Against the Compositional View of Facts

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):91-100 (2011)
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It is commonly assumed that facts would be complex entities made out of particulars and universals. This thesis, which I call Compositionalism, holds that parthood may be construed broadly enough so that the relation that holds between a fact and the entities it ‘ties’ together counts as a kind of parthood. I argue firstly that Compositionalism is incompatible with the possibility of certain kinds of fact and universal, and, secondly, that such facts and universals are possible. I conclude that Compositionalism is false. What all these kinds of fact and universal have in common is a violation of supplementation principles governing any relation that may be intelligibly regarded as a kind of parthood. Although my arguments apply to Compositionalism generally, I focus on recent work by David Armstrong, who is a prominent and explicit Compositionalist.
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