Non-concrete parts of material objects

Synthese 195 (11):5091-5111 (2018)
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Abstract

This article offers a novel solution to the problem of material constitution: by including non-concrete objects among the parts of material objects, we can avoid having a statue and its constituent piece of clay composed of all the same proper parts. Non-concrete objects—objects that aren’t concrete, but possibly are—have been used in defense of the claim that everything necessarily exists. But the account offered shows that non-concreta are independently useful in other domains as well. The resulting view falls under a ‘nonmaterial partist’ class of views that includes, in particular, Laurie Paul’s and Kathrin Koslicki’s constitution views; ones where material objects have properties or structures as parts respectively. The article gives reasons for preferring the non-concretist solution over these other non-material partist views and defends it against objections.

Author's Profile

Michael Longenecker
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law

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