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  1. Yuri Balashov (2007). About Stage Universalism. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):21–39.
    Most four-dimensionalists, including both worm and stage theorists, endorse mereological universalism, the thesis that any class of objects has a fusion. But the marriage of fourdimensionalism and universalism is unfortunate and unprofitable: it creates a recalcitrant problem for stage theory’s account of lingering properties, such as writing ‘War and Piece’ and traveling across the tennis court, which take time to be instantiated. This makes it necessary to impose a natural restriction on diachronic composition.
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  2. Yuri Balashov (2005). On Vagueness, 4d and Diachronic Universalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (4):523 – 531.
    I offer a new criticism of the argument from vagueness to four-dimensionalism [Sider 2001. The argument is modelled after an older argument for mereological universalism [Lewis 1986 and may be looked upon as a tightened-up and extended version of the latter. While I agree with other critics [Koslicki 2003; Markosian 2004 that the argument from vagueness fails precisely because of this affinity, my recipe for dealing with it is different. I reject the assumption, shared by Sider with his opponents, that (...)
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  3. Yuri Balashov (2003). Restricted Diachronic Composition, Immanent Causality, and Objecthood: A Reply to Hudson. Philosophical Papers 32 (1):23-30.
    Composition, persistence, vagueness, and more constitute an interconnected network of problems. My criticism of Hud Hudson's provocative claims made in a recent paper (Hudson 2002) was focused almost exclusively on the issue of diachronic composition (Balashov 2003). Hudson's response (2003) has highlighted the dangers of such isolationism. But I want to hold to my strategy to the end. Part of the reason is to evade the appalling responsibility of presenting a full-blown theory of all the above phenomena; I must confess (...)
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  4. Yuri Balashov (2003). Temporal Parts and Superluminal Motion. Philosophical Papers 32 (1):1-13.
    Hud Hudson has recently suggested a scenario intended to show that, assuming the doctrine of temporal parts and a sufficiently liberal view of composition, there are material objects that move faster than light. I accept Hudson's conditional but contend that his modus ponens is less plausible that the corresponding modus tollens. Reversed in this way, the argument stemming from the scenario raises the cost of mereological liberalism and advances the case for a principled restriction on diachronic composition.
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  5. John Bigelow & Robert Pargetter (2006). Real Work for Aggregates. Dialectica 60 (4):485–503.
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  6. Einar Duenger Bohn (forthcoming). Unrestricted Composition as Identity. In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press.
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  7. Einar Duenger Bohn (2009). An Argument Against the Necessity of Unrestricted Composition. Analysis 69 (1):27-31.
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  8. David Braddon-Mitchell & Kristie Miller (2006). Talking About a Universalist World. Philosophical Studies 130 (3):499 - 534.
    The paper defends a combination of perdurantism with mereological universalism by developing semantics of temporary predications of the sort ’some P is/was/will be (a) Q’. We argue that, in addition to the usual application of causal and other restrictions on sortals, the grammatical form of such statements allows for rather different regimentations along three separate dimensions, according to: (a) whether ‘P’ and ‘Q’ are being used as phase or substance sortal terms, (b) whether ‘is’, ‘was’, and ‘will be’ are (...)
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  9. Ross P. Cameron (2012). Composition as Identity Doesn't Settle the Special Composition Question1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):531-554.
    Orthodoxy says that the thesis that composition is identity (CAI) entails universalism: the claim that any collection of entities has a sum. If this is true it counts in favour of CAI, since a thesis about the nature of composition that settles the otherwise intractable special composition question (SCQ) is desirable. But I argue that it is false: CAI is compatible with the many forms of restricted composition, and SCQ is no easier to answer given CAI than otherwise. Furthermore, in (...)
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  10. Ross P. Cameron, CAI Doesn't Settle SCQ.
    The thesis that composition is identity (CAI) is the thesis that the Xs compose A iff the Xs is identical to A.1 If this thesis is to be compatible with any mereological view other than mereological nihilism, we must allow that many-one identity statements make sense: that is, that it makes sense to say of a plurality of things that they are (collectively) identical to some one thing. Identity, on this view, holds between every thing and itself, but can also (...)
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  11. Chad Carmichael (2011). Vague Composition Without Vague Existence. Noûs 45 (2):315-327.
    David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there is an object, (...)
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  12. James Van Cleve (1986). Mereological Essentialism, Mereological Conjunctivism, and Identity Through Time. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 11 (1):141-156.
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  13. Juan Comesaña (2008). Could There Be Exactly Two Things? Synthese 162 (1):31 - 35.
    Many philosophers think that, necessarily, any material objects have a fusion (let’s call that doctrine “Universalism”). In this paper I point out a couple of strange consequences of Universalism and related doctrines, and suggest that they are strange enough to constitute a powerful argument against those views.
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  14. Gabriele Contessa (2012). The Junk Argument: Safe Disposal Guidelines for Mereological Universalists. Analysis 72 (3):455-457.
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  15. Maureen Donnelly (2009). Mereological Vagueness and Existential Vagueness. Synthese 168 (1):53 - 79.
    It is often assumed that indeterminacy in mereological relations—in particular, indeterminacy in which collections of objects have fusions—leads immediately to indeterminacy in what objects there are in the world. This assumption is generally taken as a reason for rejecting mereological vagueness. The purpose of this paper is to examine the link between mereological vagueness and existential vagueness. I hope to show that the connection between the two forms of vagueness is not nearly so clear-cut as has been supposed.
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  16. Cian Dorr & Gideon Rosen (2002). Composition as a Fiction. In Richard Gale (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Metaphysics. Blackwell. 151--174.
    Region R Question: How many objects — entities, things — are contained in R? Ignore the empty space. Our question might better be put, 'How many material objects does R contain?' Let's stipulate that A, B and C are metaphysical atoms: absolutely simple entities with no parts whatsoever besides themselves. So you don't have to worry about counting a particle's top half and bottom half as different objects. Perhaps they are 'point-particles', with no length, width or breadth. Perhaps they are (...)
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  17. Nikk Effingham, Cultural Prejudice and the Plenitude Principle.
    The Plenitude Principle is that for every filled spacetime region, there is an object that is exactly located at that region. Hawthorne motivates it on the grounds that it’s the only way to avoid cultural prejudice with regards to what material objects exist (the argument from cultural prejudice). There is a similar argument for a perdurantist-universalist theory, and the content of this paper applies mutatis mutandis to that argument as well.
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  18. Nikk Effingham, Debunking a Mereological Myth: If Composition as Identity is True, Universalism Need Not Be.
    It is a common view that if composition as identity is true, then so is mereological universalism (the thesis that all objects have a mereological fusion). Various arguments have been advanced in favour of this: (i) there has been a recent argument by Merricks, (ii) some claim that Universalism is entailed by the ontological innocence of the identity relation, (or that ontological innocence undermines objections to universalism) and (iii) it is entailed by the law of selfidentity. After a preliminary introduction (...)
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  19. Nikk Effingham (2011). Sider, Hawley, Sider and the Vagueness Argument. Philosophical Studies 154 (2):241 - 250.
    The Vagueness Argument for universalism only works if you think there is a good reason not to endorse nihilism. Sider's argument from the possibility of gunk is one of the more popular reasons. Further, Hawley has given an argument for the necessity of everything being either gunky or composed of mereological simples. I argue that Hawley's argument rests on the same premise as Sider's argument for the possibility of gunk. Further, I argue that that premise can be used to demonstrate (...)
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  20. Nikk Effingham (2009). Universalism, Vagueness and Supersubstantivalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):35 – 42.
    Sider has a favourable view of supersubstantivalism (the thesis that all material objects are identical to the regions of spacetime that they occupy). This paper argues that given supersubstantivalism, Sider's argument from vagueness for (mereological) universalism fails. I present Sider's vagueness argument (§§II-III), and explain why - given supersubstantivalism - some but not all regions must be concrete in order for the argument to work (§IV). Given this restriction on what regions can be concrete, I give a reductio of Sider's (...)
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  21. Crawford L. Elder (2011). Familiar Objects and Their Shadows. Cambridge University Press.
    Most contemporary metaphysicians are sceptical about the reality of familiar objects such as dogs and trees, people and desks, cells and stars. They prefer an ontology of the spatially tiny or temporally tiny. Tiny microparticles 'dog-wise arranged' explain the appearance, they say, that there are dogs; microparticles obeying microphysics collectively cause anything that a baseball appears to cause; temporal stages collectively sustain the illusion of enduring objects that persist across changes. Crawford L. Elder argues that all such attempts to 'explain (...)
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  22. Crawford L. Elder (2008). Against Universal Mereological Composition. Dialectica 62 (4):433-454.
    This paper opposes universal mereological composition (UMC). Sider defends it: unless UMC were true, he says, it could be indeterminate how many objects there are in the world. I argue that there is no general connection between how widely composition occurs and how many objects there are in the world. Sider fails to support UMC. I further argue that we should disbelieve in UMC objects. Existing objections against them say that they are radically unlike Aristotelian substances. True, but there is (...)
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  23. André Gallois (2004). Comments on Ted Sider: Four Dimensionalism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):648–657.
  24. Cody Gilmore (2010). Sider, The Inheritance of Intrinsicality, and Theories of Composition. Philosophical Studies 151 (2):177-197.
    I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
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  25. P. Goggans (1999). How Not to Have an Ontology of Physical OBJECTS. Philosophical Studies 94 (3):295-308.
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  26. John Horden (2014). Ontology in Plain English. Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):225-242.
    In a series of papers, Eli Hirsch develops a deflationary account of certain ontological debates, specifically those regarding the composition and persistence of physical objects. He argues that these debates are merely verbal disputes between philosophers who fail to correctly express themselves in a common language. To establish the truth in plain English about these issues, Hirsch contends, we need only listen to the assertions of ordinary speakers and interpret them charitably. In this paper, I argue that Hirsch's conclusions rest (...)
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  27. Daniel Z. Korman (2011). Ordinary Objects. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  28. Daniel Z. Korman (2010). Strange Kinds, Familiar Kinds, and the Charge of Arbitrariness. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics:119-144.
    Particularists in material-object metaphysics hold that our intuitive judgments about which kinds of things there are and are not are largely correct. One common argument against particularism is the argument from arbitrariness, which turns on the claim that there is no ontologically significant difference between certain of the familiar kinds that we intuitively judge to exist (snowballs, islands, statues, solar systems) and certain of the strange kinds that we intuitively judge not to exist (snowdiscalls, incars, gollyswoggles, the fusion of the (...)
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  29. Daniel Z. Korman (2010). The Argument From Vagueness. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
    A presentation of the Lewis-Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition and possible responses.
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  30. Daniel Z. Korman (2007). Unrestricted Composition and Restricted Quantification. Philosophical Studies 140 (3):319-334.
    Many of those who accept the universalist thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted also maintain that the folk typically restrict their quantifiers in such a way as to exclude strange fusions when they say things that appear to conflict with universalism. Despite its prima facie implausibility, there are powerful arguments for universalism. By contrast, there is remarkably little evidence for the thesis that strange fusions are excluded from the ordinary domain of quantification. Furthermore, this reconciliatory strategy seems hopeless when applied (...)
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  31. Kathrin Koslicki (2003). The Crooked Path From Vagueness to Four-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107 - 134.
  32. Henry S. Leonard & Nelson Goodman (1940). The Calculus of Individuals and its Uses. Journal of Symbolic Logic 5 (2):45-55.
  33. Ned Markosian (forthcoming). A Spatial Approach to Mereology. 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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  34. Ned Markosian (1998). Brutal Composition. Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211-249.
    According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns out that (...)
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  35. Kris McDaniel (2010). Composition as Identity Does Not Entail Universalism. Erkenntnis 73 (1):97-100.
    Composition as Identity is the view that, in some sense, a whole is numerically identical with its parts. Compositional universalism is the view that, whenever there are some things, there is a whole composed of those things. Despite the claims of many philosophers, these views are logically independent. Here, I will show that composition as identity does not entail compositional universalism.
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  36. Matthew McGrath (1998). Van Inwagen's Critique of Universalism. Analysis 58 (2):116–121.
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  37. Trenton Merricks (2007). Remarks on Vagueness and Arbitrariness. Mind 116 (461):115-119.
    other things, that the Vagueness Argument for unrestricted composition fails. In ‘Vagueness and Arbitrariness: Merricks on Composition’, Elizabeth Barnes objects to my argument. This paper replies to Barnes, and also offers further support for the views defended in my original paper.
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  38. Trenton Merricks (2005). Composition and Vagueness. Mind 114 (455):615-637.
    says that there are some composite objects. And it says that some objects jointly compose nothing at all. The main threat to restricted composition is the in.uential and widely defended Vagueness Argument. We shall see that the Vagueness Argument fails. In seeing how this argument fails, we shall discover a new focus for the debate over composition's extent.
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  39. Michael C. Rea (1999). McGrath on Universalism. Analysis 59 (263):200–203.
    Mereological Universalism is the thesis that, for any disjoint Xs, the Xs automatically compose something. In his book, Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen provides an argument against Universalism that relies on the following crucial premiss: (F) If Universalism is true, then the Xs cannot ever compose two objects, either simultaneously or successively.1 I have argued elsewhere (Rea 1998) that van Inwagen’s defence of (F) fails because it relies on the false assumption that Universalism is incompatible with the view that, for (...)
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  40. Michael C. Rea (1998). In Defense of Mereological Universalism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):347-360.
    This paper defends Mereological Universalism(the thesis that, for any set S of disjoint objects, there is an object that the members of S compose. Universalism is unpalatable to many philosophers because it entails that if there are such things as my left tennis shoe, W. V. Quine, and the Taj Mahal, then there is another object that those three things compose. This paper presents and criticizes Peter van Inwagen's argument against Universalism and then presents a new argument in favor of (...)
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  41. Alan Sidelle (2002). Is There a True Metaphysics of Material Objects? Philosophical Issues 12 (1):118-145.
    I argue (1) that metaphysical views of material objects should be understood as 'packages', rather than individual claims, where the other parts of the package include how the theory addresses 'recalcitant data' (such as - the denier of artifacts has to account, somehow, for the seeming truth of 'there are three pencils on my table'), and (2) that when the packages meet certain general desiderata - which all of the currently competing views *can* meet - there is nothing in the (...)
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  42. Theodore Sider (2004). Review: Précis of "Four-Dimensionalism&Quot;. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):642 - 647.
    This is an overview of my book, Four-Dimensionalism. The spatiotemporal metaphysics of Russell, Smart, Quine and Lewis is a blend of separable components concerning time, persistence, mereology, and even semantics, unified by the theme that space and time are analogous: eternalism (past and future objects are just as real as current objects); the reducibility of tense (tensed utterances have tenseless truth conditions; 'now' is an indexical); four-dimensionalism: temporal parts exist; unrestricted composition (all objects, however scattered, have a mereological sum, or (...)
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  43. Theodore Sider (1997). Four-Dimensionalism. Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
    Persistence through time is like extension through space. A road has spatial parts in the subregions of the region of space it occupies; likewise, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies. This view — known variously as four dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts, and the theory that objects “perdure” — is opposed to “three dimensionalism”, the doctrine that things “endure”, or are “wholly present”.1 I will (...)
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  44. Joshua T. Spencer (2006). Two Mereological Arguments Against the Possibility of an Omniscient Being. 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 problem (...)
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  45. Irem Kurtsal Steen (2010). Three-Dimensionalist's Semantic Solution to Diachronic Vagueness. Philosophical Studies 150 (1):79-96.
    A standard response to the problem of diachronic vagueness is ‘the semantic solution’, which demands an abundant ontology. Although it is known that the abundant ontology does not logically preclude endurantism, their combination is rejected because it necessitates massive coincidence between countless objects. In this paper, I establish that the semantic solution is available not only to perdurantists but also to endurantists by showing that there is no problem with such ubiquitous and principled coincidence.
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  46. Peter Van Inwagen (1990). Material Beings. Cornell University Press.
    The topic of this book is material objects. Like most interesting concepts, the concept of a material object is one without precise boundaries.
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  47. Peter van Inwagen (1987). When Are Objects Parts? Philosophical Perspectives 1:21-47.
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  48. David Vander Laan (2010). A Relevance Constraint on Composition. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):135-145.
    Whether certain objects compose a whole at a given time does not seem to depend on anything other than the character of those objects and the relations between them. This observation suggests a far-reaching constraint on theories of composition. One version of the constraint has been explicitly adopted by van Inwagen and rules out his own answer to the composition question. The constraint also rules out the other well-known moderate answers that have so far been proposed.
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  49. Duncan Watson (2010). An Argument Against an Argument Against the Necessity of Universal Mereological Composition. Analysis 70 (1):78-82.
    (No abstract is available for this citation).
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  50. Nathan Wildman (2012). Familiar Objects and Their Shadows. By Crawford L. Elder. (Cambridge UP, 2011. Pp. Xi + 210. Price £50.00, $85.00 H/B.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):195-197.