On the Intelligibility of Grounding Autonomy

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Virginia Tech


Metaphysical grounding has received a great deal of attention in the metaphysics literature within the last decade, offering what many see as an attractive theoretical alternative to other attempts to analyze the nature of fundamentality, e.g., dependence, supervenience, identity, conceptual analysis, etc. Still, a number of commentators note a bevy of issues facing the notion of grounding, leading some to believe it cannot perform the relevant work it has been tasked to do. One such issue is the purity dilemma, posed by Ted Sider, which follows from a plausible constraint placed on our theorizing about fundamentality, viz., that the fundamental bedrock of the world contains nothing but purely fundamental phenomena. It is argued that purity creates a problem for metaphysical grounding in that it makes it increasingly difficult to see what might ground the facts about what grounds what. In this paper, I explicate the purity dilemma, and an attempt made by Shamik Dasgupta to sidestep the challenge, and provide a secure grounding foundation for such facts. I then proceed to defend Dasgupta's view from objections made by Sider, and conclude that, at the very least, the crucial notion (autonomy) on which the former's view rests is intelligible, if it is not tenable.



Grounding, Autonomy, Essence, Grounding facts, Purity, Fundamentality