A new solution to the grounding problem

Marta Campdelacreu


Let us consider a statue and the piece of clay out of which it is made, and let us suppose that they start to exist and cease to exist at exactly the same time. According to colocationism, the statue and the piece of clay are two different objects: they have different properties (for example, one is a statue and the other a piece of clay) and, according to Leibniz’s Law, the same object cannot have different properties. One of the most difficult questions for colocationism is that of the grounding problem: given that the statue and the piece of clay share many of their properties (their matter, their microscopic composition, their structure, etc.), what is it that grounds the fact that they have different sortal (or modal) properties? Recently, Catherine Sutton has offered a very interesting answer to the question. However, as I will argue, it cannot be applied to all cases of colocated objects and therefore, it is not an adequate solution to the grounding problem. The main objective of this paper is to present a new solution to the grounding problem that integrates some of Sutton’s theses, but that allows us to give a complete answer to the question. To do this, the notion of a process of coming into existence will be crucial. After presenting the new proposal, I will compare it with the proposals by Kit Fine and Noël Saenz.



colocationism; sortal property; process of coming into existence; Catherine Sutton; Kit Fine; Noël Saenz


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22370/rhv2020iss16pp61-87

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