Date of Award

August 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joshua Spencer

Committee Members

Michael Liston, Fabrizio Mondadori


Grounding, Ontological Commitment


Many ordinary claims seem to straightforwardly entail ontological commitment to problematic entities, such as numbers and properties. If our ordinary claims or commonplace truisms are indeed ontologically committing, it looks like any plausible theory--that is, any theory that accepts these claims--will fail to be ontologically parsimonious, and any parsimonious theory will be implausible. I argue against four ways to resolve this tension, and focus primarily on the solution invoking grounding. I show that the grounding solution rests on a new conception of ontological parsimony that pries existence and ontologically commitment apart. I argue that this conception fails to differentiate between theories that are otherwise on a par, but between which there remains a salient difference. Therefore, the conception fails as a theoretical virtue. Now, grounding can no longer resolve the tension. I thereby undermine one motivation for positing the grounding relation in the first place--its purported ability to resolve this tension.

Included in

Metaphysics Commons