Advertisement

Philosophical Studies

, Volume 175, Issue 6, pp 1289–1309 | Cite as

Grounding-mechanical explanation

  • Kelly Trogdon
Article

Abstract

I argue that there is an important similarity between causation and grounding. In particular I argue that, just as there is a type of scientific explanation that appeals to causal mechanisms—causal-mechanical explanation—there is a type of metaphysical explanation that appeals to grounding mechanisms—grounding-mechanical explanation. The upshot is that the role that grounding mechanisms play in certain metaphysical explanations mirrors the role that causal mechanisms play in certain scientific explanations. In this light, it becomes clear that grounding-mechanical explanations make crucial contributions to the evaluation of a variety of important philosophical theses, including priority monism and physicalism.

Keywords

Grounding Causation Explanation Mechanism 

References

  1. Aizawa, K., & Gillett, C. (2016). Vertical relations in science, philosophy, and the world: Understanding the new debates of verticality. In K. Aizawa & C. Gillett (Eds.), Scientific composition and metaphysical ground. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersen, H. (2011). Mechanisms, laws, and regularities. Philosophy of Science, 78, 325–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Armstrong, D. M. (1997). A world of states of affairs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Audi, P. (2012). Grounding: Toward a theory of the in-virtue-of relation. Journal of Philosophy, 109, 685–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baysan, U. (2015). Realization relations in metaphysics. Minds and Machines, 25, 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beatty, J. (1995). The evolutionary contingency thesis. In G. Wolters & J. G. Lennox (Eds.), Concepts, theories, and rationality in the biological sciences. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36, 421–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bennett, K. (2011). By our bootstraps. Philosophical Perspectives, 25, 27–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bernstein, S. (2016). Grounding is not Causation. Philosophical Perspectives, 30, 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Clark, M. (2015). A puzzle about partial grounding. Thought, 4, 189–197.Google Scholar
  11. Correia, F. (2013). Metaphysical grounds and essence. In M. Hoeltje, B. Schnieder, & A. Steinberg (Eds.), Varieties of dependence. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.Google Scholar
  12. Craver, C. (2006). When mechanistic models explain. Synthese, 153, 355–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Craver, C. (2007). Explaining the brain: Mechanisms and the mosaic unity of neuroscience. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Craver, C., & Kaiser, M. (2013). Mechanisms and laws: Clarifying the debate. In H.-K. Chao, S.-T. Chen, & R. Millstein (Eds.), Mechanism and Causality in Biology and Economics. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Cummins, R. (2000). ‘How does it work?’ Versus ‘What are the laws?’: Two conceptions of psychological explanation. In F. Keil & R. Wilson (Eds.), Explanation and Cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  16. Daly, C. (2012). Skepticism about grounding. In F. Correia & B. Schnieder (Eds.), Metaphysical grounding: Understanding the structure of reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dasgupta, S. (2015). The possibility of physicalism. Journal of Philosophy, 111, 557–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. deRosset, L. (2013). Grounding explanations. Philosophers’ Imprint, 13, 1–26.Google Scholar
  19. Doepke, F. (1999). The kinds of things: A theory of personal identity based on transcendental argument. Peru, Illinois: Open Court.Google Scholar
  20. Dowe, P. (2000). Physical causation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fine, K. (1982). First-order modal theories III—facts. Synthese, 53, 43–122.Google Scholar
  22. Fine, K. (1994). Essence and modality. Philosophical Perspectives, 8, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fine, K. (2010a). Towards a theory of part. Journal of Philosophy, 107, 559–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fine, K. (2010b). Some puzzles of ground. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 51, 97–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fine, K. (2012). A guide to ground. In F. Correia & B. Schnieder (Eds.), Metaphysical grounding: Understanding the structure of reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Franklin-Hall, L. R. (2016). New mechanistic explanation and the need for explanatory constraints. In K. Aizawa & C. Gillett (Eds.), Scientific composition and metaphysical ground. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  27. Gillett, C. (2007). Understanding the new reductionism: the metaphysics of science and compositional reduction. Journal of Philosophy, 104, 193–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Glazier, M. (Forthcoming). “Essentialist explanation,” Philosophical studies.Google Scholar
  29. Glennan, S. (2002). Rethinking mechanistic explanation. Philosophy of Science, 69, S342–S353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Glennan, S. (2005). Modeling mechanisms. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 36, 443–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hofweber, T. (2009). Ambitious, yet modest, metaphysics. In D. Chalmers, D. Manley, & R. Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Kaplan, D. M., & Bechtel, W. (2011). Dynamical models: An alternative or complement to mechanistic explanations?. Topics Cognitive Science, 3, 438–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kim, J. (1994). Explanatory realism, causal realism, and explanatory exclusion. In Essays in the metaphysics of mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kitcher, P. (1989). Explanatory Unification and the Causal Structure of the World. In P. Kitcher & W. Salmon (Eds.), Scientific explanation. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  35. Kment, B. (2014). Modality and explanatory reasoning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koslicki, K. (2015). The coarse-grainedness of grounding. In K. Bennett & D. Zimmerman (Eds.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (Vol. 9). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Koslicki, K. (2016). Where grounding and causation part ways: Comments on Jonathan Schaffer. Philosophical Studies, 173, 101–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kovacs, D. (Forthcoming). “Grounding and the argument from explanatoriness,” Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  39. Levine, J. (2001). Purple Haze. Oxford: Oxfrod University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lewis, D. (1991). Parts of classes. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  41. Litland, J. (2015). Grounding, explanation, and the limit of internality. Philosophical Review, 124, 481–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Machamer, P. K., Darden, L., & Craver, C. F. (2000). Thinking about mechanisms. Philosophy of Science, 57, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Miller, K., & Norton, J. (Forthcoming). “Grounding: it’s (probably) all in the head,” Philosophical Studies.Google Scholar
  44. Mitchell, S. (2000). Dimensions of scientific law. Philosophy of Science, 67, 242–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Polger, T. (2010). Mechanisms and explanatory realization relations. Synthese, 177, 193–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Railton, P. (1978). A deductive-nomological model of probabilistic explanation. Philosophy of Science, 45, 206–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ruben, D. (2012). Explaining explanation (2nd ed.). Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
  48. Salmon, W. (1984). Scientific explanation and the causal structure of the world. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  49. Salmon, W. (1989). Four decades of scientific explanation. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Schaffer, J. (2009). On what grounds what. In D. Chalmers, D. Manley, & R. Wasserman (Eds.), Metametaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  51. Schaffer, J. (2010). Monism: the priority of the whole. Philosophical Review, 119, 31–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Schaffer, J. (2012). Grounding, transitivity, and contrastivity. In F. Correia & B. Schnieder (Eds.), Metaphysical grounding: Understanding the structure of reality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Schaffer, J. (2016a). Grounding in the image of causation. Philosophical Studies, 173, 49–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Schaffer, J. (2016b). Ground rules: Lessons from Wilson. In K. Aizawa & C. Gillett (Eds.), Scientific composition and metaphysical ground. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  55. Schaffer, J. (Forthcoming). “The ground between the gaps,” Philosophers’ Imprint.Google Scholar
  56. Shapiro, S. (1997). Philosophy of mathematics: Structure and ontology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Sider, T. (2008). Monism and statespace structure. In R. Le Poidevin (Ed.), Being: developments in contemporary metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Sider, T. (2011). Writing the book of the world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sider, T. (manuscript). The tools of metaphysics and the metaphysics of science.Google Scholar
  60. Trogdon, K. (2013a). An Introduction to Grounding. In M. Hoeltje, B. Schnieder, & A. Steinberg (Eds.), Varieties of dependence. Munich: Philosophia Verlag.Google Scholar
  61. Trogdon, K. (2013b). Grounding: Necessary or contingent? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 94, 465–485.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wasserman, R. (2015). Material constitution. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, Spring 2015 Edition. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/material-constitution/.
  63. Wilsch, T. (2015). The nomological account of ground. Philosophical Studies, 172, 3293–3312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wilsch, T. (2016). The deductive-nomological account of metaphysical explanation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 94, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson, J. (1999). How superduper does a physicalist supervenience need to be? The Philosophical Quarterly, 49, 33–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wilson, J. (2014). No work for a theory of grounding. Inquiry, 57, 535–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilson, J. (2016). The unity and priority arguments for grounding. In K. Aizawa & C. Gillett (Eds.), Scientific composition and metaphysical ground. London: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  68. Wilson, J. (2017). Determinables and determinates. In E. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy, Spring 2017 Edition. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2017/entries/determinate-determinables/.
  69. Wilson, A. (Forthcoming). Metaphysical causation, Nous.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations