Propositions and Parthood: The Universe and Anti-Symmetry

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3):525 - 539 (2012)
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Abstract

It is plausible that the universe exists: a thing such that absolutely everything is a part of it. It is also plausible that singular, structured propositions exist: propositions that literally have individuals as parts. Furthermore, it is plausible that for each thing, there is a singular, structured proposition that has it as a part. Finally, it is plausible that parthood is a partial ordering: reflexive, transitive, and anti-symmetric. These plausible claims cannot all be correct. We canvass some costs of denying each claim and conclude that parthood is not a partial ordering. Provided that the relevant entities exist, parthood is not anti-symmetric and proper parthood is neither asymmetric nor transitive.

Author Profiles

Gregory Fowler
University of Rochester (PhD)
Chris Tillman
University of Manitoba

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