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Ontological Innocence

In A. J. Cotnoir & Donald L. M. Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 70-89 (2014)

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  1. The Question About Material Composition as a Question About Boundaries.Gonzalo Germán Núñez Erices - 2019 - Estudios de Filosofía (Universidad de Antioquia) 59.
    Since Peter van Inwagen in his book Material Beings raised The Special Composition Question, many lines have been written about the conditions for two or more material objects to compose a further object. This paper proposes a study of the relationship between composition and the notion of boundary. The question about composition entails drawing a boundary to determine when it occurs and when it does not. There are three traditional answers: restrictivism, universalism, and nihilism. While according to restrictivism, composition occurs (...)
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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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  • Composition as Abstraction.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (9):453-470.
    The existence of mereological sums can be derived from an abstraction principle in a way analogous to numbers. I draw lessons for the thesis that “composition is innocent” from neo-Fregeanism in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  • There is No Reason to Replace the Razor with the Laser.Simon Thunder - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7265-7282.
    In recent times it has become common to encounter philosophers who recommend the replacement of one principle concerning theory choice, Ockham’s Razor, with another: the Laser. Whilst the Razor tells us not to multiply entities beyond necessity, the Laser tells us only to avoid multiplying fundamental entities beyond necessity. There appear to be seven arguments in the literature for the Laser. They divide into three categories: arguments from the nature of non-fundamentality attempt to motivate the Laser by appeal to various (...)
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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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  • Why Ockham’s Razor Should Be Preferred to the Laser.Dean Da Vee - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3679-3694.
    Ockham’s Razor advises us to not multiply entities without necessity. Recently, Jonathan Schaffer and Karen Bennett have argued that we ought to replace Ockham’s Razor with the Laser, the principle that only advises us to not multiply fundamental entities without necessity. In this paper, I argue that Ockham’s Razor is preferable to the Laser. I begin by contending that the arguments offered for the Laser by Schaffer and Bennett are unpersuasive. Then I offer two cases of theory assessment that I (...)
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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 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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  • 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.Harold Noonan & Benjamin L. Curtis - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Much of the debate about identity in recent decades has been about personal identity, and specifically about personal identity over time, but identity generally, and the identity of things of other kinds, have also attracted attention. Various interrelated problems have been at the centre of discussion, but it is fair to say that recent work has focussed particularly on the following areas: the notion of a criterion of identity; the correct analysis of identity over time, and, in particular, the disagreement (...)
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  • Objects for Multisensory Perception.Casey O’Callaghan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1269-1289.
    Object perception deploys a suite of perceptual capacities that constrains attention, guides reidentification, subserves recognition, and anchors demonstrative thought. Objects for perception—perceptual objects—are the targets of such capacities. Characterizing perceptual objects for multisensory perception faces two puzzles. First is the diversity of objects across sensory modalities. Second is the unity of multisensory perceptual objects. This paper resolves the puzzles. Objects for perception are structured mereologically complex individuals. Perceptual objects are items that bear perceptible features and have perceptible parts arranged to (...)
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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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  • Indefinite Divisibility.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):239-263.
    Some hold that the lesson of Russell’s paradox and its relatives is that mathematical reality does not form a ‘definite totality’ but rather is ‘indefinitely extensible’. There can always be more sets than there ever are. I argue that certain contact puzzles are analogous to Russell’s paradox this way: they similarly motivate a vision of physical reality as iteratively generated. In this picture, the divisions of the continuum into smaller parts are ‘potential’ rather than ‘actual’. Besides the intrinsic interest of (...)
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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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  • Priority, Platonism, and the Metaontology of Abstraction.Michele Lubrano - 2016 - Dissertation, University of Turin
    In this dissertation I examine the NeoFregean metaontology of mathematics. I try to clarify the relationship between what is sometimes called Priority Thesis and Platonism about mathematical entities. I then present three coherent ways in which one might endorse both these stances, also answering some possible objections. Finally I try to show which of these three ways is the most promising.
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