Samuele Chilovi: Anchoring, grounding, and explanatory laws
Epstein (2015, 2019a, 2109b) presents a powerful and influential argument for the introduction of a novel relation of metaphysical determination he calls “anchoring” and, correlatively, against identifying anchoring with metaphysical grounding. The argument aims to establish this by showing that they have different modal properties: anchoring is a “universal tool” – it “exports”, in Schaffer’s (2019) terminology – whereas grounding does not, as it is “world-bound”. Because of this, they turn out to relate different entities, and so must be different relations. In this talk, I provide a novel diagnosis of where the argument goes wrong. Contrary to extant responses in the literature (Guala 2016b, Hawley 2019, Mikkola 2019, Pagano forthcoming, and Schaffer 2019), I argue that anchoring can be a form of grounding even if we grant all of Epstein’s key (if controversial) insights. Moreover, I show that Epstein’s reasoning has stronger dialectical force against the related but distinct view that social facts are grounded in rules. Even in this respect, however, I argue that there are good reasons to resist this negative conclusion.
Samuele Chilovi is Ramón y Cajal research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy of CSIC. His main areas of research are metaphysics, philosophy of law, (meta)ethics, and social philosophy.