Any Sum of Parts which are Water is Water

Humana Mente 4 (19):41-55 (2011)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Mereological entities often seem to violate ‘ordinary’ ideas of what a concrete object can be like, behaving more like sets than like Aristotelian substances. However, the mereological notions of ‘part’, ‘composition’, and ‘sum’ or ‘fusion’ appear to find concrete realisation in the actual semantics of mass nouns. Quine notes that ‘any sum of parts which are water is water’; and the wine from a single barrel can be distributed around the globe without affecting its identity. Is there here, as some have claimed, a ‘natural’ or ‘innocent’ form of mereology? The claim rests on the assumption that what a mass noun such as ‘wine’ denotes — the wine from a single barrel, for example — is indeed a unit of a special type, the sum or fusion of its many ‘parts’. The assumption is, however, open to question on semantic grounds.
Reprint years
2011, 2018
PhilPapers/Archive ID
Upload history
Archival date: 2011-12-20
View other versions
Added to PP index

Total views
405 ( #14,563 of 2,433,318 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
21 ( #32,923 of 2,433,318 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.