Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Graham Oddie

Second Advisor

Kathrin Koslicki

Third Advisor

Robert Pasnau

Fourth Advisor

David Barnett

Fifth Advisor

Michael Tooley


This thesis is about how grounding, in some sense or other, and whether explicitly or implicitly, bears on truthmaking, groundmaking, and wholemaking.

Part I deals with truthmaking and argues that one can be a truthmaker theorist and yet reasonably reject truthmaker maximalism — the claim that all truths have truthmakers. It does this by arguing that there are worlds where it is reasonable to think that negative existentials lack truthmakers but where such worlds do not jeopardize truthmaker theory. It also argues in favor of two claims: It argues in favor of thinking that truthmaking should not be analyzed solely in terms of the grounding relation holding between truthmakers and truths and it argues in favor of thinking that grounding is part of the analysis of truthmaking by arguing in favor of an analysis that makes use of grounding.

Part II deals with groundmaking. What is it that makes it that some facts or things ground other facts or things? Here I both discuss reasons to think that facts about grounding must have a ground and criticize two answers to the above question. One answer has it that the first relatum in facts about grounding grounds that very fact. I show that two arguments in favor of this position, which I call Subtractionism, fail. Another answer has it that facts about the essence of things ground facts about grounding. I argue against this answer.

Part III deals with what it is that grounds complex wholes. It shows that, on an intuitive view of what wholes are grounded in, we have the resources to solve the infamous grounding problem for coincident entities. It is also about facts. The most common account of the nature of facts appeals to their being, in some manner or other, composed of individuals and properties. But not everyone likes this view. In particular, there are a number of mereological objections to thinking of facts as composed of individuals and properties. This part argues that facts are no more mereologically problematic than are the chairs you and I are sitting in.

Included in

Metaphysics Commons