Susan Stebbing on Well-Foundedness

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Susan Stebbing’s metaphysical method of directional analysis led her to query the assumption that reality must be well-founded, and analysis must terminate in simples. If this is true, she argued, it is a contingent claim about how reality is constituted, not and analytic or logically necessary truth. I present an interpretation of Stebbing’s views about well-foundedness, linking her metaphysics to her philosophy of physics. My interpretation evinces that Stebbing did not, as some scholars maintain, abandon directional analysis in the mid-1930s. Instead, she applied it in her philosophy of physics. Stebbing’s metaphysical method, I argue, differs in key respects from truth-making, to which it has been compared, and from grounding. Stebbing’s metaphysics combines illuminating remarks on well-foundedness with interesting arguments against grounding which could usefully inform the present-day debate.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 7 Nov 2023


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