Ricki Bliss: Ultimate Grounds and Infinite Causes

One significant difference between grounding and causing seems to be that there must be an ultimate ontological ground, but causal chains can be infinitely regressive. I explore what the significance of this difference might be for the relationship between metaphysical and causal explanation.

Einar Duenger Bohn: Grounding for Theists

The theist I will be interested in believes that God is the ultimate source of all things (distinct from God itself). More specifically, according to my kind of theist, God is both the diachronic causal source (first cause) and the synchronic grounding source (fundamental ground) of all things. I call this the thesis of divine foundationalism (DF). In this talk, I will focus on the synchronic grounding part of this thesis, what I call DFS, and in particular, what kind of grounding is needed for such a theist. I argue that it’s a notion of grounding where (i) its relata are not just facts, but other sorts of things as well; (ii) it’s not a relation of necessitation; (iii) it’s not itself a fundamental relation; and (iv) it backs explanation, rather than itself being an explanation. I end by drawing a more general lesson for metaphysics as a discipline.

Daniel Giberman: Fact Individuation and Reflexive Full Ground

Some traditional endurantists address the problem of temporary intrinsics by treating material objects as relata of temporary intrinsic properties, the latter being polyadic relations over, rather than constituents of, the objects in question. In this exploratory talk, I will consider a parallel treatment of facts. On this view, facts do not have objects or properties or concepts as constituents. Rather, facts are strictly unstructured relata, related by certain qualitative or “tying” relations to objects and properties that the traditional pictures take to be their constituents. This suggestion is admittedly strange, and I will not attempt to motivate it over competing ontologies of facts. But I will attempt to motivate it as coherent and tenable. I will then deploy this strange view of facts to explore results for the formal properties of ground or metaphysical explanation, focusing on the full (as opposed to partial) conceptions thereof. These relations are standardly assumed to be irreflexive and asymmetric, though some philosophers have questioned these assumptions, arguing or suggesting that ground and/or metaphysical explanation are/is not irreflexive. The result on which I will focus is that these relations may not only be non-irreflexive, but indeed reflexive.

Lina Jansson: Explanatory Directionality and Grounding

The notion of ground has made a prominent rise in Contemporary metaphysics. While much about the notion of ground remains under debate, one feature has reached near consensus. Ground is closely connected to a form of explanation. Ground is something motivated as a primitive metaphysical notion that provides the requireddirectionality for a range of cases of non-causal explanation. I will argue that we do not require a primitive directed metaphysical notion of ground in order to capture the directionality of explanation in the commonly discussed  ases of non-causal explanation.

David Mark Kovacs: What is the Question of Iterated Grounding?

The Question of Iterated Grounding (QIG) asks what grounds the grounding facts. Although the question received a lot of attention in the past few years, it is usually discussed independently of another important issue: the question of whether grounding is metaphysical explanation (Unionism) or merely a relation that ”backs” metaphysical explanation (Separatism). I will show that once we clearly distinguish between metaphysical explanation and the relation (or relations) backing it, we can distinguish no less than four different questions lumped under QIG. I will also argue that given some plausible assumptions about what it would take for some relation to back metaphysical explanation, many salient views about grounding allow us to give ”easy” answers to these questions – easy in the sense that, perhaps disappointingly, we can straightforwardly derive them from the respective conception of grounding without getting into the sorts of complexities that typically inform answers to QIG. The upshot is that while we cannot quite rule out QIG as a pseudo-problem, it is far from clear what the problem is. Moreover, given the present lay of the land, most actual grounding theorists are fully entitled to treat QIG as a non-issue.

Elanor Taylor: Explanation, Distance and Dependence

One way for an attempt at explanation to fail is for the explanans (which does the explaining) to be too close to the explanandum (the thing explained). In this paper I discuss this feature, which I call explanatory distance. I consider some different approaches to explanatory distance, and propose an account of explanatory distance articulated in terms of dependence. I then discuss the implications of this view for some recent applications of grounding, and for the “backing” view of explanation.

Kelly Trogdon: Full & Partial Grounding

It’s desirable to define partial grounding in terms of full grounding or vice versa rather than take both as primitive. And it’s standard to define partial grounding in terms of full grounding—for some facts to partially ground another fact is for the former, either on their own or together with other facts, to fully ground the latter. I argue that the standard definition is incorrect, as there are cases of what I call non-augmented grounding which are incompatible with this definition. I propose instead to define full grounding in terms of partial grounding together with the Aristotelian notion of essence.