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Composition as Identity - Framing the Debate

In Aaron Cotnoir & Donald Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3-23 (2014)

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  1. Is Composition Identity?Byeong-uk Yi - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4467-4501.
    Say that some things compose something, if the latter is a whole, fusion, or mereological sum of the former. Then the thesis that composition is identity holds that the composition relation is a kind of identity relation, a plural cousin of singular identity. On this thesis, any things that compose a whole are identical with the whole. This article argues that the thesis is incoherent. To do so, the article formulates the thesis in a plural language, a symbolic language that (...)
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  • Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, by Friederike Moltmann. [REVIEW]Byeong-Uk Yi - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):958-964.
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  • Many, but One.Evan T. Woods - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4609-4626.
    The problem of the many threatens to show that, in general, there are far more ordinary objects than you might have thought. I present and motivate a solution to this problem using many-one identity. According to this solution, the many things that seem to have what it takes to be, say, a cat, are collectively identical to that single cat.
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  • Irreducibly Collective Existence and Bottomless Nihilism.Jonas Werner - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-16.
    This paper develops the metaphysical hypothesis that there are irreducibly collective pluralities, pluralities of objects that do not have a singular object among them. A way to formulate this hypothesis using plural quantification will be proposed and the coherence of irreducibly collective existence will be defended. Furthermore, irreducibly collective existence will be shown to allow for bottomless scenarios that do not involve things standing in relations of parthood. This will create logical space for an anti-atomistic form of mereological nihilism.
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  • Why the Social Sciences Are Irreducible.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4961-4987.
    It is often claimed that the social sciences cannot be reduced to a lower-level individualistic science. The standard argument for this position is the Fodorian multiple realizability argument. Its defenders endorse token–token identities between “higher-level” social objects and pluralities/sums of “lower-level” individuals, but they maintain that the properties expressed by social science predicates are often multiply realizable, entailing that type–type identities between social and individualistic properties are ruled out. In this paper I argue that the multiple realizability argument for explanatory (...)
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  • Brute Necessity.James Van Cleve - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12516.
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  • Counting on Strong Composition as Identity to Settle the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):857-872.
    Strong Composition as Identity is the thesis that necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are non-distributively identical to y. Some have argued against this view as follows: if some many things are non-distributively identical to one thing, then what’s true of the many must be true of the one. But since the many are many in number whereas the one is not, the many cannot be identical to the one. Hence is mistaken. (...)
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  • The Ontological Parsimony of Mereology.Jeroen Smid - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3253-3271.
    Lewis famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object is (...)
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  • ‘Identity’ as a Mereological Term.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2367-2385.
    The mereological predicate ‘is part of’ can be used to define the predicate ‘is identical with’. I argue that this entails that mereological theories can be ideologically simpler than nihilistic theories that do not use the notion of parthood—contrary to what has been argued by Ted Sider. Moreover, if one accepts an extensional mereology, there are good philosophical reasons apart from ideological simplicity to give a mereological definition of identity.
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  • The Dynamical Essence of Powers.Andrea Roselli & Christopher Austin - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):14951-14973.
    Powers are properties defined by what they do. The focus of the large majority of the powers literature has been mainly put on explicating the results of the production of a power in certain initial conditions: but all this causal complexity is bound to be—and, in fact, it has proved to be—quite difficult to handle. In this paper we take a different approach by focusing on the very activity of producing those multifaceted manifestations themselves. In this paper, we propose an (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):842-868.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the solutions to the new (...)
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  • Metaphysical Themes 1274–1671, by Robert Pasnau.Claude Panaccio - 2015 - Mind 124 (495):964-968.
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  • What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - New Content is Available for Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.
    This paper develops four proposals for explicating the notion of an ersatz part. It then evaluates each proposal with respect to a number of jobs for which ersatz parts are posited. We argue that each of the four notions of ersatz parthood do better with respect to some jobs, and worse with respect to others. Thus, we think, it’s horses for courses: which notion of ersatz part one chooses will be sensitive to which metaphysical project one is pursuing.
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  • What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.
    _ Source: _Page Count 28 This paper develops four proposals for explicating the notion of an ersatz part. It then evaluates each proposal with respect to a number of jobs for which ersatz parts are posited. We argue that each of the four notions of ersatz parthood do better with respect to some jobs, and worse with respect to others. Thus, we think, it’s horses for courses: which notion of ersatz part one chooses will be sensitive to which metaphysical project (...)
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  • Does Semantic Deflationism Entail Meta-Ontological Deflationism?Benjamin Marschall & Thomas Schindler - 2021 - Philosophical Quarterly 71 (1):99-119.
    Deflationary positions have been defended in many areas of philosophy. Most prominent are semantic deflationism about truth and reference, and meta-ontological deflationism, according to which existence has no deep nature and the standard neo-Quinean approach to ontology is misguided. Although both kinds of views have generated much discussion, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the question of how they relate to each other. Are they independent, is it advisable to hold them all at once, or do they even entail (...)
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  • Two notions of fusion and the landscape of extensionality.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (10):3443-3463.
    There are two main ways in which the notion of mereological fusion is usually defined in the current literature in mereology which have been labelled ‘Leśniewski fusion’ and ‘Goodman fusion’. It is well-known that, with Minimal Mereology as the background theory, every Leśniewski fusion also qualifies as a Goodman fusion. However, the converse does not hold unless stronger mereological principles are assumed. In this paper I will discuss how the gap between the two notions can be filled, focussing in particular (...)
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  • On Atomic Composition as Identity.Roberto Loss - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4519-4542.
    In this paper I address two important objections to the theory called ‘ Composition as Identity’ : the ‘wall-bricks-and-atoms problem’, and the claim that CAI entails mereological nihilism. I aim to argue that the best version of CAI capable of addressing both problems is the theory I will call ‘Atomic Composition as Identity’ which consists in taking the plural quantifier to range only over proper pluralities of mereological atoms and every non-atomic entity to be identical to the plurality of atoms (...)
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  • Parts Ground the Whole and Are Identical to It.Roberto Loss - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):489-498.
    What is the relation between parts taken together and the whole that they compose? The recent literature appears to be dominated by two different answers to this question, which are normally thought of as being incompatible. According to the first, parts taken together are identical to the whole that they compose. According to the second, the whole is grounded in its parts. The aim of this paper is to make some theoretical room for the view according to which parts ground (...)
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  • Composition, Identity and Plural Ontology.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9193-9210.
    According to ‘Strong Composition as Identity’, if an entity is composed of a plurality of entities, it is identical to them. As it has been argued in the literature, SCAI appears to give rise to some serious problems which seem to suggest that SCAI-theorists should take their plural quantifier to be governed by some ‘weak’ plural comprehension principle and, thus, ‘exclude’ some kinds of pluralities from their plural ontology. The aim of this paper is to argue that, contrary to what (...)
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  • No Universalism Without Gunk? Composition as Identity and the Universality of Identity.Manuel Lechthaler - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4441-4452.
    Philosophers disagree whether composition as identity entails mereological universalism. Bricker :264–294, 2016) has recently considered an argument which concludes that composition as identity supports universalism. The key step in this argument is the thesis that any objects are identical to some object, which Bricker justifies with the principle of the universality of identity. I will spell out this principle in more detail and argue that it has an unexpected consequence. If the universality of identity holds, then composition as identity not (...)
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  • Mereological Composition and Plural Quantifier Semantics.Manuel Lechthaler & Ceth Lightfield - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):943-958.
    Mereological universalists and nihilists disagree on the conditions for composition. In this paper, we show how this debate is a function of one’s chosen semantics for plural quantifiers. Debating mereologists have failed to appreciate this point because of the complexity of the debate and extraneous theoretical commitments. We eliminate this by framing the debate between universalists and nihilists in a formal model where these two theses about composition are contradictory. The examination of the two theories in the model brings clarity (...)
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  • Intensional Composition as Identity.Manuel Lechthaler - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (2):294-318.
    Composition as Identity claims that a composite object is identical to its parts taken collectively. This is often understood as reducing the identity of composite objects to the identity of their parts. The author argues that Composition as Identity is not such a reduction. His central claim is that an intensional notion of composition, which is sensitive to the arrangement of the composing objects, avoids criticisms based on an extensional understanding of composition. The key is to understand composition as an (...)
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  • Contingent Composition as Identity.Giorgio Lando & Massimiliano Carrara - forthcoming - Synthese.
    When the necessity of identity is combined with composition as identity, the contingency of composition is at risk. In the extant literature, either NI is seen as the basis for a refutation of CAI or CAI is associated with a theory of modality, such that: either NI is renounced ; or CC is renounced. In this paper, we investigate the prospects of a new variety of CAI, which aims to preserve both NI and CC. This new variety of CAI is (...)
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  • Causally Redundant Social Objects: Rejoinder to Elder-Vass.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2014 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 44 (6):798-809.
    In Elder-Vass’s response to my it is maintained: that a social object is not identical with but is merely composed of its suitably interrelated parts; that a social object is necessarily indistinguishable in terms of its causal capacities from its interrelated parts; and that ontological individualism lacks an adequate ontological justification. In this reply, I argue that in view of the so-called redescription principle defended by Elder-Vass ought to be reformulated and renamed; that the conjunction of and renders social objects (...)
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  • Causal Powers and Social Ontology.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2020 - Synthese 197 (3):1357-1377.
    Over the last few decades, philosophers and social scientists have applied the so-called powers ontology to the social domain. I argue that this application is highly problematic: many of the alleged powers in the social realm violate the intrinsicality condition, and those that can be coherently taken to be intrinsic to their bearers are arguably causally redundant. I end the paper by offering a diagnosis of why philosophers and social scientists have been tempted to think that there are powers in (...)
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  • Facet Theory and the Mapping Sentence As Hermeneutically Consistent Structured Meta-Ontology and Structured Meta-Mereology.Paul M. W. Hackett - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Mereology Then and Now.Rafał Gruszczyński & Achille C. Varzi - 2015 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 24 (4):409–427.
    This paper offers a critical reconstruction of the motivations that led to the development of mereology as we know it today, along with a brief description of some problems that define current research in the field.
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  • An Argument for the Ontological Innocence of Mereology.Rohan French - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (4):683-704.
    In Parts of Classes David Lewis argued that mereology is ‘ontologically innocent’, mereological notions not incurring additional ontological commitments. Unfortunately, though, Lewis’s argument for this is not fully spelled out. Here we use some formal results concerning translations between formal languages to argue for the ontological innocence of mereology directly.
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  • Each Thing Is Fundamental: Against Hylomorphism and Hierarchical Structure.M. Oreste Fiocco - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3):289-301.
    Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe (...)
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  • Is Mereology Ontologically Innocent? Well, It Depends….Christian J. Feldbacher-Escamilla - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (2):395-424.
    Mereology, the theory of parts and wholes, is sometimes used as a framework for categorisation because it is regarded as ontologically innocent in the sense that the mereological fusion of some entities is nothing over and above the entities. In this paper it is argued that an adequate answer to the question of whether the thesis of the ontological innocence of mereology holds relies crucially on the underlying theory of reference. It is then shown that upholding the thesis comes at (...)
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  • Composition as Identity, Universalism, and Generic Quantifiers.Edward Falls - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (5):1277-1291.
    Composition as Identity is, roughly, the thesis that the parts of a whole, taken collectively, are in some sense identical with the whole. Einar Duenger Bohn argues for Universalism from CAI. Universalism says that composition is totally unrestricted: wherever two or more objects occur, an instance of composition occurs, however unnatural or gerrymandered. Bohn’s argument relies on inferences with generic quantifiers, but he does not provide a clear account of generic quantification. My argument is that on the most plausible approach (...)
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  • An Applied Mereology of the City: Unifying Science and Philosophy for Urban Planning.Shane Epting - 2016 - Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (5):1361-1374.
    Based on their research showing that growing cities follow basic principles, two theoretical physicists, Luis Bettencourt and Geoffrey West, call for researchers and professionals to contribute to a grand theory of urban sustainability. In their research, they develop a ‘science of the city’ to help urban planners address problems that arise from population increases. Although they provide valuable insights for understanding urban sustainability issues, they do not give planners a manageable way to approach such problems. I argue that developing an (...)
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  • Against Mereological Nominalism: Reply to Effingham.Javier Cumpa & Alexandre Declos - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):8991-9011.
    Mereological Nominalism, as traditionally understood, states that properties are mereological wholes and that instantiation is mereological. Thus defined, this view faces a number of well-known issues, which make it virtually untenable. Recently, Effingham :160–185, 2020) has offered an alternative account of Mereological Nominalism, which intends to avoid these problems by accepting while rejecting. In this paper, we argue that this theory is not viable for two main reasons. First, it faces a threat of circularity. Second, the various non-mereological accounts of (...)
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  • Mereology and Identity.Massimiliano Carrara & Giorgio Lando - 2021 - Synthese:4205-4227.
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  • Composition, Indiscernibility, Coreferentiality.Massimiliano Carrara & Giorgio Lando - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):119-142.
    According to strong composition as identity, the logical principles of one–one and plural identity can and should be extended to the relation between a whole and its parts. Otherwise, composition would not be legitimately regarded as an identity relation. In particular, several defenders of strong CAI have attempted to extend Leibniz’s Law to composition. However, much less attention has been paid to another, not less important feature of standard identity: a standard identity statement is true iff its terms are coreferential. (...)
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  • Failure of Boredom: The Pendulum of Composition as Identity.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):281-292.
    This paper provides new arguments for the following claim: either strong composition as identity cannot retain the full strength of both the logical principles of one-one identity and its semantical principles or it only delivers cases of boring composition in that it entails mereological nihilism.
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  • Composition, Identity, and Emergence.Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (3):429-443.
    Composition as Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strictly and literally, identical to its parts, considered collectively. McDaniel [2008] argues against CAI in that it prohibits emergent properties. Recently Sider [2014] exploited the resources of plural logic and extensional mereology to undermine McDaniel’s argument. He shows that CAI identifies extensionally equivalent pluralities – he calls it the Collapse Principle – and then shows how this identification rescues CAI from the emergentist argument. In this paper I first give a (...)
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  • Composition is Identity and Mereological Nihilism.Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):219-235.
    Composition is Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strict and literally, its parts considered collectively. Mereological Nihilism is the thesis that there are no composite objects whatsoever instead. This paper argues that they are equivalent, at least insofar as Composition is Identity is phrased in a particular way. It then addresses some consequences of such equivalence.
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  • The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
    What is the relationship between objects and properties? According to a standard view, there are primitive individuals that ‘instantiate’ or ‘have’ various properties. According to a rival view, objects are mere ‘bundles’ of properties. While there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of primitive individuals, there are also a number of challenges that the bundle theorist faces. The goal of this paper is to formulate a view about the relationship between objects and properties that avoids many of the (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
    Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys (...)
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  • The Limits of Classical Mereology: Mixed Fusions and the Failures of Mereological Hybridism.Joshua Kelleher - 2020 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    In this thesis I argue against unrestricted mereological hybridism, the view that there are absolutely no constraints on wholes having parts from many different logical or ontological categories, an exemplar of which I take to be ‘mixed fusions’. These are composite entities which have parts from at least two different categories – the membered (as in classes) and the non-membered (as in individuals). As a result, mixed fusions can also be understood to represent a variety of cross-category summation such as (...)
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  • Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - forthcoming - In Rikki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics. Routledge.
    Let us distinguish two kinds of contingentism: entity contingentism and metaphysical contingentism. Here, I use ‘entity’ very broadly to include anything over which we can quantify—objects (abstract and concrete), properties, and relations. Then entity contingentism about some entity, E, is the view that E exists contingently: that is, that E exists in some possible worlds and not in others. By contrast, entity necessitarianism about E is the view that E exists of necessity: that is, that E exists in all possible (...)
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  • De l’Universalisme au Monisme.Guillaume Bucchioni - 2020 - Ithaque 2020:49-79.
    Dans son article From Nihilism to Monism, Jonathan Schaffer montre que les partisans du Nihilisme de la Composition ont de bonnes raisons d’accepter le Monisme d’Existence plutôt que le Nihilisme. De manière analogue, nous souhaitons montrer ici que les partisans de l’Universalisme de la Composition ont de bonnes raisons d’accepter le Monisme de Priorité. Pour montrer cela, nous allons proposer et défendre l’argument suivant : Prémisse 1. Si l’Universalisme de la Composition est vrai alors le Cosmos existe. Prémisse 2. Si (...)
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  • The Mereology of Emergence.Ryan Miller - 2019 - Dissertation, The University of St Andrews
    The debate about the ontological innocence of mereology has generally been framed as a debate about the plausibility of Universal Fusion. Ontologically loaded fusions must be more than the sum of their parts, and this seems to violate parsimony if fusion is universal. Less attention has been paid to the question of what sort of emergence mereological fusions must exhibit if they are irreducible to their parts. The philosophy of science literature provides several models of such strong emergence. Examining those (...)
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  • Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    Composition as Identity is the view that an object is identical to its parts taken collectively. I elaborate and defend a theory based on this idea: composition is a kind of identity. Since this claim is best presented within a plural logic, I develop a formal system of plural logic. The principles of this system differ from the standard views on plural logic because one of my central claims is that identity is a relation which comes in a variety of (...)
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  • Composition as Identity and Plural Cantor's Theorem.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (3).
    I argue that Composition as Identity blocks the plural version of Cantor's Theorem, and that therefore the plural version of Cantor's Theorem can no longer be uncritically appealed to. As an example, I show how this result blocks a recent argument by Hawthorne and Uzquiano.
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