A defence of the conceptualist solution to the “grounding problem” for coincident objects

Ezequiel Zerbudis


I consider some of the objections that have been raised against a conceptualist solution to the “grounding problem” (the problem of grounding the sortalish properties of material objects in their non-sortalish ones), I address in particular two objections that I call Conceptual Validity and Instantiation, and I attempt to answer them on behalf of the conceptualist. My response, in a nutshell, is that the first of these objections fails because it ascribes to the conceptualist some commitments that do not really follow from the view’s basic insight, while the second objection also fails because (among other things) it (inadvertently) denies the conceptualist resources that the alternative positions are allowed to use.


composition; material object; concept; instantiation; modality; kind


Barker, S. y Jago, M. (2017). Material Objects and Essential Bundle Theory. Philosophical Studies, 175, 2969-86. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-017-0990-6).

Bennett, K. (2004). Spatio-temporal Coincidence and the Grounding Problem. Philosophical Studies, 118, 339-371. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PHIL.0000026471.20355.54

Black, M. (1952). The Identity of Indiscernibles. Mind, 61, 153-64. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/LXI.242.153

Einheuser, I. (2011). Toward a Conceptualist Solution to the Grounding Problem. Noûs, 45, 300-14. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00765.x

Fine, K. (2003). The Non-Identity of a Material Thing and Its Matter. Mind, 112, 195-234. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/112.446.195

Jago, M. (2016). Essence and the Grounding Problem. En M. Jago (ed.), Reality Making, pp. 99-120. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198755722.003.0006

Korman, D. (2015). Objects. Nothing out of the Ordinary, Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732532.001.0001

Quine, W. V. O. (1960). Word and Object, Cambridge (MA): MIT Press.

Rodriguez-Pereyra, G. (2006). How not to Trivialise the Identity of Indiscernibles. En P. Strawson y A. Chakrabarti (eds.), Concepts, Properties and Qualities, pp. 205-23. Londres: Ashgate.

Saenz, N. (2015). A Grounding Solution to the Grounding Problem. Philosophical Studies, 172, 2193-214. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-014-0405-x

Schaffer, J. (2001). The Individuation of Tropes. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 79, 247-57. https://doi.org/10.1080/713659225

Sutton, C. (2012). Coincident Objects, Tally Ho: A Solution to the Grounding Problem. Mind, 121, 703-30. https://doi.org/10.1093/mind/fzs078

Thomasson, A. (2007) Ordinary Objects. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195319910.001.0001

van Inwagen, P. (1990). Material Beings. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. https://doi.org/10.7591/9781501713033

Zerbudis, E. (2018). El conservadurismo realista acerca de la composición de Daniel Korman. Cuadernos de Filosofía, 36, 33-53 (http://revistasacademicas.udec.cl/index.php/cuadernos_de_filosofia/article/view/825).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv2020iss16pp41-60

Copyright (c) 2021 Humanities Journal of Valparaíso

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.