In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics (forthcoming)
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My bedroom window is a part of my house, but it is not a partial house. A half-built house is a partial house, but there is no house it is a part of. Being a part of something—parthood—is a familiar topic of philosophical inquiry. Being a partial something—partialhood—is not. The neglect of partialhood is a shame because it is intrinsically interesting as well as metaphysically and semantically important. After using fractions and counting constructions to identify partialhood in §1, I give a theory of the relation in §2-§4. Armed with this theory I turn to applications both in the domain of objects and object-related constructions as well as the domain of events and event-related constructions. In §5 I argue that partialhood allows us to identify a notion of distributivity that helps pinpoint the metaphysical basis of the mass/count distinction. In §6 I argue that the progressive morpheme expresses partialhood; in metaphysical terms, what it is for something to be happening is for there to be a partial event.

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David Liebesman
University of Calgary


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