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Material Objects

Edited by Noel Saenz (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
About this topic
Summary Material objects (basketballs, planets, buildings, tables, chairs, electrons, organisms, etc.) have proved philosophically fascinating. Though they might, at first, appear to be those kinds of objects that pose the least amount of philosophical trouble, puzzles and questions concerning their nature have proved just as interesting, and intractable, as puzzles and questions over abstract and non-existent objects. In this section, papers dealing with questions having to do with their existence, persistence, mereology, location, constitution, origin, modal features, mind-independence, grounding status, causal role, place in a quantum world and perceptibility can be found.
Key works For some key works on the existence, mereology, and constitution of material objects, see van Inwagen 1990, Merricks 2001, Rea 1997, Thomasson 2007 and Koslicki 2008. For some key works on the persistence, location, and modal features of material objects, see Heller 1990, Sider 2001 and Hawley 2001.
Introductions For a nice introduction on the philosophical issues surrounding ordinary material objects, see Korman 2016.
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  1. Meena Alexander (1984). "Fallings From Us, Vanishings...": Composition and the Structure of Loss. Analecta Husserliana 18:91.
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  2. John R. Baker, R. M. Ranson & J. Tynen (1939). The Chemical Composition of the Volpar Contraceptive Products, Part 2. The Eugenics Review 31 (1):23.
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  3. Armando Bandera (1969). The Composition of the People of God. The Thomist 33 (3):405.
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  4. Viorica Barbu Iuraşcu (2009). Phrase Rhythm and Composition. Analysis and Metaphysics 8:155-159.
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  5. Pierfrancesco Basile (2008). Is Mental Composition Impossible in Principle? Chromatikon: Annales de la Philosophie En Procès / Yearbook of Philosophy in Process 4:21-25.
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  6. Victor Bérard (1890). Statue Archaïque de Tégée. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 14 (1):382-384.
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  7. Gustav Bergmann (1958). Individuals. Philosophical Studies 9 (5-6):78 - 85.
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  8. Aimé Berthod (1921). Faut-Il Reviser la Constitution? Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 28 (1):77 - 98.
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  9. Lynn Bloom (2000). Advancing Composition. In Linda K. Shamoon, Rebecca Moore Howard, Sandra Jamieson & Robert Schwegler (eds.), Coming of Age: The Advanced Writing Curriculum. Boynton/Cook 3--18.
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  10. Martha Boles & Rochelle Newman (1992). The Surface Plane.
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  11. Gianmario Borio (2003). L'orizzonte Filosofico Del Comporre Nel Ventesimo Secolo = the Philosophical Horizon of Composition in the Twentieth Century. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  12. P. Borkowski (2008). Composition as Epistemology. Philosophy Pathways 138.
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  13. Émile Bourguet (1919). Sur la composition du « phèdre ». Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 26 (3):335 - 351.
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  14. Nicolas Boussoulas (1960). Étude sur l'esthétique de la composition platonicienne des mixtes. Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 65 (4):422 - 448.
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  15. Nicolas-Isidore Boussoulas (1961). Étude sur l'Esthétique de la composition platonicienne des mixtes (suite et fin). Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 66 (1/2):142 - 158.
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  16. Ivan W. Brooks (1936). On Abstract Art. Philosophy 11 (42):195 - 202.
    Since the death of Cézanne in 1906, there has been throughout the world of European art a general reawakening of a sense of the necessity for constructive qualities in painting. Whereas our fathers were content to speak of the “composition” of a picture, in our own day it is more usual to speak of its construction. Composition, after all, is a comparatively loose and elastic term implying a generally harmonious arrangement of the massed effect of light and dark, a juxtaposition (...)
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  17. Bill Brown (2004). Things. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
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  18. James L. Burke (1942). The British Constitution. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):191-191.
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  19. Robert Butterworth & J. S. (1972). The Composition of Mark 1–12. Heythrop Journal 13 (1):5–26.
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  20. C. Callender (2001). Humean Supervenience and Rotating Homogeneous Matter. Mind 110 (437):25-44.
    is the thesis that everything supervenes upon the spatiotemporal distribution of local intrinsic qualities. A recent threat to HS, originating in thought experiments by Armstrong and Kripke, claims that the mere possibility of rotating homogeneous discs proves HS false. I argue that the rotating disc argument (RDA) fails. If I am right, Humeans needn't abandon or alter HS to make sense of rotating homogeneous discs. Homogeneous discs, as necessarily understood by RDA, are not the sorts of things in which we (...)
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  21. Ross P. Cameron (2006). Much Ado About Nothing: A Study of Metaphysical Nihilism. Erkenntnis 64 (2):193-222.
    This paper is an investigation of metaphysical nihilism: the view that there could have been no contingent or concrete objects. I begin by showing the connections of the nihilistic theses to other philosophical doctrines. I then go on to look at the arguments for and against metaphysical nihilism in the literature and find both to be flawed. In doing so I will look at the nature of abstract objects, the nature of spacetime and mereological simples, the existence of the empty (...)
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  22. Peter Carruthers (1985). Peter Unger, "Philosophical Relativity". [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 35 (39):207.
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  23. Paul Carus (1913). The Monism of “The Monist”. The Monist 23 (3):435-439.
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  24. Paul Carus (1913). The Monism of "the Monist," Compared with Professor Haeckel's Monism. The Monist 23 (3):435 - 439.
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  25. Hiram Caton (1969). Speech and Writing as Artifacts. Philosophy and Rhetoric 2 (1):19 - 36.
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  26. David R. Cerbone (1999). Composition and Constitution. Philosophical Topics 27 (2):309-329.
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  27. Sara Rachel Chant (2006). The Special Composition Question in Action. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):422–441.
    Just as we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of objects composes a single object, we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of actions composes a single action. In the material objects literature, this question is known as the "special composition question," and I take it that there is a similar question to be asked of collections of actions. I will call that question the "special composition question in action," and argue that the correct (...)
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  28. V. C. Chappell (1970). Stuff and Things. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 71:61 - 76.
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  29. Shaoming Chen (2008). Endurance and Non-Endurance: From the Perspective of Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (3):335-351.
    By analysing the two relevant psychological phenomena of “endurance” and “non-endurance,” this essay aims to reveal the ethical implications of a Confucian approach, namely regarding non-endurance as an impulse of primary virtue. Based on this case study, the author then explores the significance of moral cultivation or psychological training in establishing moral personality and the complexities of such a process. Meanwhile, “love” in Confucian ethics means sympathy for the inferior rather than affection for the revered. Hopefully, this study may deepen (...)
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  30. Roderick Chisholm (1979). Objects and Persons: Revision and Replies. In Ernest Sosa (ed.), Grazer Philosophische Studien. Rodopi 317-388.
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  31. Roderick M. Chisholm (1979). Objects and Persons. Grazer Philosophische Studien 7:317-388.
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  32. A. V. Churchill (1962). Supplementary Report: Effect of Mode of Response on Judgment of Familiar Size. Journal of Experimental Psychology 64 (2):198.
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  33. Geraldine Coggins (2010). Could There Have Been Nothing?: Against Metaphysical Nihilism. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Machine generated contents note: Introduction -- Possible Worlds -- The Subtraction Argument -- The Metaphysics of Subtraction -- World and Object -- Metaphysical Nihilism -- Anti-nihilism -- Conclusion -- Index.
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  34. Dagmar Stuehrk Corrigan & Chidsey Dickson (2002). Ezines and Freshman Composition. Kairos 7.
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  35. Andrew Cortens (2002). Dividing the World Into Objects. In William P. Alston (ed.), Realism and Antirealism. Cornell University Press 41-56.
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  36. Antoine Côté (1997). The Five Ways and the Argument From Composition: A Reply to John Lamont. The Thomist 61 (1):123-131.
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  37. Francis Croissant (1978). La Statue Assise de la Voie Sacrée À Delphes. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 102 (2):587-590.
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  38. Pascal Crozet (2004). Thabit Ibn Qurra Et la Composition Des Rapports. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 14 (2):175-211.
  39. Pascal Crozet & Ahmad Y. al-Hassan (2004). Thabit Ibn Qurra and the Composition of Ratios. Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 14:171-174.
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  40. Peter C. Dalton (1977). Human Persistence Through Time. New Scholasticism 51 (2):162-181.
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  41. Francis Dauer (1985). Peter Unger, Philosophical Relativity. [REVIEW] Philosophy in Review 5:182-184.
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  42. Francis W. Dauer (1985). Peter Unger, Philosophical Relativity Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 5 (4):182-184.
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  43. Georges Daux (1957). Remarques Sur la Composition du Conseil Amphictionique. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 81 (1):95-120.
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  44. Georges Daux & Pierre de La Coste-Messelière (1927). La Frise du Trésor de Siphnos. Dimensions Et Composition. Bulletin de Correspondance Hellénique 51 (1):1-56.
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  45. David Davies (2009). Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representation • by Eric Margolis and Stephen Laurence. Analysis 69 (1):171-172.
    This collection of 16 original articles by prominent theorists from a variety of disciplines provides an excellent insight into current thinking about artifacts. The four sections address issues concerning the metaphysics of artifacts, the nature and cognitive development of artifact concepts, and the place of artifacts in evolutionary history. The most overtly philosophical contributions are in the first two sections. Metaphysical issues addressed include the ‘mind-dependence’ of artifacts and the bearing of this on their ‘real’ existence, and the distinction between (...)
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  46. H. J. De Vleeschauwer (1979). La Composition Du. Journal of the History of Philosophy 17 (2).
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  47. Ton Derksen & Monica Meijsing (2008). The Fabrication of Facts : The Lure of the Incredible Coincidence. In Hendrik Kaptein (ed.), Legal Evidence and Proof: Statistics, Stories, Logic. Ashgate 39-70.
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  48. Keith DeRose, Universalism and the Bible.
    I should be clear at the outset about what I'll mean -- and won't mean -- by "universalism." As I'll use it, "universalism" refers to the position that eventually all human beings will be saved and will enjoy everlasting life with Christ. This is compatible with the view that God will punish many people after death, and many universalists accept that there will be divine retribution, although some may not. What universalism does commit one to is that such punishment won't (...)
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  49. Josh Dever (2007). Low-Grade Two-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Books 48 (1):1-16.
    As tends to be the way with philosophical positions, there are at least as many two-dimensionalisms as there are two-dimensionalists. But painting with a broad brush, there are core epistemological and metaphysical commitments which underlie the two-dimensionalist project, commitments for which I have no sympathies. A sketch of three signi?cant points of disagreement.
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  50. Daniel Devereux (1977). Artifacts, Natural Objects, and Works of Art. Analysis 37 (3):134 - 136.
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