Forthcoming. ‘Brutalist Fundamentalism: Radical and Moderate’. Synthese. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-022-03705-y
In contemporary metaphysics, the doctrine that the fundamental facts are those which are wholly ungrounded is the received view or something near enough. Against this radical brutalism , several metaphysicians argued in favour of the existence of fundamental facts that are moderately brute or merely partially grounded. However, the arguments for moderately brute facts rely on controversial metaphysical scenarios. This paper aims to counteract the tendency in favour of radical brutalism on scientific grounds. It does so by showing that naturalistic metaphysicians can draw from plausible considerations from physical theory to establish the existence of moderately brute facts. However, should the naturalistic metaphysician embrace moderate brutalism , namely the view that the fundamental facts are those which are merely partially ungrounded? Here I argue for a negative answer, recommending a more inclusive pluralism about the kinds of brute facts we can expect to find in nature.
2022. “Fundamentality and Minimalist Grounding Laws”. Philosophical Studies DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-022-01811-8
What grounds facts of ground? Some metaphysicians invoke fundamental grounding laws to answer this question. These are general principles that link grounded facts to their grounds. The main business of this paper is to advance the debate about the metaphysics of grounding laws by exploring the prospects of a plausible yet underexplored minimalist account, one which is structurally analogous to a familiar Humean conception of natural laws. In the positive part of this paper, I articulate such a novel view and argue for its merits. The minimalist account shuns essences and takes laws to be unmysterious elite regularities. Therefore, it is a promising alternative for theorists of ground who spurn the acceptance of essentialism about the grounding laws but think that these are needed in our theorizing. In the negative part, I argue that widely accepted principles of ground, coupled with the tenets of minimalism, jeopardize the fundamentality of the grounding laws. I discuss two immediately available and prima facie appealing strategies to evade this threat. However, I show that both have undesirable theoretical costs. I conclude by casting doubts on whether the benefits of a minimalist account of fundamental grounding laws outweigh such costs.
2021. “The Fundamentality of Fundamental Powers”. Acta Analytica. DOI: 613: 10.1007/s12136-021-00466-0
Abstract. Dispositional essentialism is the view that all or many fundamental properties are essentially dispositional, or powers. The literature on the dispositional essence of powers is abundant. In contrast, the question of how to understand the fundamentality of fundamental powers has received scarce interest. Therefore, the fundamentality of powers stands in need of clarification. There are four main conceptions of the fundamental, namely as that which is: (i) metaphysically independent; or (ii) belonging to a minimally complete basis; or (iii) perfectly natural; or (iv) metaphysically primitive. Here I present and discuss each of these approaches from the viewpoint of dispositional essentialism. I show that (i) is incompatible with the metaphysics of powers and (ii) – (iv) have more drawbacks than merits. Therefore, my conclusion is that the dispositional essentialist should seek an alternative. Although I offer no positive account, I pave the way to more fruitful views by identifying the shortcoming of these unpromising options.
- 2021. ” Pure Powers are not Powerful Qualities”. European Jorunal of Analytic Philosophy. DOI: 10.31820/ejap.17.1.2
Abstract. There is no consensus on the most adequate conception of the fundamental properties of our world. The pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities claim to be promising alternatives to categoricalism, the view that all fundamental properties essentially contribute to the qualitative make-up of things that have them. The pure powers view holds that fundamental properties essentially empower things that have them with a distinctive causal profile. On the identity theory, fundamental properties are dispositional as well as qualitative, or powerful qualities. Despite the manifest difference, Taylor (2018) argues that pure powers and powerful qualities collapse into the same ontology. If this collapse objection were sound, the debate between the pure powers view and the identity theory of powerful qualities would be illusory: these views could claim the same advantages and would suffer the same problems. Here I defend an ontologically robust distinction between pure powers and powerful qualities. To accomplish this aim, I show that the collapse between pure powers and powerful qualities can be resisted. I conclude by drawing some positive implications of this result.
- 2021. “Grounding Ontic Structuralism” w/Bianchi, S. (IUSS Pavia). Synthese DOI: 10.1007/s11229-020-03001-7
Abstract. A respectable assessment of priority-based Ontic Structuralism demands an elucidation of its metaphysical backbone. Here we focus on two theses that stand in need of clarification: (1) the Fundamentality Thesis states that structures are fundamental, and (2) the Priority Thesis states that these structures are prior to putative fundamental objects, if these exist. Candidate notions to illuminate (1) and (2) such as supervenience and ontological dependence failed at this task. Our purpose is to show that grounding is the best competitor to articulate (1) and (2), and regiment such theses in a desirable unified way. Our strategy is two-fold. First, we make the case that grounding does better than ontological dependence and supervenience. Second, we show that the distinction between partial and full grounds permits us to respond to an objection raised by Kerry McKenzie against the proposal of interpreting priority-based Ontic Structuralism in the idiom of metaphysical determination. Our conclusion is that priority ontic structuralists have compelling reasons for adopting a grounding-based approach.
- 2020. “Fundamental yet Grounded”. Theoria. DOI: 10.1111/theo.12293
Abstract. Grounding is claimed to offer a promising characterization of the fundamental as that which is ungrounded. Detractors of this view argue that there can be fundamental and yet mutually grounded entities. Such a possibility undermines the definition of the fundamental as the ungrounded. I aim to show, however, that the possibility of fundamental mutually grounded entities does not force us to renounce the prospects of characterizing fundamentality in terms of grounding. To accomplish this aim, I defend a grounding-based view that accommodates fundamental mutually grounded entities straightforwardly. My definition of fundamentality is similar to, but importantly different from, one that Karen Bennett (2017) discusses. I conclude by resisting two objections raised by Jessica Wilson (2019) against the Bennettian framework that also target the proposed view.
- 2019. “The Identity Theory of Powers Revised”. Erkenntnis. DOI: 10.1007/s10670-019-00122-5
Abstract. Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a contradiction objection that undermines its merits. We should therefore consider an alternative version that does not embrace the identity claim. My aim is to show that we can enjoy the benefits of the Identity Theory without embracing the identity between the dispositional and the qualitative. I shall argue that a distinction between two senses of dispositionality and qualitativity serves the purpose. I will then discuss three readings of the identity claim that can be formulated in light of such a distinction. I will conclude that even if the identity were to fail in any of the suggested readings, it would be possible to hold an account of fundamental powerful qualities.
- A paper on the metaphysics of the grounding laws
- A paper on causal powers and the universe as a vast entangled system
- A paper on grounding interventionism and difference-making
- A paper powers and artificial dispositions
- A paper on grounding explanation in science