Grounding orthodoxy and the layered conception

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Ground offers the hope of vindicating and illuminating a classic philosophical idea: the layered conception, according to which reality is structured by relations of dependence, with physical phenomena on the bottom, and upon which chemical, then biological, and finally psychological and other phenomena reside. However, ground can only make good on this promise if it is appropriately formally behaved. The paradigm of good formal behavior can be found in the currently dominant grounding orthodoxy, which holds that ground is transitive, anti-symmetric, irreflexive, and foundational. However, heretics have recently challenged the orthodoxy. This paper examines ground’s ability to vindicate the layered conception upon various relaxations of the orthodox assumptions. It is argued that highly unorthodox views of ground can still vindicate the layered conception and that, in some ways, the heretical views enable ground to better serve as a guide to reality’s layering than do orthodox views of ground.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReality and its Structure
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Fundamentality
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780198755630
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Grounding
  • Grounding orthodoxy
  • Hierarchy of reality
  • Layered conception
  • Special sciences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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