Grounding and the Direction of Explanation

April 6, 2022 - April 8, 2022
University of Bern

Hochschulstrasse 4
Bern 3012


University of British Columbia
Scripps College
Durham University
University of Vienna
Universität Hamburg
University of Bern
Radboud University
University of Arizona
Rutgers - New Brunswick
University of Bristol
University of Geneva
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tilburg University
University Tübingen
University of Vienna


Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
University of Bern
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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The recent interest in metaphysical explanation led to nuanced debates about the structural features of grounding. Is grounding a strict partial order? Is every partial ground part of a full ground? Are facts about grounding themselves grounded? It is also discussed whether grounding obeys certain very general patterns concerning what grounds what. Does the less complex generally ground the more complex? Do facts concerning small things generally ground facts concerning big things?

At the same time, many first-order grounding-questions concern the direction of explanation. Starting from the infamous Euthyphro dilemma – are the pious things loved by the gods because they are pious, or are they pious because they are loved by the gods? - many co-occurring phenomena leave it open to philosophical debate which of them grounds the other. Are mental phenomena grounded in the physical, or does the mental ground the physical, as idealist positions suggest? Do regularities ground the laws of nature, or do the laws of nature explain the regularities? Do causal facts ground responsibility-facts or do responsibility-facts ground causal facts?

This workshop aims to bring together researchers who investigate the general features of grounding with specialists working on particular metaphysical topics where questions regarding the direction of explanation are pertinent.

The workshop will take place in a hybrid format with presentations at the University of Bern and via Zoom.

To register (and receive a zoom link), please write an email to [email protected].

The workshop is part of the DFG-funded research group ‘Inductive Metaphysics’ (

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April 4, 2022, 9:00am CET

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