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Brutal Composition

Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211 - 249 (1998)

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  1. Two Geometrical Models for Pixelism.Fabio Patrone - 2020 - Metaphysica (1):99-113.
    Pixelism is the combination of three metaphysical thesis, namely a radical form of exdurantism, mereological nihilism and counterpart theory. Pixelism is a theory that evaluates all the metaphysical phenomena of persistence, composition and modality in a homogeneous and consistent manner. In a pixel world, there is no identity over time and over possible worlds and nothing persists over more than an instant or a world. Entities can be univocally identified by a five-coordinates system (the three spatial dimensions, the temporal one (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism: Quantum Atomism and the Impossibility of Material Constitution.Jeffrey Grupp - 2006 - Axiomathes 16 (3):245-386.
    Mereological nihilism is the philosophical position that there are no items that have parts. If there are no items with parts then the only items that exist are partless fundamental particles, such as the true atoms (also called philosophical atoms) theorized to exist by some ancient philosophers, some contemporary physicists, and some contemporary philosophers. With several novel arguments I show that mereological nihilism is the correct theory of reality. I will also discuss strong similarities that mereological nihilism has with empirical (...)
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  • Four-Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
    Persistence through time is like extension through space. A road has spatial parts in the subregions of the region of space it occupies; likewise, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies. This view — known variously as four dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts, and the theory that objects “perdure” — is opposed to “three dimensionalism”, the doctrine that things “endure”, or are “wholly present”.1 I will (...)
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  • The Vagueness Argument Against Abstract Artifacts.Daniel Z. Korman - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):57-71.
    Words, languages, symphonies, fictional characters, games, and recipes are plausibly abstract artifacts— entities that have no spatial location and that are deliberately brought into existence as a result of creative acts. Many accept that composition is unrestricted: for every plurality of material objects, there is a material object that is the sum of those objects. These two views may seem entirely unrelated. I will argue that the most influential argument against restricted composition—the vagueness argument—doubles as an argument that there can (...)
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  • Material Constitution is Ad Hoc.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):305-325.
    The idea that two objects can coincide—by sharing all their proper parts, or matter—yet be non-identical, results in the “Problem of Coincident Objects”: in what relation do objects stand if they are not identical but share all their proper parts? One solution is to introduce material constitution. In this paper, I argue that this is ad hoc since, first, this solution cannot be generalized to solve similar problems, and, second, there are pseudo cases of coincidence that should not trigger the (...)
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  • Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  • Maximality, Function, and the Many.Robert Francescotti - 2019 - Metaphysica 20 (2):175-193.
    In the region where some cat sits, there are many very cat-like items that are proper parts of the cat (or otherwise mereologically overlap the cat) , but which we are inclined to think are not themselves cats, e.g. all of Tibbles minus the tail. The question is, how can something be so cat-like without itself being a cat. Some have tried to answer this “Problem of the Many” (a problem that arises for many different kinds of things we regularly (...)
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  • Whatever Binds the World’s Innermost Core Together Outline of a General Theory of Ontic Predication.Luc Schneider - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (2):419-442.
    Nexuses such as exemplification are the fundamental ties that structure reality as a whole. They are “formal” in the sense of constituting the form, not the matter of reality and they are “transcendental” inasmuch as they transcend the categorial distinctions between the denizens of reality, including that between existents and non-existents. I shall advocate a moderately particularist view about (external) nexuses and argue that it provides not only the best solution to Bradley’s regress, but also an elegant account of symmetrical (...)
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  • Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  • Restricted Diachronic Composition and Special Relativity.Stephan Torre - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (2):235-255.
    When do objects at different times compose a further object? This is the question of diachronic composition. The universalist answers, ‘under any conditions whatsoever’. Others argue for restrictions on diachronic composition: composition occurs only when certain conditions are met. Recently, some philosophers have argued that restrictions on diachronic compositions are motivated by our best physical theories. In Persistence and Spacetime and elsewhere, Yuri Balashov argues that diachronic compositions are restricted in terms of causal connections between object stages. In a recent (...)
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  • A Mereological Challenge to Endurantism.Nikk Effingham & Jon Robson - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4):633 – 640.
    In this paper, we argue that time travel is problematic for the endurantist. For it appears to be possible, given time travel, to construct a wall out of a single time travelling brick. This commits the endurantist to one of the following: (a) the wall is composed of the time travelling brick many times over; (b) the wall does not in fact exist at all; (c) the wall is identical to the brick. We argue that each of these options is (...)
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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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  • The Contingency of Composition.Ross P. Cameron - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):99-121.
    There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as (...)
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  • Material Constitution.Ryan Wasserman - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Philosophical Methodology in Modal Epistemology.Dana Goswick - 2012 - Essays in Philosophy 13 (1):11.
    This paper examines the legitimacy of two common methodologies within philosophy: thought experiments and conceptual analysis. In particular, I examine the uses to which these two methodologies have been put within modal epistemology. I argue that, although both methods can be used to reveal conditional essentialist claims , neither can be used to reveal the de re essentialists claims they’re often taken to reveal.
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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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  • Endurantist and Perdurantist Accounts of Persistence.Maureen Donnelly - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):27 - 51.
    In this paper, I focus on three issues intertwined in current debates between endurantists and perdurantists—(i) the dimension of persisting objects, (ii) whether persisting objects have timeless, or only time-relative, parts, and (iii) whether persisting objects have proper temporal parts. I argue that one standard endurantist position on the first issue is compatible with standard perdurantist positions on parthood and temporal parts. I further argue that different accounts of persistence depend on the claims about objects' dimensions and not on the (...)
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  • Against Conservatism in Metaphysics.Maegan Fairchild & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:45-75.
    In his recent book, Daniel Korman contrasts ontological conservatives with permissivists and eliminativists about ontology. Roughly speaking, conservatives admit the existence of ‘ordinary objects' like trees, dogs, and snowballs, but deny the existence of ‘extraordinary objects', like composites of trees and dogs. Eliminativists, on the other hand, deny many or all ordinary objects, while permissivists accept both ordinary and extraordinary objects. Our aim in this paper is to outline some of our reasons for being drawn to permissivism, as well as (...)
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  • Toward a Commonsense Answer to the Special Composition Question.Chad Carmichael - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):475-490.
    The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will argue that (...)
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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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  • Natural Objects.Joshua D. K. Brown - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):254-271.
    This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are (...)
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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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  • Restricted Composition.Ned Markosian - 2008 - In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 341--63.
    Let’s begin with a simple example. Consider two quarks: one near the tip of your nose, the other near the center of Alpha Centauri. Here is a question about these two subatomic particles: Is there an object that has these two quarks as its parts and that has no other parts? According to one view of the matter (a view that is surprisingly endorsed by a great many contemporary philosophers), the answer to this question is Yes. But I think it (...)
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  • Gunky Objects, Junky Worlds, and Weak Mereological Universalism.Deborah 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Composition as Identity: Part 1.Megan B. Wallace - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):804-816.
    Many of us think that ordinary objects – such as tables and chairs – exist. We also think that ordinary objects have parts: my chair has a seat and some legs as parts, for example. But once we are committed to the thesis that ordinary objects are composed of parts, we then open ourselves up to a whole host of philosophical problems, most of which center on what exactly the composition relation is. Composition as Identity is the view that the (...)
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  • What Do the Folk Think About Composition and Does It Matter?Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2017 - In David Rose (ed.), Experimental Metaphysics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 187-206.
    Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption that folk intuitions have a (...)
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  • Folk Mereology is Teleological.David Rose & Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):238-270.
    When do the folk think that mereological composition occurs? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view of composition that fits with folk intuitions, and yet there has been little agreement about what the folk intuit. We aim to put the tools of experimental philosophy to constructive use. Our studies suggest that folk mereology is teleological: people tend to intuit that composition occurs when the result serves a purpose. We thus conclude that metaphysicians should dismiss folk intuitions, as tied into a benighted (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and the Problem of Emergence.David Michael Cornell - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):77-87.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that there are no composite objects; everything in existence is mereologically simple. The view is subject to a number of difficulties, one of which concerns what I call the problem of emergence. Very briefly, the problem is that nihilism seems to be incompatible with emergent properties; it seems to rule out their very possibility. This is a problem because there are good independent reasons to believe that emergent properties are possible. This paper provides a solution (...)
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  • Composition and Vagueness.Trenton Merricks - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):615-637.
    ‘Restricted composition’ says that there are some composite objects. And it says that some objects jointly compose nothing at all. The main threat to restricted composition is the influential and widely defended Vagueness Argument. We shall see that the Vagueness Argument fails. In seeing how this argument fails, we shall discover a new focus for the debate over composition's extent.
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  • A Relevance Constraint on Composition.David Vander Laan - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):135-145.
    Whether certain objects compose a whole at a given time does not seem to depend on anything other than the character of those objects and the relations between them. This observation suggests a far-reaching constraint on theories of composition. One version of the constraint has been explicitly adopted by van Inwagen and rules out his own answer to the composition question. The constraint also rules out the other well-known moderate answers that have so far been proposed.
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).
    Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one (...)
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  • Ordinary Objects and Series‐Style Answers to the Special Composition Question.Paul Silva - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (1):69-88.
    The special composition question asks, roughly, under what conditions composition occurs. The common sense view is that composition only occurs among some things and that all and only ‘ordinary objects’ exist. Peter van Inwagen has marshaled a devastating argument against this view. The common sense view appears to commit one to giving what van Inwagen calls a ‘series-style answer’ to the special composition question, but van Inwagen argues that series-style answers are impossible because they are inconsistent with the transitivity of (...)
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  • Against Mereological Nihilism.Jonathan Tallant - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1511-1527.
    I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place.
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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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  • 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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  • Eliminativism, Interventionism and the Overdetermination Argument.Eric Yang - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):321-340.
    In trying to establish the view that there are no non-living macrophysical objects, Trenton Merricks has produced an influential argument—the Overdetermination Argument—against the causal efficacy of composite objects. A serious problem for the Overdetermination Argument is the ambiguity in the notion of overdetermination that is being employed, which is due to the fact that Merricks does not provide any theory of causation to support his claims. Once we adopt a plausible theory of causation, viz. interventionism, problems with the Overdetermination will (...)
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  • Debunking Rationalist Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology: An Empirical Approach.Robert 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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  • In Virtue Of: Determination, Dependence, and Metaphysically Opaque Grounding.Henrik Rydéhn - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This dissertation investigates grounding, the relation of non-causal determination whereby one fact obtains in virtue of some other fact or facts. Although considerations of grounding have been central throughout Western philosophy, the last 15-20 years have seen a renaissance of systematic work on grounding in analytic philosophy. The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of the nature of grounding and its relation to other central phenomena in metaphysics. -/- Chapter 1 of the dissertation provides a brief (...)
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  • The Nature And Necessity Of Composite Simples,E.G., Ontic Predicates.Donald Mertz - 2004 - Metaphysica 5 (1):89-133.
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  • L'énigme du "vleu" et l'hyper-nominalisme de Goodman.Alexandre Declos - 2019 - Igitur 10 (1):1-27.
    This paper advocates a new reading of Nelson Goodman’s new riddle of induction. According to Ian Hacking, this famous problem conveys a “pure nominalism”, as it grounds Goodman’s denial regarding the existence of natural kinds. While this interpretation is somewhat convincing, it suffers the major flaw of not corresponding to what Goodman himself understood by “nominalism”. Nominalism, in a goodmanian sense, is indeed primarily a technical demand, which stems from the so-called “calculus of individuals”. I argue that this mereological definition (...)
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  • Composition and the Will of God.Eric Yang & Stephen T. Davis - 2017 - In T. Ryan Byerly & Eric J. Silverman (eds.), Paradise Understood: New Philosophical Essays About Heaven. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  • Fundamental Quantification and the Language of the Ontology Room.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):298-321.
    Nihilism is the thesis that no composite objects exist. Some ontologists have advocated abandoning nihilism in favor of deep nihilism, the thesis that composites do not existO, where to existO is to be in the domain of the most fundamental quantifier. By shifting from an existential to an existentialO thesis, the deep nihilist seems to secure all the benefits of a composite-free ontology without running afoul of ordinary belief in the existence of composites. I argue that, while there are well-known (...)
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  • Music and Vague Existence.David Friedell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):437-449.
    I explain a tension between musical creationism and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. My central conclusion is that, although some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence, others do not. I discuss versions of musical creationism held by Jerrold Levinson, Simon Evnine, and Kit Fine. I also present two new versions. I close by considering whether the tension is merely an instance of a general problem raised by artifacts, both (...)
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  • What is Nominalistic Mereology?Jeremy Meyers - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic (DOI 10.1007/S10992-012-9252-4) (1):1-38.
    Abstract Hybrid languages are introduced in order to evaluate the strength of “minimal” mereologies with relatively strong frame definability properties. Appealing to a robust form of nominalism, I claim that one investigated language Hm is maximally acceptable for nominalistic mereology. In an extension Hgem of Hm, a modal analog for the classical systems of Leonard and Goodman (J Symb Log 5:45–55, 1940) and Lesniewski (1916) is introduced and shown to be complete with respect to 0- deleted Boolean algebras. We characterize (...)
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  • Nihilism Without Self-Contradiction.David Liggins - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:177-196.
    in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.) Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Peter van Inwagen claims that there are no tables or chairs. He also claims that sentences such as ‘There are chairs here’, which seem to imply their existence, are often true. This combination of views opens van Inwagen to a charge of self-contradiction. I explain the charge, and van Inwagen’s response to it, which involves the claim that sentences like ‘There are tables’ shift their truth-conditions between (...)
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  • Material Composition.David Michael Cornell - 2018 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    A material composite object is an object composed of two or more material parts. The world, it seems, is simply awash with such things. The Eiffel Tower, for instance, is composed of iron girders, nuts and bolts, and so on. You and I, as human beings, are composed of flesh and bone, and various organs. Moreover, these parts themselves are composed of further parts, such as molecules, which themselves are composed of atoms, which are composed of sub-atomic particles. Material composite (...)
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  • Could There Be Exactly Two Things?Juan Comesaña - 2008 - Synthese 162 (1):31 - 35.
    Many philosophers think that, necessarily, any material objects have a fusion (let’s call that doctrine “Universalism”). In this paper I point out a couple of strange consequences of Universalism and related doctrines, and suggest that they are strange enough to constitute a powerful argument against those views.
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  • The Vagueness Argument for Mereological Universalism.Donald Smith - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3):357–368.
    In this paper, I critically discuss one of the more influential arguments for mereological universalism, what I will call ‘the Vagueness Argument’. I argue that a premise of the Vagueness Argument is not well supported and that there are at least two good reasons for thinking that the premise in question is false.
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