Universität Wien FIND

180037 SE Grounds and Consequences (2022W)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first served").


max. 25 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Mittwoch 12.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 19.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 09.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 16.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 23.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 30.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 07.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 14.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 11.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 18.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock
Mittwoch 25.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Hörsaal. 2H NIG 2.Stock


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

Chaotic as reality no doubt is, it still displays at least two types of organization. There is first a causal order: my trying to reach a book causes my arm to hit my coffee mug, spilling coffee, producing a stain on my shirt, which makes me say ‘Oh, not again’, which causes my colleague to ask ‘What happened?’, and so on. In this chain, causes produce effects, and in citing the cause, we explain why the effect that followed it happened.

But the world is not only ordered by causation. Why does the coffee mug exist? Because certain particles are disposed in a way that makes them into a coffee mug. Why did Xanthippes become a widow? Because Socrates, her husband, died. Why is it true that grass is green? Because grass is green. Why was Kant a bachelor? Because he was an unmarried adult male. In contrast to causal explanations, which track causes and effects related by causation, these explanations track a non-causal relation that goes by the term ‘grounding’ and holds between grounds and consequences.

Recent analytic philosophy saw a rapidly growing body of literature centered on grounding. This seminar aims at introducing the student to grounding and its main applications. Among others, the following topics will be discussed:
- What is grounding and what are its features?
- How does grounding relate to causation?
- How does grounding relate to explanation in general?
- What is the utility of grounding?
- Applications of grounding to:
i) the definition of other notions, such as truthmaking, ontological dependence, essence and so on;
ii) the formulation of classic arguments (for instance, cosmological arguments, arguments for the incompatibility of determinism and free will, and so on).

Goals: To introduce the student to contemporary discussions around the concept of grounding and metaphysical or non-causal explanation.

Methods: Exposition and discussion of texts.

Some acquaintance with formal logic is a requirement. Though the seminar and the main literature will be in English, students are allowed to ask questions in German.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

The final note consists of two evaluation procedures:

1. Lists of exercises based on pre-read texts will be corrected and evaluated. Submission of at least 1 (one) of the lists is mandatory. If the student submits more than that, only the best grade is taken into consideration. *Answers may be submitted in German or English.*
2. A written short essay on a topic related to the seminar (3000 - 4500 words; *in English or German*) (Mandatory.)

The final note is calculated as follows:
Note of 1. (average note of the best exercise sheet) x 0.3 +
Note of 2. (essay) x 0.7

The conversion of points to the Austrian system follows this table:
8.8 – 10 = 1
7.6 – 8.7 = 2
6.3 – 7.5 = 3
5.0 – 6.2 = 4
0 – 4.9 = 5

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab

- reading of assigned texts;
- submission of at least 1 answered exercise sheet;
- final essay.
Minimum grade for approval (4) = 50% of points


Slides, texts and exercise sheets.


(The list might be updated during the course.)

Bennett, Karen (2017). Making Things Up. Oxford University Press.
Correia, Fabrice (2008). Ontological dependence. Philosophy Compass 3 (5):1013-1032.
Correia, Fabrice and Benjamin Schnieder (eds.) (2012) Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
De Rizzo, Julio. (forthcoming) No Choice for Incompatibilism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy.
Rosen, Gideon (2010). Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction. In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Ruben, D (2011). Explaining Explanation. Oxford University Press. (2nd Edition)
Schnieder, Benjamin & Steinberg, Alex (2015). Without Reason? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (3).
Wilson, Jessica M. (2014). No Work for a Theory of Grounding. Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Do 29.09.2022 09:49