Lectures Abstract

I have defended a picture of the world as metaphysically structured by a variety of what I call 'building relations', such as grounding, set formation, and composition. These relations generate nonfundamental entities, facts, and properties, and additionally are the source of their very status as nonfundamental. That is, what it is to be nonfundamental is to be built, just as what it is to be absolutely fundamental is to be wholly unbuilt. I further defend the claim that all it is for one thing to be more fundamental than another is for certain patterns of building relations to obtain. My reductionist story about relative fundamentality is offered as an alternative to taking it as an undefinable primitive, as many have. This picture of the world prompts various questions: how does causation relate to those other putatively synchronic building relations? If causation is a building relation, how does that affect the story about relative fundamentality? What grounds the building structure itself? That is, what grounds the fact that a building relation obtains, when it does? Need general principles be involved? Note too that the overall picture is one that is friendly to nonfundamental entities. They are no less real than fundamental entities, and worthy of metaphysical investigation. In the final talk, I investigate the nature of certain particular nonfundamental entities, namely kinds and groups.