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

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Why Grounding does Not Back Scientific Explanation

Abstract: Recently it has been claimed that so-called “grounding” relations, developed in analytic metaphysics, back compositional, or “constitutive mechanistic”, explanations in the sciences (Schaffer, 2009, forthcoming). I offer reasons why grounding is not the relation that backs compositional/mechanistic explanation. I highlight how when we compositionally/mechanistically explain entity A using entities B_1-B_n we thereby show that A and B_1-B_n are not wholly distinct entities and that the mass-energy of A just is the mass-energy of B_1-B_n. The problem for grounding accounts is that they fail to accommodate such singular features of compositional explanation.

Author Information:

Carl Gillett    
Northern Illinois University


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