Research Group
in Analytic Philosophy

Grounding Beyond the Fundamental

Date: 26 November 2014

Time: 15:00

Place: Seminari de Filosofia UB

Abstract

In a recent paper, Barnes (2014) suggests that there may be a tension in recent insistence that the object of metaphysics is the fundamental and feminist concerns, which involve views about the (derivative, non-fundamental) nature of gender. Barnes is arguably right about some philosophers such as Cameron (2010), but I claim that this is not representative of "mainstream analytic metaphysics". Rather, increasing interest in the more general notion of grounding (Schaffer 2009, Fine 2009) is not "fundamentalist" in this sense, which can actually exhibit how "mainstream" research in analytic metaphysics can be illuminating for social criticism. I explore precisely the kind of cases about gender Barnes discusses and I contend that the relevant contrasts do indeed involve characteristic grounding contentions. More ambitiously and tentatively, I suggest that the more general notions relevant for discussions in the metaphysics of gender, notably that of a social construction, are similarly characteristic grounding contentions.

 

Barnes, Elizabeth (2014): ‘Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics.’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (forthcoming)
Cameron, Ross (2010): “How to have a radically minimal ontology,” Philosophical Studies 151, 249-64
Fine, Kit (2009): “The Question of Ontology", in Chalmers, D., D. Manley, & R. Wasserman (eds.):  Metametaphysics. Oxford University Press

Schaffer, Jonathan (2009): “On What Grounds What,” in Chalmers, D., D. Manley, & R. Wasserman (eds.):  Metametaphysics. Oxford University Press