An analysis of the grounding relation

Abstract

This dissertation is an analysis of the grounding relation and its use in contemporary metaphysics. In the first three chapters, I consider the relation itself and its formal features. In the first chapter, I argue that there is such a grounding relation and that it is distinct from other relations. Having defended the grounding relation from skeptics, I turn to a discussion of the various features of the relation, starting with its candidate relata. In the second chapter, I analyze the nature and formal features of the grounding relation. In the third, I argue that there is a fundamental level consisting of entities which are ungrounded, and I discuss various proposals about what exists at that fundamental level. The last two chapters focus on the role that grounding can play in contemporary metaphysics. In the fourth chapter, I consider claims that certain relations, including the grounding relation, can yield an ontological free lunch. I examine what it might mean to get such a free lunch, and argue that there is no such thing. Finally, in the fifth chapter, I consider the grounding problem from material object metaphysics. The use of the grounding relation in this debate illustrates how the grounding relation can be used in metaphysics generally, and in the later part of the fifth chapter, I examine that role that the grounding relation can play.

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Social Ontology and Social Normativity.Brian Donohue - 2020 - Dissertation, University at Buffalo

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