Four Questions of Iterated Grounding

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Abstract

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 connection between metaphysical explanation and the relation or relations that supposedly “back” it. I will show that once we get clear on the distinction between metaphysical explanation and the relation(s) backing it, we can distinguish no fewer than four questions lumped under QIG. I will also argue that given some plausible assumptions about what it would take for a relation to back metaphysical explanation, many salient views about grounding allow us to give “easy” answers to these questions—easy in the sense that 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 paper's main upshot is that we cannot expect to make much progress on QIG without first addressing the difficult issue of how exactly grounding is related to metaphysical explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-364
Number of pages24
JournalPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020

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