Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joshua Spencer

Committee Members

Edward Hinchman, Michael Liston


Explanation, Fundamentality, Grounding, Physicalism, Priority, Regress


Grounding physicalism is the thesis that fundamental physical truths ground every other truth. Ted Sider and Shamik Dasgupta have recently put forward a serious challenge to grounding physicalism. The challenge is an instance of a more general challenge concerning what grounds grounding facts, which has been powerfully presented by Karen Bennett. If A is some fundamental fact about physics that grounds some fact B about mental states, then what grounds the fact that A grounds B? The grounding physicalist who says that such facts are either grounded or ungrounded seems to face a dilemma: Either grounding facts are grounded and there is an infinite regress of grounding facts, or they are ungrounded and grounding physicalism is false. I reject the dilemma. I argue that grounding facts are ungrounded and that this view is consistent with grounding physicalism. I argue that rival views that say grounding facts are grounded fail.

Included in

Metaphysics Commons