Non‐Mereological Universalism

European Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):404-422 (2006)
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In this paper I develop a version of universalism that is non-mereological. Broadly speaking, non-mereological universalism is the thesis that for any arbitrary set of objects and times, there is a persisting object which, at each of those times, will be constituted by those of the objects that exist at that time. I consider two general versions of non-mereological universalism, one which takes basic simples to be enduring objects, and the other which takes simples to be instantaneous objects. This yields three versions of endurantism, of which I ultimately defend the version I call universalist endurantism. Universalist endurantism is the thesis that for any arbitrary set S of instantaneous simples that exist at the same instant, there exists a fusion of the members of S, and for any arbitrary set S* of instantaneous fusions each of which exist at a different instant, there exists an enduring object O that is constituted by those fusions at those instants. Universalist endurantism is ‘non-mereological’ in that the relation that holds between instantaneous fusions and persisting objects is not the part/whole relation, but rather, is the relation of constitution, thus allowing that the persisting objects are three rather than four dimensional. I argue that universalist endurantism not only has the various benefits of mereological universalism in allowing vagueness to be explicated as semantic indeterminacy, but in addition allows the endurantist to hold that some properties are genuinely intrinsic and are exemplified simpliciter.

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Kristie Miller
University of Sydney


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