On atomic composition as identity

Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4519-4542 (2019)
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In this paper I address two important objections to the theory called ‘ Composition as Identity’ : the ‘wall-bricks-and-atoms problem’, and the claim that CAI entails mereological nihilism. I aim to argue that the best version of CAI capable of addressing both problems is the theory I will call ‘Atomic Composition as Identity’ which consists in taking the plural quantifier to range only over proper pluralities of mereological atoms and every non-atomic entity to be identical to the plurality of atoms it fuses. I will proceed in three main steps. First, I will defend Sider’s Composition as identity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 211–221, 2014) idea of weakening the comprehension principle for pluralities and I will show that :219–235, 2016a) it can ward off both the WaBrA problem and the threat of mereological nihilism. Second, I will argue that CAI-theorists should uphold an ‘atomic comprehension principle’ which, jointly with CAI, entails that there are only proper pluralities of mereological atoms. Finally, I will present a novel reading of the ‘one of’ relation that not only avoids the problems presented by Yi Composition as identity. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 169–191, 2014) and Calosi :429–443, 2016b, Am Philos Q 55:281–292, 2018) but can also help ACAI-theorists to make sense of the idea that a composite entity is both one and many.

Author's Profile

Roberto Loss
Nottingham University (PhD)


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