Grounding: it’s (probably) all in the head
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In this paper we provide a psychological explanation for ‘grounding observations’—observations that are thought to provide evidence that there exists a relation of ground. Our explanation does not appeal to the presence of any such relation. Instead, it appeals to certain evolved cognitive mechanisms, along with the traditional modal relations of supervenience, necessitation and entailment. We then consider what, if any, metaphysical conclusions we can draw from the obtaining of such an explanation, and, in particular, if it tells us anything about whether we ought to posit a relation of ground.
KeywordsGrounding Explanation Metaphysical explanation
Funding was provided by Australian Research Council (Grant No. 110100486). With thanks to the following who provided feedback on an earlier draft of this paper: Antony Eagle, Mike Raven, Alastair Wilson, Dana Goswick, and Dan Marshall, as well as the audience of the Explananza 2015 for helpful discussion of these issues, and finally, to David Norton for his meticulous proof reading.
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