Against Purity

Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (2023)
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A fundamental fact is “pure” just in case it has no grounded entities—ex. Tokyo, President Biden, the River Nile, {Socrates}, etc.—among its constituents. Purity is the thesis that every fundamental fact is pure. I argue that Purity is false. My argument begins with a familiar conditional: if Purity is true, then there are no fundamental “grounding facts” or facts about what grounds what. This conditional is accepted by virtually all of Purity’s defenders. However, I argue that it is also the first step toward Purity’s undoing. For, if every grounding fact has a ground, then some grounded entities have “groundmates” or distinct grounded entities that share their full grounds. But, if there are groundmates, then Purity is false. So Purity leads to a contradiction. Therefore, it is false. I close by noting that my argument against Purity also gives us a powerful reason to think that some grounding facts are fundamental.

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Jonathan Barker
University of Central Florida

Citations of this work

Ideological innocence.Daniel Rubio - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-22.
The Taming of the Grounds.Noël Blas Saenz - 2022 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 52 (8):789-809.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1997 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Metaphysical grounding.Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.

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