Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 12, pp 3059–3081 | Cite as

Grounding: it’s (probably) all in the head

  • Kristie MillerEmail author
  • James Norton


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.


Grounding 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, The Centre for TimeThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

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