PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Ground and Other Dependencies: On the Nature and Role of Verticality in Science (Sponsored by the Society for the Metaphysics of Science)

Thursday, 3 November 2016
10:45 - 12:15

Piedmont 3 (12th Floor)

Chair: Lorenzo Casini, University of Geneva

Ground is believed to be a vertical form of metaphysical dependence, whereby more fundamental facts ground—and thereby explain—less fundamental facts. In metaphysics, this notion has recently drawn much attention, for example, in theories of essence or truth-making. Intuitively, many scientific claims are grounding claims, too: macroscopic gas laws are grounded in the behaviors of individual gas particles, natural selection is grounded in interactions between individual organisms and their environment, economic phenomena are grounded in individual preferences and expectations, etc. Although ground talk has become increasingly popular in recent philosophy of science, the usefulness of this notion for characterizing vertical dependencies in science has not yet been critically scrutinized. In this symposium, scholars from different areas and with a variety of perspectives will address the question: Does ground have the right credentials for characterizing the nature and scientific role of vertical dependencies? In particular, is ground superior to alternative interpretations such as realization or supervenience? And is it compatible with other widespread theses (e.g., that laws explain their instances)? A number of specific grounding claims will be considered in this symposium, involving constitutive relations, functional explanations, and scientific laws.

Humean Laws, Grounding and Scientific Explanation: the Disambiguation Strategy
Pablo Carnino, University of Geneva (Visiting at Princeton University at the time of the event),
Non-Causal Determination in Science: Compositional Realization or Ground?
Kenneth Aizawa, Rutgers University, Newark,
Why Grounding does Not Back Scientific Explanation
Carl Gillett, Northern Illinois University,
Still no work for a theory of grounding
Stuart Glennan, Butler University,


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