 10.1080/0020174X.2013.855654)

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The elucidations and regimentations of grounding offered in the literature standardly take it to be a necessary connection. In particular, authors often assert, or at least assume, that if some facts ground another fact, then the obtaining of the former necessitates the latter; and moreover, that grounding is an internal relation, in the sense of being necessitated by the existence of the relata. In this article, I challenge the necessitarian orthodoxy about grounding by offering two prima facie counterexamples. First, some physical facts may ground a certain phenomenal fact without necessitating it; and they may co-exist with the latter without grounding it. Second, some instantiations of categorical properties may ground the instantiation of a dispositional one without necessitating it; and they may co-exist without grounding it. After arguing that these may be genuine counterexamples, I ask whether there are modal constraints on grounding that are not threatened by them. I propose two: that grounding supervenes on what facts there are, and that every grounded fact supervenes on what grounds there are. Finally, I attempt to provide a rigorous formulation of the latter supervenience claim and discuss some technical questions that arise if we allow descending grounding chains of transfinite length.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Leuenberger, Professor Stephan
Authors: Leuenberger, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Inquiry
ISSN (Online):1502-3923
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Author
First Published:First published in Inquiry 57 (2):151-174
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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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