Dependence, Substance, Explanation (B. Schnieder)

Published in Philosophical Studies 129 (2006), 393–419.

The paper contains a novel account of ontological dependence. While dependence is often explained in terms of modality and existence, there are relations of dependence that slip through the mesh of such an account. The article develops an account of ontological dependence based on a notion of explanation; on its basis, certain relations of dependence can be established that can not be accounted by the modal-existential account.

The second topic of this paper is the category of substance. On a traditional view, substances can be characterised as independent entities. Before the background of a modal-existential account of dependence, this idea appears problematic. The proposed notion of explanatory dependence is shown to vindicate the traditional approach to substance.