Results for 'mereological nihilism'

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  1. Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):842-868.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the (...)
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  2. Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
    Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and (...)
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  3. Mereological Nihilism and the Special Arrangement Question.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1295-1314.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the (...)
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  4. Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).
    Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, (...)
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  5. Mereological Nihilism: Quantum Atomism and the Impossibility of Material Constitution.Jeffrey Grupp - 2006 - Axiomathes 16 (3):245-386.
    Mereological nihilism is the philosophical position that there are no items that have parts. If there are no items with parts then the only items that exist are partless fundamental particles, such as the true atoms (also called philosophical atoms) theorized to exist by some ancient philosophers, some contemporary physicists, and some contemporary philosophers. With several novel arguments I show that mereological nihilism is the correct theory of reality. I will also discuss strong similarities that (...) nihilism has with empirical results in quantum physics. And I will discuss how mereological nihilism vindicates a few other theories, such as a very specific theory of philosophical atomism, which I will call quantum abstract atomism. I will show that mereological nihilism also is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that avoids the problems of other interpretations, such as the widely known, metaphysically generated, quantum paradoxes of quantum physics, which ironically are typically accepted as facts about reality. I will also show why it is very surprising that mereological nihilism is not a widely held theory, and not the premier theory in philosophy. (shrink)
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  6. From Hume's Dictum Via Submergence to Composition as Identity or Mereological Nihilism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):336-355.
    I show that a particular version of Hume's Dictum together with the falsity of Composition as Identity entails an incoherency, so either that version of Hume's Dictum is false or Composition as Identity is true. I conditionally defend the particular version of Hume's Dictum in play, and hence conditionally conclude that Composition as Identity is true. I end by suggesting an alternative way out for a persistent foe of Composition as Identity, namely mereological nihilism.
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  7. Mereology and Ideology.Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7431-7448.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Sider has defended nihilism on the basis of its relative ideological simplicity. In this paper I develop the argument from ideological simplicity, and defend it from some recent objections. Along the way I discuss the best way to formulate nihilism, what it means for a theory to exhibit lesser or greater degrees of ideological simplicity, the relationship between the parthood relation and the identity relation, and the notion (...)
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  8. A Sudden Collapse to Nihilism.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):370-375.
    According to Composition is Identity, a whole is literally identical to the plurality of its parts. According to Mereological Nihilism, nothing has proper parts. In this note, it is argued that Composition is Identity can be shown to entail Mereological Nihilism in a much more simple and direct way than the one recently proposed by Claudio Calosi.
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  9. A Spatial Approach to Mereology.Ned Markosian - 2014 - In Shieva Keinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press.
    When do several objects compose a further object? The last twenty years have seen a great deal of discussion of this question. According to the most popular view on the market, there is a physical object composed of your brain and Jeremy Bentham’s body. According to the second-most popular view on the market, there are no such objects as human brains or human bodies, and there are also no atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. And according to the third-ranked view, there (...)
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  10. Mereological Composition and Plural Quantifier Semantics.Manuel Lechthaler & Ceth Lightfield - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):943-958.
    Mereological universalists and nihilists disagree on the conditions for composition. In this paper, we show how this debate is a function of one’s chosen semantics for plural quantifiers. Debating mereologists have failed to appreciate this point because of the complexity of the debate and extraneous theoretical commitments. We eliminate this by framing the debate between universalists and nihilists in a formal model where these two theses about composition are contradictory. The examination of the two theories in the model brings (...)
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  11. ‘Identity’ as a Mereological Term.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2367-2385.
    The mereological predicate ‘is part of’ can be used to define the predicate ‘is identical with’. I argue that this entails that mereological theories can be ideologically simpler than nihilistic theories that do not use the notion of parthood—contrary to what has been argued by Ted Sider. Moreover, if one accepts an extensional mereology, there are good philosophical reasons apart from ideological simplicity to give a mereological definition of identity.
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  12. Mereological Composition in Analytic and Buddhist Perspective.Nicholaos Jones - 2021 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 7 (2):173-194.
    Comparing Buddhist and contemporary analytic views about mereological composition reveals significant dissimilarities about the purposes that constrain successful answers to mereological questions, the kinds of considerations taken to be probative in justifying those answers, and the value of mereological inquiry. I develop these dissimilarities by examining three questions relevant to those who deny the existence of composite wholes. The first is a question of justification: What justifies denying the existence of composite wholes as more reasonable than affirming (...)
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    Irreducibly Collective Existence and Bottomless Nihilism.Jonas Werner - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-16.
    This paper develops the metaphysical hypothesis that there are irreducibly collective pluralities, pluralities of objects that do not have a singular object among them. A way to formulate this hypothesis using plural quantification will be proposed and the coherence of irreducibly collective existence will be defended. Furthermore, irreducibly collective existence will be shown to allow for bottomless scenarios that do not involve things standing in relations of parthood. This will create logical space for an anti-atomistic form of mereological (...). (shrink)
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  14. The Limits of Classical Mereology: Mixed Fusions and the Failures of Mereological Hybridism.Joshua Kelleher - 2020 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    In this thesis I argue against unrestricted mereological hybridism, the view that there are absolutely no constraints on wholes having parts from many different logical or ontological categories, an exemplar of which I take to be ‘mixed fusions’. These are composite entities which have parts from at least two different categories – the membered (as in classes) and the non-membered (as in individuals). As a result, mixed fusions can also be understood to represent a variety of cross-category summation such (...)
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  15. Science and the Special Composition Question.Andrew Brenner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):657-678.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Some philosophers have thought that science gives us compelling evidence against nihilism. In this article I respond to this concern. An initial challenge for nihilism stems from the fact that composition is such a ubiquitous feature of scientific theories. In response I motivate a restricted form of scientific anti-realism with respect to those components of scientific theories which make reference to composition. A second scientifically based worry for (...)
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  16. How Composites Could Have Been Indispensable.William Bynoe - manuscript
    Mereological Nihilism is the thesis that no material object has proper parts; every material object is a simple. Recent developments in plural semantics have made it possible to develop and motivate this position. In particular, some have argued that the tools of plural reference and quantification enable us to systematically paraphrase true statements apparently about composites into statements that only concern simples. Are composites really surplus to philosophical requirements? Given the resources of plural semantics, what must the world (...)
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  17. No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):246-260.
    Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non-logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti-realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti-realism, I argue that mereological anti-realism is preferable to mereological (...)
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  18. On Atomic Composition as Identity.Roberto Loss - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4519-4542.
    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 (...)
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  19. Modal Humeanism and Arguments From Possibility.Margot Strohminger - 2013 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (3pt3):391-401.
    Sider (2011, 2013) proposes a reductive analysis of metaphysical modality—‘(modal) Humeanism’—and goes on to argue that it has interesting epistemological and methodological implications. In particular, Humeanism is supposed to undermine a class of ‘arguments from possibility’, which includes Sider's (1993) own argument against mereological nihilism and Chalmers's (1996) argument against physicalism. I argue that Sider's arguments do not go through, and moreover that we should instead expect Humeanism to be compatible with the practice of arguing from possibility in (...)
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  20. Illusions of Gunk.J. Robert G. Williams - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):493–513.
    Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
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  21. What Are Empirical Consequences? On Dispensability and Composite Objects.Alex LeBrun - 2021 - Synthese 199 (5-6):13201-13223.
    Philosophers sometimes give arguments that presuppose the following principle: two theories can fail to be empirically equivalent on the sole basis that they present different “thick” metaphysical pictures of the world. Recently, a version of this principle has been invoked to respond to the argument that composite objects are dispensable to our best scientific theories. This response claims that our empirical evidence distinguishes between ordinary and composite-free theories, and it empirically favors the ordinary ones. In this paper, I ask whether (...)
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  22. Ontology and Arbitrariness.David Builes - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):485-495.
    In many different ontological debates, anti-arbitrariness considerations push one towards two opposing extremes. For example, in debates about mereology, one may be pushed towards a maximal ontology (mereological universalism) or a minimal ontology (mereological nihilism), because any intermediate view seems objectionably arbitrary. However, it is usually thought that anti-arbitrariness considerations on their own cannot decide between these maximal or minimal views. I will argue that this is a mistake. Anti-arbitrariness arguments may be used to motivate a certain (...)
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  23. Restricted Composition.Ned Markosian - 2008 - In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 341--63.
    Let’s begin with a simple example. Consider two quarks: one near the tip of your nose, the other near the center of Alpha Centauri. Here is a question about these two subatomic particles: Is there an object that has these two quarks as its parts and that has no other parts? According to one view of the matter (a view that is surprisingly endorsed by a great many contemporary philosophers), the answer to this question is Yes. But I think it (...)
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  24. Do Ordinary Objects Exist? No.Trenton Merricks - forthcoming - In Elizabeth Barnes (ed.), Current Controversies in Metaphysics. Routledge.
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  25. What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.
    _ Source: _Page Count 28 This paper develops four proposals for explicating the notion of an ersatz part. It then evaluates each proposal with respect to a number of jobs for which ersatz parts are posited. We argue that each of the four notions of ersatz parthood do better with respect to some jobs, and worse with respect to others. Thus, we think, it’s horses for courses: which notion of ersatz part one chooses will be sensitive to which metaphysical project (...)
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  26. What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - New Content is Available for Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.
    This paper develops four proposals for explicating the notion of an ersatz part. It then evaluates each proposal with respect to a number of jobs for which ersatz parts are posited. We argue that each of the four notions of ersatz parthood do better with respect to some jobs, and worse with respect to others. Thus, we think, it’s horses for courses: which notion of ersatz part one chooses will be sensitive to which metaphysical project one is pursuing.
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  27. Gaps: When Not Even Nothing Is There.Charles Blattberg - 2021 - Comparative Philosophy 12 (1):31-55.
    A paradox, it is claimed, is a radical form of contradiction, one that produces gaps in meaning. In order to approach this idea, two senses of “separation” are distinguished: separation by something and separation by nothing. The latter does not refer to nothing in an ordinary sense, however, since in that sense what’s intended is actually less than nothing. Numerous ordinary nothings in philosophy as well as in other fields are surveyed so as to clarify the contrast. Then follows the (...)
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  28. Dirty Hands: The One and the Many.Charles Blattberg - 2018 - The Monist 101 (2):150-169.
    The problem of “dirty hands” concerns the possibility that there are situations in which, no matter what one does, there is no way to avoid committing a moral wrong. By presenting a taxonomy, this paper contends that the different ways of responding to the problem correspond to different positions as regards the classic metaphysical theme of “the One and the Many.” It is then suggested that the best, because most realistic, response aligns with an approach that would have us move (...)
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  29.  43
    Quantum Mereology: Factorizing Hilbert Space Into Subsystems with Quasi-Classical Dynamics.Sean M. Carroll & Ashmeet Singh - 2021 - Physical Review A 103 (2):022213.
    We study the question of how to decompose Hilbert space into a preferred tensor-product factorization without any pre-existing structure other than a Hamiltonian operator, in particular the case of a bipartite decomposition into "system" and "environment." Such a decomposition can be defined by looking for subsystems that exhibit quasi-classical behavior. The correct decomposition is one in which pointer states of the system are relatively robust against environmental monitoring (their entanglement with the environment does not continually and dramatically increase) and remain (...)
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  30.  81
    On Mereology and Metricality.Zee Perry - forthcoming - Philosophers' Imprint.
    This article motivates and develops a reductive account of the structure of certain physical quantities in terms of their mereology. That is, I argue that quantitative relations like "longer than" or "3.6-times the volume of" can be analyzed in terms of necessary constraints those quantities put on the mereological structure of their instances. The resulting account, I argue, is able to capture the intuition that these quantitative relations are intrinsic to the physical systems they’re called upon to describe and (...)
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  31. The Mereological Problem of Entanglement.Paul M. Näger - manuscript
    It is well-known that the entangled quantum state of a composite object cannot be reduced to the states of its parts. This quantum holism provides a peculiar challenge to formulate an appropriate mereological model: When a system is in an entangled state, which objects are there on the micro and macro level, and which of the objects carries which properties? This paper chooses a modeling approach to answer these questions: It proceeds from a systematic overview of consistent mereological (...)
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  32. Against Mereological Panentheism.Oliver D. Crisp - 2019 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (2):23-41.
    In this paper I offer an argument against one important version of panentheism, that is, mereological panentheism. Although panentheism has proven difficult to define, I provide a working definition of the view, and proceed to argue that given this way of thinking about the doctrine, mereological accounts of panentheism have serious theological drawbacks. I then explore some of these theological drawbacks. In a concluding section I give some reasons for thinking that the classical theistic alternative to panentheism is (...)
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  33. Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem.Charles R. Pigden - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5):441-456.
    Nihilism, Nietzsche and the Doppelganger Problem Was Nietzsche a nihilist? Yes, because, like J. L. Mackie, he was an error-theorist about morality, including the elitist morality to which he himself subscribed. But he was variously a diagnostician, an opponent and a survivor of certain other kinds of nihilism. Schacht argues that Nietzsche cannot have been an error theorist, since meta-ethical nihilism is inconsistent with the moral commitment that Nietzsche displayed. Schacht’s exegetical argument parallels the substantive argument (advocated (...)
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  34. Unity, Mereology and Connectivity.Farid Masrour - 2014 - Analysis 74 (3):509-520.
    The goal of this paper is to raise a few questions about Bayne s mereological account of the unity of consciousness. In Section 1, I raise a few clarificatory questions about the account and the thesis that consciousness is necessarily unified. In Sections 2 and 3, I offer an alternative view of unity of consciousness and contrast it with Bayne's view. I call this view the connectivity account. These sections prepare the ground for the main question of this article: (...)
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  35. Biological-Mereological Coincidence.Judith K. Crane - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):309-325.
    This paper presents and defends an account of the coincidence of biological organisms with mereological sums of their material components. That is, an organism and the sum of its material components are distinct material objects existing in the same place at the same time. Instead of relying on historical or modal differences to show how such coincident entities are distinct, this paper argues that there is a class of physiological properties of biological organisms that their coincident mereological sums (...)
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  36. Mereological Sums and Singular Terms.Kathrin Koslicki - 2014 - In Shieva Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press. pp. 209-235.
    The relative merits of standard mereology have received quite a bit of attention in recent years from metaphysicians concerned with the part/whole properties of material objects. A question that has not been pursued to the same degree, however, is what sort of semantic repercussions a commitment to mereological sums in the standard sense might have in particular on the predicted behavior of singular terms and our practices of using such terms to refer to objects. The apparent mismatch between our (...)
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  37.  87
    Mereology.Ben Blumson - 2021 - Archive of Formal Proofs.
    The interactive theorem prover Isabelle/HOL is used to verify elementary theorems of classical extensional mereology.
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  38. Heyting Mereology as a Framework for Spatial Reasoning.Thomas Mormann - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (1):137- 164.
    In this paper it is shown that Heyting and Co-Heyting mereological systems provide a convenient conceptual framework for spatial reasoning, in which spatial concepts such as connectedness, interior parts, (exterior) contact, and boundary can be defined in a natural and intuitively appealing way. This fact refutes the wide-spread contention that mereology cannot deal with the more advanced aspects of spatial reasoning and therefore has to be enhanced by further non-mereological concepts to overcome its congenital limitations. The allegedly unmereological (...)
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  39. Mereology in Aristotle's Assertoric Syllogistic.Justin Vlasits - 2019 - History and Philosophy of Logic 40 (1):1-11.
    How does Aristotle think about sentences like ‘Every x is y’ in the Prior Analytics? A recently popular answer conceives of these sentences as expressing a mereological relationship between x and y: the sentence is true just in case x is, in some sense, a part of y. I argue that the motivations for this interpretation have so far not been compelling. I provide a new justification for the mereological interpretation. First, I prove a very general algebraic soundness (...)
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  40. A Taxonomy for the Mereology of Entangled Quantum Systems.Paul M. Näger & Niko Strobach - manuscript
    The emerging field of quantum mereology considers part-whole relations in quantum systems. Entangled quantum systems pose a peculiar problem in the field, since their total states are not reducible to that of their parts. While there exist several established proposals for modelling entangled systems, like monistic holism or relational holism, there is considerable unclarity, which further positions are available. Using the lambda operator and plural logic as formal tools, we review and develop conceivable models and evaluate their consistency and distinctness. (...)
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  41. Mereology and Identity.Massimiliano Carrara & Giorgio Lando - forthcoming - Synthese:4205-4227.
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  42. The Welfare-Nihilist Arguments Against Judgment Subjectivism.Anthony Bernard Kelley - 2021 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 19 (3):291-310.
    Judgment subjectivism is the view that x is good for S if and only if, because, and to the extent that S believes, under the proper conditions, that x is good for S. In this paper, I offer three related arguments against the theory. The arguments are about what judgment subjectivism implies about the well-being of welfare nihilists, people who believe there are no welfare properties, or at least that none are instantiated. I maintain that welfare nihilists can be benefited (...)
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  43.  92
    Mereology Without Weak Supplementation.Donald Smith - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3):505 – 511.
    According to the Weak Supplementation Principle (WSP)—a widely received principle of mereology—an object with a proper part, p , has another distinct proper part that doesn't overlap p . In a recent article in this journal, Nikk Effingham and Jon Robson employ WSP in an objection to endurantism. I defend endurantism in a way that bears on mereology in general. First, I argue that denying WSP can be motivated apart from the truth of endurantism. I then go on to offer (...)
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  44. Non‐Mereological Universalism.Kristie Miller - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (3):404-422.
    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 (...)
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  45. Two Mereological Arguments Against the Possibility of an Omniscient Being.Joshua T. Spencer - 2006 - Philo 9 (1):62-72.
    In this paper I present two new arguments against the possibility of an omniscient being. My new arguments invoke considerations of cardinality and resemble several arguments originally presented by Patrick Grim. Like Grim, I give reasons to believe that there must be more objects in the universe than there are beliefs. However, my arguments will rely on certain mereological claims, namely that Classical Extensional Mereology is necessarily true of the part-whole relation. My first argument is an instance of a (...)
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  46. Nihilism Inc.: Environmental Destruction and the Metaphysics of Sustainability.Arran Gare - 1996 - Como, NSW, Australia: Eco-Logical Press.
    The spectre of global environmental destruction is before us, the legacy of the expansion and domination of the world by European civilization. Not even the threat to the continued existence of humanity is enough to move the members of this civilization to alter its trajectory. And Marxism, which had held out the possibility of creating a new social order, has been swept from the historical stage by the failure of Eastern European communism. Nihilism Inc. is an attempt to overcome (...)
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  47. Existential Nihilism: The Only Really Serious Problem in Philosophy.Walter Veit - 2018 - Journal of Camus Studies 2018:211-232.
    Since Friedrich Nietzsche, philosophers have grappled with the question of how to respond to nihilism. Nihilism, often seen as a derogative term for a ‘life-denying’, destructive and perhaps most of all depressive philosophy is what drove existentialists to write about the right response to a meaningless universe devoid of purpose. This latter diagnosis is what I shall refer to as existential nihilism, the denial of meaning and purpose, a view that not only existentialists but also a long (...)
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  48. Nietzsche, Nihilism and the Philosophy of the Future.Jeffrey Metzger (ed.) - 2009 - Continuum.
    Nietzsche, Nihilism and the Philosophy of the Future examines Nietzsche's analysis of and response to contemporary nihilism, the sense that nothing has value or ...
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  49.  70
    Existential Nihilism: The Only Really Serious Philosophical Problem.Walter Veit - 2018 - Journal of Camus Studies:211–232.
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  50. Occupy Wall: A Mereological Puzzle and the Burdens of Endurantism.Paul Richard Daniels - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):91-101.
    Endurantists have recently faced a mereological puzzle in various forms. Here I argue that, instead of presenting a genuine worry, the puzzle actually reveals a common misunderstanding about the endurantist ontology. Furthermore, through this discussion of the alleged problem and the misunderstanding which motivates it, I reveal metaphysical commitments the endurantist has that may not be widely recognized. For instance, she is committed to interesting and perhaps controversial views about shape and location. I highlight these commitments and what they (...)
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