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Simples, Stuff, and Simple People

The Monist 87 (3):405-428 (2004)

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  1. The Intelligibility of Metaphysical Structure.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):581-606.
    Theories that posit metaphysical structure are able to do much work in philosophy. Some, however, find the notion of ‘metaphysical structure’ unintelligible. In this paper, I argue that their charge of unintelligibility fails. There is nothing distinctively problematic about the notion. At best, their charge of unintelligibility is a mere reiteration of previous complaints made toward similar notions. In developing their charge, I clarify several important concepts, including primitiveness, intelligibility, and the Armstrong-inspired “ontologism” view of the world. I argue that, (...)
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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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  • Parts as Counterparts.Aaron Cotnoir - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):228-241.
    Mereological nihilists are faced with a difficult challenge: explaining ordinary talk about material objects. Popular paraphrase strategies involve plurals, arrangements of particles, or fictions. In this paper, a new paraphrase strategy is put forward that has distinct advantages over its rivals: it is compatible with gunk and emergent properties of macro-objects. The only assumption is a commitment to a liberal view of the nature of simples; the nihilist must be willing to accept the possibility of heterogeneous extended simples. The author (...)
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  • Some Things About Stuff.Shieva Kleinschmidt - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 135 (3):407-423.
    I examine the implications of positing stuff as a way to avoid colocation in the case of the statue and the bronze that constitutes it. When characterising stuff, it’s intuitive to say we often individuate stuff kinds by appealing to things and their relations. I argue that if this intuition is correct, there are important restrictions on how we can characterise stuff in order to avoid colocated portions of stuff.
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  • Aristotelian Endurantism: A New Solution to the Problem of Temporary Intrinsics.J. E. Brower - 2010 - Mind 119 (476):883-905.
    It is standardly assumed that there are three — and only three — ways to solve problem of temporary intrinsics: (a) embrace presentism, (b) relativize property possession to times, or (c) accept the doctrine of temporal parts. The first two solutions are favoured by endurantists, whereas the third is the perdurantist solution of choice. In this paper, I argue that there is a further type of solution available to endurantists, one that not only avoids the usual costs, but is structurally (...)
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  • The Physics of Extended Simples.D. Braddon-Mitchell & K. Miller - 2006 - Analysis 66 (3):222-226.
    The idea that there could be spatially extended mereological simples has recently been defended by a number of metaphysicians (Markosian 1998, 2004; Simons 2004; Parsons (2000) also takes the idea seriously). Peter Simons (2004) goes further, arguing not only that spatially extended mereological simples (henceforth just extended simples) are possible, but that it is more plausible that our world is composed of such simples, than that it is composed of either point-sized simples, or of atomless gunk. The difficulty for these (...)
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  • Anaxagoras, the Thoroughgoing Infinitist: The Relation Between His Teachings on Multitude and on Heterogeneity.Miloš Arsenijević, Saša Popović & Miloš Vuletić - 2019 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 15 (1):35-70.
    In the analysis of Anaxagoras’ physics in view of the relation between his teachings on multitude and heterogeneity, two central questions emerge: 1) How can the structure of the universe considered purely mereo-topologically help us explain that at the first cosmic stage no qualitative difference is manifest in spite of the fact that the entire qualitative heterogeneity is supposedly already present there? 2) How can heterogeneity become manifest at the second stage, resulting from the noûs intervention, if according to fragment (...)
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  • What is an Extended Simple Region?Zachary Goodsell, Michael Duncan & Kristie Miller - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    The notion of an extended simple region (henceforth ESR) has recently been marshalled in the service of arguments for a variety of conclusions. Exactly how to understand the idea of extendedness as it applies to simple regions, however, has been largely ignored, or, perhaps better, assumed. In this paper we first (§1) outline what we take to be the standard way that philosophers are thinking about extendedness, namely as an intrinsic property of regions. We then introduce an alternative picture (§2), (...)
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  • The Trinity and Extended Simples.Martin Pickup - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (4):414-440.
    In this paper, I will offer an analogy between the Trinity and extended simples that supports a Latin approach to the Trinity. The theoretical tools developed to discuss and debate extended simples in the literature of contemporary analytic metaphysics, I argue, can help us make useful conceptual distinctions in attempts to understand what it could be for God to be Triune. Furthermore, the analogy between extended simples and the Trinity might surprise some who find one of these at least plausibly (...)
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  • Unextended Complexes.Martin Pickup - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):257-264.
    Extended simples are fruitfully discussed in metaphysics. They are entities which are located in a complex region of space but do not themselves have parts. In this paper, I will discuss unextended complexes: entities which are not located at a complex region of space but do themselves have parts. In particular, I focus on one type of unextended complex: pointy complexes. Four areas are indicated where pointy complexes might prove philosophically useful. Unextended complexes are therefore philosophically fruitful, in much the (...)
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  • Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will see, the (...)
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  • A Tale of Two Simples.Joshua Spencer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):167 - 181.
    A material simple is a material object that has no proper parts. Some philosophers have argued for the possibility of extended simples. Some have even argued for the possibility of heterogeneous simples or simples that have intrinsic variations across their surfaces. There is a puzzle, though, that is meant to show that extended, heterogeneous simples are impossible. Although several plausible responses have been given to this puzzle, I wish to reopen the case against extended, heterogeneous simples. In this paper, I (...)
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  • Mereological Essentialism, Composition, and Stuff: A Reply to Kristie Miller.David Nicolas - 2009 - Erkenntnis 71 (3):425-429.
    In ‘Essential stuff' (2008) and ‘Stuff' (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists. - Stuff composition, the thesis that for any two portions of stuff, there exists a portion of stuff that is their mereological sum (or fusion). She does this by considering competing hypotheses about stuff, trying to (...)
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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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  • A Return to the Analogy of Being.Kris McDaniel - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3):688 - 717.
    Recently, I’ve championed the doctrine that fundamentally different sorts of things exist in fundamentally different ways.1 On this view, what it is for an entity to be can differ across ontological categories.2 Although historically this doctrine was very popular, and several important challenges to this doctrine have been dealt with, I suspect that contemporary metaphysicians will continue to treat this view with suspicion until it is made clearer when one is warranted in positing different modes of existence.3 I address this (...)
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  • Finitism and Divisibility: A Reply to Puryear.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):596-601.
    Puryear develops an objection against a prominent attempt to show that the universe must have a temporal beginning. Here I formulate a reply.
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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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  • Simples and the Possibility of Discrete Space.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (1):117 – 128.
    What are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for an object's being a simple (an object without proper parts)? According to one prominent view, The Pointy View of Simples, an object is a simple if and only if the region occupied by that object contains exactly one point in space. According to another prominent view, MaxCon, an object is a simple if and only if it is maximally continuous. In this paper, I argue that both of these views are inconsistent (...)
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  • Extended Simples.Kris McDaniel - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):131 - 141.
    I argue that extended simples are possible. The argument given here parallels an argument given elsewhere for the claim that the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, not intrinsic as is commonly supposed. In the final section of the paper, I show that if the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, the most popular argument against extended simples fails.
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  • Location and Mereology.Cody Gilmore - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Persistence, Temporal Extension, and Transdurantism.Paul R. Daniels - 2019 - Metaphysica 20 (1):83-102.
    I explicate and defend a non-standard theory of persistence, which I call transdurantism. In short, transdurantism is the view is that objects persist by being temporally extended simples. Transdurantism is sometime misrepresented as a version of endurantism. Other times, transdurantism is misrepresented as a version of perdurantism. But I argue transdurantism must be disambiguated from perdurantism and endurantism—when endurantism, perdurantism, and transdurantism are properly construed, transdurantism stands apart from the other theories of persistence and we can better understand the distinct (...)
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  • Two Thoughts on "A Tale of Two Parts".Joshua Spencer - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):485-490.
    In “A Tale of Two Simples,” I presented an argument against the possibility of extended heterogeneous simples that relied on the possibility of extended atomic regions of space. Andrew Jaeger has presented a parody of one part of my argument for a clearly absurd conclusion. In this short paper, I defend my argument by showing that there is a significant disanalogy between my support for a key premise in my argument and Jaeger’s support for the corresponding premise in his parody (...)
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  • Trenton Merricks' Truth and Ontology. [REVIEW]Kristopher McDaniel - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1):203-211.
    This is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Truth and Ontology.
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  • Form as Structure: It's Not so Simple.Graham Renz - 2018 - Ratio 31 (1):20-36.
    Hylomorphism is the theory that objects are composites of form and matter. Recently it has been argued that form is structure, or the arrangement of an object's parts. This paper shows that the principle of form cannot be ontologically exhausted by structure. That is, I deny form should be understood just as the arrangement of an object's parts. I do so by showing that structure cannot play the role form is supposed to in a certain domain of objects, specifically, in (...)
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  • How to Be a Pluralist in Substance Ontology.Travis Dumsday - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-28.
    The four principal competing substance ontologies are substratum theory, bundle theory, primitive substance theory, and hylomorphism. Both historically and in the recent literature, most arguments pertaining to these four theories have been developed under the assumption that only one of them can be true. However there is room in this debate for various forms of pluralism: mild pluralism here refers to the view that while only one of these four theories is true of our world, there is at least one (...)
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  • Stuff and Coincidence.Thomas J. McKay - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3081-3100.
    Anyone who admits the existence of composite objects allows a certain kind of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with its parts. I argue here that a similar sort of coincidence, coincidence of a thing with the stuff that constitutes it, should be equally acceptable. Acknowledgement of this is enough to solve the traditional problem of the coincidence of a statue and the clay or bronze it is made of. In support of this, I offer some principles for the persistence of (...)
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  • Why Pan-Dispositionalism is Incompatible with Metaphysical Naturalism.Travis Dumsday - 2015 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 78 (1):107-122.
    Pan-dispositionalism is one of the major theories in current analytic metaphysics concerning dispositional properties and how they relate to categorical properties. According to pan-dispositionalists, all fundamental properties are dispositional in nature, such that any supposed categorical properties are either unreal or reducible in some way to the dispositional. I argue that if pan-dispositionalism is true then metaphysical naturalism is false. To the extent that one finds pan-dispositionalism a plausible theory, one ought to question the truth of metaphysical naturalism. On the (...)
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  • MaxCon Extended Simples and the Dispositionalist Ontology of Laws.Travis Dumsday - 2017 - Synthese 194 (5).
    Extended simples are physical objects that, while spatially extended, possess no actual proper parts. The theory that physical reality bottoms out at extended simples is one of the principal competing views concerning the fundamental composition of matter, the others being atomism and the theory of gunk. Among advocates of extended simples, Markosian’s ‘MaxCon’ version of the theory has justly achieved particular prominence. On the assumption of causal realism, I argue here that the reality of MaxCon simples would entail the reality (...)
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  • Atoms Vs. Extended Simples: Towards a Dispositionalist Reconciliation.Travis Dumsday - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1023-1033.
    There are four main theories concerning the ultimate constitution of matter: atomism version 1, atomism version 2, the theory of gunk, and the theory of extended simples. These four theories are usually seen as diametrically opposed. Here I take a stab at ecumenism, and argue that atomism version 1 and the theory of extended simples can be reconciled and rendered compatible by reference to the reality of dispositions.
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  • Essential Stuff.Kristie Miller - 2008 - Ratio 21 (1):55–63.
    Here is a common view. There exist things, and there exists stuff, where roughly, ‘thing’ is a count noun, and ‘stuff’ is a mass noun. Syntactically, ‘thing’ functions as a singular referring term that takes ‘a’ and ‘every’ and is subject to pluralisation, while ‘stuff’ functions as a plural referring term that takes ‘some’ and is not subject to pluralisation. Hence there exists a thing, and some stuff. Usual versions of the common view endorse two principles about portions of stuff. (...)
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  • More Problems for MaxCon: Contingent Particularity and Stuff-Thing Coincidence.Mark Steen - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (2):135-154.
    Ned Markosian argues (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76:213-228, 1998a; Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82:332-340, 2004a, The Monist 87:405-428, 2004b) that simples are ‘maximally continuous’ entities. This leads him to conclude that there could be non-particular ‘stuff’ in addition to things. I first show how an ensuing debate on this issue McDaniel (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81(2):265-275, 2003); Markosian (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82:332-340, 2004a) ended in deadlock. I attempt to break the deadlock. Markosian’s view entails stuff-thing coincidence, which I show (...)
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  • Simples and Gunk.Hud Hudson - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (2):291–302.
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  • Constituted Simples?Jens Johansson - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (1):87-89.
    Many philosophers maintain that artworks, such as statues, are constituted by other material objects, such as lumps of marble. I give an argument against this view, an argument which appeals to mereological simples.
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