Part Structures, Integrity, and the Mass-Count Distinction

Synthese 116 (1):75 - 111 (1998)
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The notions of part and whole play an important role for ontology and in many areas of the semantics of natural language. Both in philosophy and linguistic semantics, usually a particular notion of part structure is used, that of extensional mereology. This paper argues that such a notion is insufficient for ontology and, especially, for the semantic analysis of the relevant constructions of natural language. What is needed for the notion of part structure, in addition to an ordering among parts, is the notion of integrated whole. In the context of semantics, the notion of an integrated whole needs to be relativized to a situation, or so it is argued.

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Friederike Moltmann
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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