Debunking a mereological myth: If composition as identity is true, universalism need not be

Abstract

It is a common view that if composition as identity is true, then so is mereological universalism (the thesis that all objects have a mereological fusion). Various arguments have been advanced in favour of this: (i) there has been a recent argument by Merricks, (ii) some claim that Universalism is entailed by the ontological innocence of the identity relation, (or that ontological innocence undermines objections to universalism) and (iii) it is entailed by the law of selfidentity. After a preliminary introduction to the competing theories of persistence (necessary for a discussion of Merricks’ argument) I examine each in turn and demonstrate how they fail. I conclude that the prejudice that if composition as identity is true then Universalism is true, is unwarranted. Thus one motivation for believing Universalism is lost and those who believe composition as identity should now be receptive to some form of restricted composition.

Author's Profile

Nikk Effingham
University of Birmingham

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2009-01-28

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