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  1. 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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  • Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of contemporary part-whole theories, with reference to both their axiomatic developments and their philosophical underpinnings.
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  • Against Universal Mereological Composition.Crawford Elder - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (4):433-454.
    This paper opposes universal mereological composition. Sider defends it: unless UMC were true, he says, it could be indeterminate how many objects there are in the world. I argue that there is no general connection between how widely composition occurs and how many objects there are in the world. Sider fails to support UMC. I further argue that we should disbelieve in UMC objects. Existing objections against them say that they are radically unlike Aristotelian substances. True, but there is a (...)
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  • Working parts: Reply to Mellor.Robert Williams - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:81-106.
    Two kinds of explanation might be put forward. The first goes like this: the necessary connection between the location of a whole and the location of its parts holds because the location of the whole is nothing but the collective location of its parts. The second style of explanation goes like this: the connection holds because what it is for a material whole to have something as a part, is (perhaps among other things) for the whole to contain the part.
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  • The epistemological objection to modal primitivism.Jennifer Wang - 2018 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 8):1887-1898.
    Modal primitivists hold that some modal truths are primitively true. They thus seem to face a special epistemological problem: how can primitive modal truths be known? The epistemological objection has not been adequately developed in the literature. I undertake to develop the objection, and then to argue that the best formulation of the epistemological objection targets all realists about modality, rather than the primitivist alone. Furthermore, the moves available to reductionists in response to the objection are also available to primitivists. (...)
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  • From Combinatorialism to Primitivism.Jennifer Wang - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):535-554.
    Many are reluctant to accept primitive modality into their fundamental picture of the world. The worry often traces to this thought: we shouldn't adopt any more primitive - that is, unexplained - notions than we need in order to explain all the features of the world, and primitive modal notions are not needed. I examine one prominent rival to modal primitivism, combinatorialism, and show that in order to account for all the modal features of the world the combinatorialist must adopt (...)
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  • Brute necessity.James Van Cleve - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (9):e12516.
    In a growing number of papers, one encounters arguments to the effect that certain philosophical views are objectionable because they would imply that there are necessary truths for whose necessity there is no explanation. That is, they imply that there are propositions p such that (a) it is necessary that p, but (b) there is no explanation why it is necessary that p. For short, they imply that there are “brute necessities.” Therefore, the arguments conclude, the views in question should (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Plenty of Room for Multilocation.Jeroen Smid - 2021 - Erkenntnis 88 (6):1-14.
    Classical mereology is a particularly strong theory about the part–whole relation. Not only does it ensure that any collection of entities composes a whole, or ‘fusion’, it also states that this object is unique: no two entities have the same parts. Recently, Claudio Calosi (dialectica 68(1):121–139, 2014) has argued that this extensional aspect makes classical mereology incompatible with multilocated entities. Calosi’s argument is arguably the most precise one from a whole battery of arguments to the effect that some mereological principle (...)
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  • Plenty of Room for Multilocation.Jeroen Smid - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (6):2365-2378.
    Classical mereology is a particularly strong theory about the part–whole relation. Not only does it ensure that any collection of entities composes a whole, or ‘fusion’, it also states that this object is unique: no two entities have the same parts. Recently, Claudio Calosi (dialectica 68(1):121–139, 2014) has argued that this extensional aspect makes classical mereology incompatible with multilocated entities. Calosi’s argument is arguably the most precise one from a whole battery of arguments to the effect that some mereological principle (...)
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  • Mind the Gap: The Space between Coincidence and Colocation.Jeroen Smid - 2021 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 51 (1):57-73.
    In debates about the metaphysics of material objects examples of colocated objects are commonly taken to be examples of coincidence too. But the argument that colocation is best understood as involving coincidence is never spelled out. This paper shows under what conditions colocation entails coincidence and argues that the entailment depends on a principle that actually rules out certain forms of colocation. This undermines the argument from colocation to coincidence.
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  • Fundamental non-qualitative properties.Byron Simmons - 2021 - Synthese 198 (7):6183-6206.
    The distinction between qualitative and non-qualitative properties should be familiar from discussions of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles: two otherwise exactly similar individuals, Castor and Pollux, might share all their qualitative properties yet differ with respect to their non-qualitative properties—for while Castor has the property being identical to Castor, Pollux does not. But while this distinction is familiar, there has not been much critical attention devoted to spelling out its precise nature. I argue that the class of non-qualitative (...)
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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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  • Quick and Easy Recipes for Hypergunk.Patrick Reeder - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):178-191.
    I argue for the possibility of hypergunk: that is, it is possible that there exists an x such that every part of x has a proper part and, for any set S of parts of x, there is a set S′ of parts of...
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  • Mereology and time travel.Carlo Proietti & Jeroen Smid - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2245-2260.
    Core principles of mereology have been questioned by appealing to time travel scenarios. This paper questions the methodology of employing time travel scenarios to argue against mereology. We show some time travel scenarios are structurally equivalent to more standard ones not involving time travel; and that the three main theories about persistence through time can each solve both the time travel scenario as well as the structurally similar classical scenario. Time travel scenarios that are not similar to more standard arguments (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Ditching determination and dependence: or, how to wear the crazy trousersa.James Norton, Kristie Miller & Michael Duncan - 2018 - Synthese 198 (1):395-418.
    This paper defends Flatland—the view that there exist neither determination nor dependence relations, and that everything is therefore fundamental—from the objection from explanatory inefficacy. According to that objection, Flatland is unattractive because it is unable to explain either the appearance as of there being determination relations, or the appearance as of there being dependence relations. We show how the Flatlander can meet the first challenge by offering four strategies—reducing, eliminating, untangling and omnizing—which, jointly, explain the appearance as of determination relations (...)
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  • Self-Colocation: A Colocation Puzzle for Endurantists.Justin Mooney - 2019 - Synthese (6):5297-5309.
    The recent literature on the nature of persistence features a handful of imaginative cases in which an object seems to colocate with itself. So far, discussion of these cases has focused primarily on how they defy the standard endurantist approaches to the problem of temporary intrinsics. But in this article, I set that issue aside and argue that cases of apparent self-colocation also pose another problem for the endurantist. While the perdurantist seems to have a fairly straightforward account of self-colocation, (...)
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  • Multilocation Without Time Travel.Justin Mooney - 2021 - Erkenntnis 86 (6):1431-1444.
    Some philosophers defend the possibility of synchronic multilocation, and have even used it to defend other substantive metaphysical theses. But just how strong is the case for the possibility of synchronic multilocation? The answer to this question depends in part on whether synchronic multilocation is wedded to other controversial metaphysical notions. In this paper, I consider whether the possibility of synchronic multilocation depends on the possibility of time travel, and I conclude that the answer hinges on the nature of time (...)
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  • Argle victorious: a theory of holes as hole-linings.Leona Mollica - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-16.
    In this paper I take up the task, begun by Lewis and Lewis in their seminal paper on the topic, of offering a theory of holes according to which a hole is simply its hole-lining. I begin by motivating the theory, arguing that it holds interest even absent its original animating concerns of nominalism and materialism, and present desiderata any such theory must satisfy. With this in place, I offer a definition both of a lining and of hole sameness, arguing (...)
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  • Ditching Dependence and Determination: Or, How to Wear the Crazy Trousers.Michael Duncan, Kristie Miller & James Norton - 2021 - Synthese 198 (1):395–418.
    This paper defends Flatland—the view that there exist neither determination nor dependence relations, and that everything is therefore fundamental—from the objection from explanatory inefficacy. According to that objection, Flatland is unattractive because it is unable to explain either the appearance as of there being determination relations, or the appearance as of there being dependence relations. We show how the Flatlander can meet the first challenge by offering four strategies—reducing, eliminating, untangling and omnizing—which, jointly, explain the appearance as of there being (...)
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  • Parts and wholes.Kris McDaniel - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):412-425.
    Philosophical questions concerning parts and wholes have received a tremendous amount of the attention of contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In what follows, I discuss some of the central questions. The questions to be discussed are: how general is parthood? Are there different kinds of parthood or ways to be a part? Can two things be composed of the same parts? When does composition occur? Can material objects gain or lose parts? What is the logical form of the parthood relation enjoyed by (...)
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  • Can Universals be Wholly Located where Their Instances are Located?John Robert Mahlan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):39-55.
    Many philosophers believe that there are both particulars and universals. Many of these philosophers, in turn, believe that universals are immanent. On this view, universals are wholly located where their instances are located. Both Douglas Ehring and E.J. Lowe have argued that immanent universals do not exist on the grounds that nothing can be wholly located in multiple places simultaneously without contradiction. In this paper, I focus on Lowe’s argument, which has received far less attention in the literature. Using the (...)
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  • Against the Humean Argument for Extended Simples.Tien-Chun Lo & Hsuan-Chih Lin - 2023 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 101 (3):551-563.
    Is it possible that there are extended simples—material objects extended in space or spacetime that have no proper parts? The most commonly cited argument for this possibility is based on a version of the Humean principle: namely (and with some qualifications), any pattern of instantiation of a fundamental relation is possible. In this paper, we make the Humean argument fully explicit, and criticise it from three aspects—the Disjunction problem, the Pluralist problem, and the Accidentality problem. First, the original argument only (...)
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  • Collective De Se Thoughts and Centered Worlds.Shen-yi Liao - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):17-31.
    Two lines of investigation into the nature of mental content have proceeded in parallel until now. The first looks at thoughts that are attributable to collectives, such as bands' beliefs and teams' desires. So far, philosophers who have written on collective belief, collective intentionality, etc. have primarily focused on third-personal attributions of thoughts to collectives. The second looks at de se, or self-locating, thoughts, such as beliefs and desires that are essentially about oneself. So far, philosophers who have written on (...)
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  • What is it to be located?Matt Leonard - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2991-3009.
    The literature suggests two main answers to the question of what it is for a material object to be located at a region of spacetime. Both have a number of virtues. However, both suffer from well-known problems. According to one answer, location is a primitive relation with no informative metaphysical analysis. But this makes a number of necessary truths seem mysterious and leaves them unexplained. According to the other answer, to be located at a region is just to be identical (...)
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  • What is mereological harmony?Matt Leonard - 2016 - Synthese 193 (6).
    Say that mereological harmony is the view that there is at least some mirroring between the mereological structure of material objects and the mereological structure of their locations: each, in some way, mirrors the other. As it turns out, there is a confusing array of systems of harmony available to the substantivalist. In this paper, I attempt to bring some order to these systems. I explore some systems found in the literature, as well as some natural systems which haven’t been (...)
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  • Supersubstantivalism and the argument from harmony.Matt Leonard - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (1):53-57.
    The core doctrine of supersubstantivalism is that material objects are identical to their spacetime locations. One powerful consideration for the view is the argument from harmony—supersubstantivalism, it is claimed, is in a position to offer an elegant explanation of a number of platitudes concerning objects and their locations. However, I will argue that identifying material objects with their locations does not provide a satisfying explanation of harmony. What the supersubstantivalist needs is not a theory about the identity of objects, but (...)
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  • Enduring Through Gunk.Matt Leonard - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (4):753-771.
    According to one of the more popular endurantist packages on the market, a package I will call multilocational endurantism, enduring objects are exactly located at multiple instantaneous regions of spacetime. However, for all we know, the world might turn out to be spatiotemporally gunky and spatiotemporal gunk entails that this package is false. The goal of this paper is to sketch a view which retains the spirit of multilocational endurantism while also recognizing the possibility of certain types of objects which (...)
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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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  • The overlap problem.Shieva Kleinschmidt - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (6):1801-1827.
    It is common to think that it’s possible for entities to spatially coincide in multiple ways: with overcrowding, and without overcrowding. Typically, we can distinguish between these by claiming that uncrowded spatial overlap involves a sharing of parts, and crowded spatial overlap does not. However, if we think that mereologically unusual entities, such as extended simples or some kinds of gunk, can also spatially overlap in crowded and uncrowded ways, we lose the ability to distinguish between those varieties of spatial (...)
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  • Reply to Parsons, Reply to Heller, and Reply to Rea. [REVIEW]Hud Hudson - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):452-470.
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  • Composition and the Logic of Location: An Argument for Regionalism.Cody Gilmore & Matt Leonard - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):159-178.
    Ned Markosian has recently defended a new theory of composition, which he calls regionalism : some material objects xx compose something if and only if there is a material object located at the fusion of the locations of xx. Markosian argues that regionalism follows from what he calls the subregion theory of parthood. Korman and Carmichael agree. We provide countermodels to show that regionalism does not follow from, even together with fourteen potentially implicit background principles. We then show that regionalism (...)
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  • A Gunk-Friendly MaxCon.Gregory Fowler - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):611 – 627.
    Hud Hudson has argued that if MaxCon, Ned Markosian's favored answer to the Simple Question, is true, then there couldn't be gunky objects. If Hudson's argument succeeds, then those who believe that gunky objects are possible have a good reason to reject MaxCon. However, I show that Hudson's argument relies on substantive metaphysical claims that a proponent of MaxCon need not accept. Thus, one who endorses MaxCon need not reject the possibility of gunky objects and those who believe that gunky (...)
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  • Against universal mereological composition.Crawford Elder - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (4):433-454.
    This paper opposes universal mereological composition (UMC). Sider defends it: unless UMC were true, he says, it could be indeterminate how many objects there are in the world. I argue that there is no general connection between how widely composition occurs and how many objects there are in the world. Sider fails to support UMC. I further argue that we should disbelieve in UMC objects. Existing objections against them say that they are radically unlike Aristotelian substances. True, but there is (...)
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  • Mereological Nominalism.Nikk Effingham - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):160-185.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • The Location of Properties.Nikk Effingham - 2015 - Noûs 49 (4):846-866.
    This paper argues that, assuming properties exist and must be located in spacetime, the prevailing view that they are exactly located where their instances are is false. Instead a property is singularly located at just one region, namely the union of its instance's locations. This bears not just on issues in the metaphysics of properties, but also on the debate over whether multi-location is conceivable and/or possible.
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  • Parthood and naturalness.M. Eddon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3163-3180.
    Is part of a perfectly natural, or fundamental, relation? Philosophers have been hesitant to take a stand on this issue. One reason for this hesitancy is the worry that, if parthood is perfectly natural, then the perfectly natural properties and relations are not suitably “independent” of one another. In this paper, I argue that parthood is a perfectly natural relation. In so doing, I argue that this “independence” worry is unfounded. I conclude by noting some consequences of the naturalness of (...)
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  • Weak Location.Antony Eagle - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):149-181.
    Recently, many philosophers have been interested in using locative relations to clarify and pursue debates in the metaphysics of material objects. Most begin with the relation of exact location. But what if we begin instead with the relation known as weak location – the relation an object x bears to any region not completely bereft of x? I explore some of the consequences of pursuing this route for issues including coincidence, extended simples, and endurance, with an eye to evaluating the (...)
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  • Multiple location defended.Antony Eagle - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2215-2231.
    The notion of multiple location plays an important role in the characterization of endurantism. Several authors have recently offered cases intended to demonstrate the incoherence of multiple location. I argue that these cases do not succeed in making multiple location problematic. Along the way, several crucial issues about multiple location and its use by endurantists are clarified.
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  • Persistence, Vagueness, and Location.Antony Eagle - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (10):507-532.
    This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on material objects. These views, in (...)
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  • Recombining non-qualitative reality.Sam Cowling - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):2273-2295.
    Haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum are each controversial theses about necessity and possibility. According to haecceitism, there are qualitatively indiscernible possible worlds that differ only with respect to which individuals occupy which qualitative roles. According to Hume’s Dictum, there are no necessary connections between distinct entities or, as Humeans sometimes put it, reality admits of “free recombination” so any entities can co-exist or fail to co-exist. This paper introduces a puzzle that results from the combination of haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum. This (...)
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  • Experiential parts.Philippe Chuard - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Several disputes about the nature of experience operate under the assumption that experiences have parts, including temporal parts. There's the widely held view, when it comes to temporal experiences, that we should follow James' exhortation that such experiences aren't mere successions of their temporal parts, but something more. And there's the question of whether it is the parts of experiences which determine whole experiences and the properties they have, or whether the determination goes instead from the whole to the parts, (...)
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  • Regions, extensions, distances, diameters.Claudio Calosi - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Extended simple regions have been the focus of recent developments in philosophical logic, metaphysics, and philosophy of physics. However, only a handful of works provides a rigorous characterization of an extended simple region. In particular, a recent paper in this journal defends a definition based on an extrinsic notion of least distance. Call it the Least Distance proposal. This paper provides the first assessment of it. It argues that Least Distance faces difficulties and drawbacks. The paper then goes on to (...)
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  • Quantum monism: an assessment.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3217-3236.
    Monism is roughly the view that there is only one fundamental entity. One of the most powerful argument in its favor comes from quantum mechanics. Extant discussions of quantum monism are framed independently of any interpretation of the quantum theory. In contrast, this paper argues that matters of interpretation play a crucial role when assessing the viability of monism in the quantum realm. I consider four different interpretations: modal interpretations, Bohmian mechanics, many worlds interpretations, and wavefunction realism. In particular, I (...)
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  • Extended Simples, Unextended Complexes.Claudio Calosi - 2023 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 52 (2):643-668.
    Both extended simples and unextended complexes have been extensively discussed and widely used in metaphysics and philosophy of physics. However, the characterizations of such notions are not entirely satisfactory inasmuch as they rely on a mereological notion of extension that is too simplistic. According to such a mereological notion, being extended boils down to having a mereologically complex exact location. In this paper, I make a detailed plea to supplement this notion of extension with a different one that is phrased (...)
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  • Extensionality, Multilocation, Persistence.Claudio Calosi - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (1):121-139.
    The paper addresses various questions about the logical and metaphysical relations between notions of parthood, location and persistence. In particular it argues that the conjunction of mereological extensionalism and multilocation, is highly problematic, if not utterly inconsistent. It thus provides an alternate route to reject multilocation, one that does not rely on Barker and Dowe's well known argument, at least for those who endorse extensionality of parthood. It then argues that other major metaphysical theses such as three-dimensionalism turn out to (...)
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  • A New Taxonomy of Persisting (Relativistic) Objects.Claudio Calosi & Vincenzo Fano - 2015 - Topoi 34 (1):283-294.
    The paper presents a thorough exploration of the problem of persistence in a relativistic context. Using formal methods such as mereology, formal theories of location and the so called intrinsic formulation of special relativity we provide a new, more rigorous and more comprehensive taxonomy of persisting entities. This new taxonomy differs significantly from the ones that are present in the recent literature.
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