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In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 341--63 (2008)

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  1. Defending Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (1):23-49.
    Metaphysics is supposed to tell us about the metaphysical nature of our world: under what conditions composition occurs; how objects persist through time; whether properties are universals or tropes. It is near orthodoxy that whichever of these sorts of metaphysical claims is true is necessarily true. This paper looks at the debate between that orthodox view and a recently emerging view that claims like these are contingent, by focusing on the metaphysical debate between monists and pluralists about concrete particulars. This (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    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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  • 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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  • From Nihilism to Monism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):175 – 191.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that all concrete objects are simple. Existence monism is the view that the only concrete object is one big simple: the world. I will argue that nihilism culminates in monism. The nihilist demands the simplest sufficient ontology, and the monist delivers it.
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  • Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach.Robert Carry Osborne - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):197-221.
    Debunking arguments typically attempt to show that a set of beliefs or other intensional mental states bear no appropriate explanatory connection to the facts they purport to be about. That is, a debunking argument will attempt to show that beliefs about p are not held because of the facts about p. Such beliefs, if true, would then only be accidentally so. Thus, their causal origins constitute an undermining defeater. Debunking arguments arise in various philosophical domains, targeting beliefs about morality, the (...)
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  • The Right Stuff.Ned Markosian - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):665-687.
    This paper argues for including stuff in one's ontology. The distinction between things and stuff is first clarified, and then three different ontologies of the physical universe are spelled out: a pure thing ontology, a pure stuff ontology, and a mixed ontology of both things and stuff. Eleven different reasons for including stuff in one's ontology are given. Then five objections to positing stuff are considered and rejected.
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  • Against Ontological Fundamentalism.Ned Markosian - 2005 - Facta Philosophica 7 (1):69-83.
    Suppose you are asked to be the substitute teacher for a high school physics class. Suppose part of your assignment is to explain to the students all about the subatomic structure of a typical macroscopic object, such as a wooden table. Here is a speech that you are likely to find yourself making at some point during your lesson.
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  • A New Role for Experimental Work in Metaphysics.L. A. Paul - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):461-476.
    Recent work in philosophy could benefit from paying greater attention to empirical results from cognitive science involving judgments about the nature of our ordinary experience. This paper describes the way that experimental and theoretical results about the nature of ordinary judgments could—and should—inform certain sorts of enquiries in contemporary philosophy, using metaphysics as an exemplar, and hence defines a new way for experimental philosophy and cognitive science to contribute to traditional philosophical debates.
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  • Unrestricted Composition and Restricted Quantification.Daniel Z. Korman - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (3):319-334.
    Many of those who accept the universalist thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted also maintain that the folk typically restrict their quantifiers in such a way as to exclude strange fusions when they say things that appear to conflict with universalism. Despite its prima facie implausibility, there are powerful arguments for universalism. By contrast, there is remarkably little evidence for the thesis that strange fusions are excluded from the ordinary domain of quantification. Furthermore, this reconciliatory strategy seems hopeless when applied (...)
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  • Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  • Metaphysics and the Vera Causa Ideal: The Nun’s Priest’s Tale.Aaron Novick - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):1161-1176.
    L.A. Paul has recently defended the methodology of metaphysics on the grounds that it is continuous with the sciences. She claims that both scientists and metaphysicians use inference to the best explanation to choose between competing theories, and that the success of science vindicates the use of IBE in metaphysics. Specifically, the success of science shows that the theoretical virtues are truth-conducive. I challenge Paul’s claims on two grounds. First, I argue that, at least in biology, scientists adhere to the (...)
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  • One’s an Illusion: Organisms, Reference, and Non-Eliminative Nihilism.Joseph Long - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (2):459-475.
    Gabriele Contessa has recently introduced and defended a view he calls ‘non-eliminative nihilism’. Non-eliminative nihilism is the conjunction of mereological nihilism and non-eliminativism about ordinary objects. Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects do not exist, where something is a composite object just in case it has proper parts. Eliminativism about ordinary objects denies that ordinary objects exist. Eliminativism thus implies, for example, that there are no galaxies, planets, stars, ships, tables, books, organisms, cells, molecules, or atoms. Non-eliminativism is (...)
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  • Gunky Objects, Junky Worlds, and Weak Mereological Universalism.Deborah C. Smith - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (1):41-55.
    Einar Bohn has argued that principles of composition must be contingent if gunky objects and junky worlds are both metaphysically possible. This paper critically examines such a case for contingentism about composition. I argue that weak mereological universalism, the principle that any two objects compose something, is consistent with the metaphysical possibility of both gunky objects and junky worlds. I further argue that, contra A. J. Cotnoir, the weak mereological universalist can accept a plausible mereological remainder axiom. The proponent of (...)
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  • Universalism and Classes.Nikk Effingham - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (3):451-472.
    Universalism (the thesis that distinct objects always compose a further object) has come under much scrutiny in recent years. What has been largely ignored is its role in the metaphysics of classes. Not only does universalism provide ways to deal with classes in a metaphysically pleasing fashion, its success on these grounds has been offered as a motivation for believing it. This paper argues that such treatments of classes can be achieved without universalism, examining theories from Goodman and Quine, Armstrong (...)
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  • A Topological Theory of Fundamental Concrete Particulars.Daniel Giberman - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (10):2679-2704.
    Fundamental concrete particulars are needed to explain facts about non-fundamental concrete particulars. However, the former can only play this explanatory role if they are properly discernible from the latter. Extant theories of how to discern fundamental concreta primarily concern mereological structure. Those according to which fundamental concreta can bear, but not be, proper parts are motivated by the possibilities that all concreta bear proper parts and that some properties of wholes are not fixed by the properties of their proper parts. (...)
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  • Emergence for Nihilists.Richard L. J. Caves - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):2-28.
    I defend mereological nihilism, the view that there are no composite objects, against a challenge from ontological emergence, the view that some things have properties that are ‘something over and above’ the properties of their parts. As the nihilist does not believe in composite wholes, there is nothing in the nihilist's ontology to instantiate emergent properties – or so the challenge goes. However, I argue that some simples can collectively instantiate an emergent property, so the nihilist's ontology can in fact (...)
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  • Brute Necessity.James Van Cleve - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12516.
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  • Undermining Motivations for Universalism.Nikk Effingham - 2011 - Noûs 45 (4):696-713.
    Universalism (the thesis that for any ys, those ys compose a further object) is an answer to the Special Composition Question. In the literature there are three arguments – what I call the arguments from elegance – that universalists often rely upon, but which are rarely examined in-depth. I argue that these motivations cannot be had by the perdurantist, for to avoid a commitment to badly behaved superluminal objects perdurantists must answer the ‘Proper Continuant Question’. Any answer to that question (...)
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  • What Could Be Caused Must Actually Be Caused.Christopher Gregory Weaver - 2012 - Synthese 184 (3):299-317.
    I give two arguments for the claim that all events which occur at the actual world and are such that they could be caused, are also such that they must actually be caused. The first argument is an improvement of a similar argument advanced by Alexander Pruss, which I show to be invalid. It uses Pruss’s Brouwer Analog for counterfactual logic, and, as a consequence, implies inconsistency with Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals. While (I suggest) this consequence may not be objectionable, (...)
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  • Junky Non-Worlds.Daniel Giberman - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):437-443.
    A mereological structure is junky if and only if each of its elements is a proper part of some other. The young literature on junk has focused on junky worlds and whether they are counterexamples to unrestricted composition. The present note defends the possibility of junky structures that are not worlds. This possibility complicates a recent attempt in the literature to render junk consistent with a weakened form of unrestricted composition. The upshot is that junky non-worlds threaten the weakened form (...)
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  • Sider, the Inheritance of Intrinsicality, and Theories of Composition.Cody Gilmore - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):177-197.
    I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
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