On the Reduction of Grounding to Essence

  • Pablo Carnino
Keywords: grounding, essence, necessity


In a recent article, Fabrice Correia explores the project of reducing the notion of grounding to that of essence. He then goes on to provide several candidate definitions and test each of them against a number of objections. His final take on the situation is, roughly, that two of the definitions can handle all of the considered objections. The aim of this paper is to re-evaluate Correia's conclusions in the light of two sources of insights: Firstly, I will argue that one of the objections treated by Correia has been somewhat underestimated, and that it still constitutes a threat against definitions of grounding in terms of essence. Secondly, there are at least two further objections that should be considered by the advocate of such definitions. As I will show, one of them can be neutralized; but the other one is more serious and suggests a clear dialectical edge to an operationalist definition.


Audi, P. (2012). Grounding: Toward a theory of the in-virtue-of relation, Journal of Philosophy 109: 685-711.

Correia, F. (2012). On the reduction of necessity to essence, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84: 639-653.

Correia, F. (2013). Metaphysical grounds and essence, in M.Hoeltje, B.Schnieder and A.Steinberg (eds), Varieties of Dependence. Ontological Dependence, Grounding, Supervenience, Response-Dependence, Basic Philosophical Concepts Series, Philosophia, M√ľnchen, pp. 271-296.

Correia, F. (forthcoming). More on the reduction of necessity to essence, in M. Dumitru (ed.), Metaphysics, Meaning, and Modality: Themes from Kit Fine, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Correia, F. and Schnieder, B. (2012). Grounding : An opinionated introduction, in F. Correia and B. Schnieder (eds), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-36.

Dasgupta, S. (n.d.). The status of ground. Unpublishied manuscript.

Dorr, C. (n.d.). To be an f is to be a g. Unpublished manucript.

Fine, K. (1994). Essence and modality, Philosophical Perspectives 8: 1-16.

Fine, K. (1995a). Ontological dependence, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95: 268-290.

Fine, K. (1995b). Senses of essence, in W. Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Modality, Morality and Belief, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 53-73.

Fine, K. (2012). Guide to ground, in F. Correia and B. Schnieder (eds), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 37-80.

Leuenberger, S. (2014). Grounding and necessity, Inquiry 57: 151-174.

Rodriguez-Pereyra, G. (forthcoming). Grounding is not a strict order, Journal of the American Philosophical Association.

Schaffer, J. (2009). On what grounds what, in D. Manley, D. Chalmers and

R. Wasserman (eds), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 347-383.

Sider, T. (2011). Writing the Book of the World, Oxford University Press, New York.

Skiles, A. (forthcoming). Against grounding necessitarianism, Erkenntnis.

Wilson, M. J. (2014). No work for a theory of grounding, Inquiry 57: 535-579.

How to Cite
Carnino, P. (2015). On the Reduction of Grounding to Essence. Studia Philosophica Estonica, 7(2), 56-71. https://doi.org/10.12697/spe.2014.7.2.04