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Summary There are various important monistic views. Contemporary discussion of monism focuses in part on two theses. The first claims that the cosmos is a vast concrete object and it’s the only concrete object. The second claims that, while there are many concrete objects, the cosmos as a whole is the only fundamental or basic concrete object. A familiar pluralistic alternative is this: instead of there being only one fundamental or basic concrete object, there are many – the concrete objects that themselves lack proper parts. Of the three theses just mentioned, the second and third are theses of sparse ontology. According to sparse ontology, there are fundamental entities and derivative entities, and the world exhibits an overarching hierarchical structure in virtue of this fact.    
Key works Monism in various forms has been discussed in philosophy from the very beginning – see, for example, Plato, Parmenides, Plotinus, Spinoza, Hegel, Royce, and Bradley. Recent interest in monism is due in large part to Horgan & Potrč 2008 and Schaffer 2010.  
Introductions For an introduction to monism, see Schaffer 2008.
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  1. Andreas Bächli & Klaus Petrus (eds.) (2003). Monism. Ontos.
    This volume aims to discuss some of these aspects historically and systematically.
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  2. Andrew M. Bailey (2011). The Incompatibility of Composition as Identity, Priority Pluralism, and Irreflexive Grounding. Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):171-174.
    Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is inconsistent with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
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  3. Pierfrancesco Basile (2012). Russell on Spinoza's Substance Monism. Metaphysica 13 (1):27-41.
    Russell’s critique of substance monism is an ideal starting point from which to understand some main concepts in Spinoza’s difficult metaphysics. This paper provides an in-depth examination of Spinoza’s proof that only one substance exists. On this basis, it rejects Russell’s interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of reality as founded upon the logical doctrine that all propositions consist of a predicate and a subject. An alternative interpretation is offered: Spinoza’s substance is not a bearer of properties, as Russell implied, but an (...)
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  4. Hilan Bensusan & Manuel de Pinedo, Priority Monism, Physical Intentionality and the Internal Relatedness of All Things.
    Schaffer (2010) argues that the internal relatedness of all things, no matter how it is conceived, entails priority monism. He claims that a sufficiently pervasive internal relation among objects implies the priority of the whole, understood as a concrete object. This paper shows that at least in the case of an internal relatedness of all things conceived in terms of physical intentionality - one way to understand dispositions - priority monism not only doesn't follow but also is precluded. We conclude (...)
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  5. Einar Duenger Bohn (2012). Monism, Emergence, and Plural Logic. Erkenntnis 76 (2):211-223.
    In this paper I argue that we need to take irreducibly plural logic more seriously in metaphysical debates due to the fact that the verdict of many metaphysical debates hangs on it. I give two examples. The main example I focus on is the debate recently revived by Jonathan Schaffer over the fundamental cardinality of the world. I show how the three main arguments provided by Schaffer are unsound in virtue of an employment of plural logic. The second example I (...)
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  6. Jacek Brzozowski (2010). Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):743-745.
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  7. Claudio Calosi (2013). Quantum Mechanics and Priority Monism. Synthese:1-14.
    The paper address the question of whether quantum mechanics (QM) favors Priority Monism, the view according to which the Universe is the only fundamental object. It develops formal frameworks to frame rigorously the question of fundamental mereology and its answers, namely (Priority) Pluralism and Monism. It then reconstructs the quantum mechanical argument in favor of the latter and provides a detailed and thorough criticism of it that sheds furthermore new light on the relation between parthood, composition and fundamentality in QM.
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  8. Ross P. Cameron (2010). From Humean Truthmaker Theory to Priority Monism. Noûs 44 (1):178 - 198.
    I argue that the truthmaker theorist should be a priority monist if she wants to avoid commitment to mysterious necessary connections. In section 1 I briefly discuss the ontological options available to the truthmaker theorist. In section 2 I develop the argument against truthmaker theory from the Humean denial of necessary connections. In section 3 I offer an account of when necessary connections are objectionable. In section 4 I use this criterion to narrow down the options from section 1. In (...)
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  9. William Charlton (1981). Spinoza's Monism. Philosophical Review 90 (4):503-529.
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  10. Elijah Chudnoff (2013). Gurwitsch's Phenomenal Holism. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (3):559-578.
    Aron Gurwitsch made two main contributions to phenomenology. He showed how to import Gestalt theoretical ideas into Husserl’s framework of constitutive phenomenology. And he explored the light this move sheds on both the overall structure of experience and on particular kinds of experience, especially perceptual experiences and conscious shifts in attention. The primary focus of this paper is the overall structure of experience. I show how Gurwitsch’s Gestalt theoretically informed phenomenological investigations provide a basis for defending what I will call (...)
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  11. Ralph W. Church (1935). On Dr. Ewing's Neglect of Bradley's Theory of Internal Relations. Journal of Philosophy 32 (10):264-273.
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  12. David M. Cornell (2013). Monism and Statespace: A Reply to Sider. Analysis 73 (2):230-236.
    According to Existence Monism, there is only one concrete object in existence—the world. This view is to be contrasted with Existence Pluralism, which posits multiple concrete objects. In a recent Analysis paper, Sider (Analysis 2007; 67:1–7) presents arguments against Existence Monism claiming that there are evident features of statespace, which the monist is at a loss to explain. Given that the pluralist can give plausible and satisfying explanations of these features, we have good reason to favor pluralism over monism, or (...)
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  13. Michael Della Rocca (2002). Spinoza's Substance Monism. In Olli Koistinen & J. I. Biro (eds.), Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes. Oxford University Press.
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  14. Louis deRosset (2010). Getting Priority Straight. Philosophical Studies 149 (1):73 - 97.
    Consider the kinds of macroscopic concrete objects that common sense and the sciences allege to exist: tables, raindrops, tectonic plates, galaxies, and the rest. Are there any such things? Opinions differ. Ontological liberals say they do; ontological radicals say they don't. Liberalism seems favored by its plausible acquiescence to the dictates of common sense abetted by science; radicalism by its ontological parsimony. Priority theorists claim we can have the virtues of both views. They hold that tables, raindrops, etc., exist, but (...)
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  15. A. C. Ewing (1935). On Dr. Ewing's Neglect of Bradley's Theory of Internal Relations: Reply. Journal of Philosophy 32 (10):273.
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  16. A. R. J. Fisher (forthcoming). Priority Monism, Partiality, and Minimal Truthmakers. Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    Truthmaker monism is the view that the one and only truthmaker is the world. Despite its unpopularity, this view has recently received an admirable defence by Schaffer (Philos Q 60(239):307–324, 2010b). Its main defect, I argue, is that it omits partial truthmakers. If we omit partial truthmakers, we lose the intimate connection between a truth and its truthmaker. I further argue that the notion of a minimal truthmaker should be the key notion that plays the role of constraining ontology and (...)
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  17. Steven French (2011). Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology – Terence Horgan and Matjaž Potrč. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):201-202.
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  18. Philip Goff (ed.) (2012). Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  19. Philip Goff (2012). There is More Than One Thing. In , Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan. 113-22.
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  20. Ghislain Guigon (2011). Spinoza on Composition and Priority. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan.
    This article has two goals: a historical and a speculative one. The historical goal is to offer a coherent account of Spinoza’s view on mereological composition. The speculative goal is to show that Spinoza’s substance monism is distinct from versions of monism that are currently defended in metaphysics and that it deserves the attention of contemporary metaphysicians. Regarding the second goal, two versions of monism are currently defended and discussed in contemporary metaphysics: existence monism according to which there actually exists (...)
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  21. Richard Healey (2012). The World As We Know It. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
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  22. Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč (2012). Existence Monism Trumps Priority Monism. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan. 51--76.
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  23. Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč (2008). Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. The Mit Press.
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  24. Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč (2006). Abundant Truth in an Austere World. In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Oxford University Press. 137--167.
    What is real? Less than you might think. We advocate austere metaphysical realism---a form of metaphysical realism claiming that a correct ontological theory will repudiate numerous putative entities and properties that are posited in everyday thought and discourse, and also will even repudiate numerous putative objects and properties that are posited by well confirmed scientific theories. We have lately defended a specific version of austere metaphysical realism which asserts that there is really only one concrete particular, viz., the entire cosmos (...)
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  25. Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč (2002). Addressing Questions for Blobjectivism. Facta Philosophica 4:311-322.
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  26. Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč (2000). Blobjectivism and Indirect Correspondence. Facta Philosophica 2:249-270.
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  27. Daniel Z. Korman (2008). Review of Terence E. Horgan, Matjaz Potrč, Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008.
    The main focus of the review is Horgan and Potrč’s strategy for reconciling austere ontologies -- like their own, which includes exactly one concrete particular: “the blobject” -- with ordinary discourse about tables and the like. I try to show that, once we accept their ontological conclusions, there is no reason to prefer their conciliatory ontological-cum-semantic package to a more straightforward error-theoretic package on which we simply say lots of false things in ordinary discourse about tables and the like.
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  28. Uriah Kriegel (2012). Kantian Monism. Philosophical Papers 41 (1):23-56.
    Abstract Let ?monism? be the view that there is only one basic object?the world. Monists face the question of whether there are also non-basic objects. This is in effect the question of whether the world decomposes into parts. Jonathan Schaffer maintains that it does, Terry Horgan and Matja? Potr? that it does not. In this paper, I propose a compromise view, which I call ?Kantian monism.? According to Kantian monism, the world decomposes into parts insofar as an ideal subject under (...)
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  29. Mark Kulstad (2012). Spinoza's Demonstration of Monism: A New Line of Defense. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  30. Mark A. Kulstad (2003). What Spinoza, in Company with Leibniz and Descartes, Can Bring to Light About Important Varieties of Substance Monism. In Andreas Bächli & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Monism. Ontos. 9--63.
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  31. Mark A. Kulstad (1996). Spinoza's Demonstration of Monism: A New Line of Defense. History of Philosophy Quarterly 13 (3):299 - 316.
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  32. E. J. Lowe (2013). Ontological Vagueness, Existence Monism and Metaphysical Realism. Metaphysica 14 (2):265-274.
    Recently, Terry Horgan and Matjaž Potrč have defended the thesis of ‘existence monism’, according to which the whole cosmos is the only concrete object. Their arguments appeal largely to considerations concerning vagueness. Crucially, they claim that ontological vagueness is impossible, and one key assumption in their defence of this claim is that vagueness always involves ‘sorites-susceptibility’. I aim to challenge both the claim and this assumption. As a consequence, I seek to undermine their defence of existence monism and support a (...)
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  33. E. J. Lowe (2012). Against Monism. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan. 92--112.
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  34. Kris McDaniel (2009). Extended Simples and Qualitative Heterogeneity. Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):325-331.
    The problem of qualitative heterogeneity is to explain how an extended simple can enjoy qualitative variation across its spatial or temporal axes, given that it lacks both spatial and temporal parts. I discuss how friends of extended simples should address the problem of qualitative heterogeneity. I present a series of arguments designed to show that rather than appealing to fundamental distributional properties one should appeal to tiny and short-lived tropes. Along the way, issues relevant to debates about material composition, persistence (...)
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  35. Yitzhak Y. Melamed (2011). Why Spinoza is Not an Eleatic Monist (Or Why Diversity Exists). In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave.
    “Why did God create the World?” is one of the traditional questions of theology. In the twentieth century this question was rephrased in a secularized manner as “Why is there something rather than nothing?” While creation - at least in its traditional, temporal, sense - has little place in Spinoza’s system, a variant of the same questions puts Spinoza’s system under significant pressure. According to Spinoza, God, or the substance, has infinitely many modes. This infinity of modes follow from the (...)
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  36. Kristie Miller (2009). Defending Contingentism in Metaphysics. Dialectica 63 (1):23-49.
    Metaphysics is supposed to tell us about the metaphysical nature of our world: under what conditions composition occurs; how objects persist through time; whether properties are universals or tropes. It is near orthodoxy that whichever of these sorts of metaphysical claims is true is necessarily true. This paper looks at the debate between that orthodox view and a recently emerging view that claims like these are contingent, by focusing on the metaphysical debate between monists and pluralists about concrete particulars. This (...)
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  37. Matteo Morganti (2009). Ontological Priority, Fundamentality and Monism. Dialectica 63 (3):271-288.
    In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of 'priority monism' in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are (...)
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  38. Samuel Newlands (2010). Another Kind of Spinozistic Monism. Noûs 44 (3):469-502.
    I argue that Spinoza endorses "conceptual dependence monism," the thesis that all forms of metaphysical dependence (such as causation, inherence, and existential dependence) are conceptual in kind. In the course of explaining the view, I further argue that it is actually presupposed in the proof for his more famed substance monism. Conceptual dependence monism also illuminates several of Spinoza’s most striking metaphysical views, including the intensionality of causal contexts, parallelism, metaphysical perfection, and explanatory rationalism. I also argue that this priority (...)
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  39. Michael Rea (2001). How to Be an Eleatic Monist. Noûs 35 (s15):129-151.
    There is a tradition according to which Parmenides of Elea endorsed the following set of counterintuitive doctrines: (a) There exists exactly one material thing. (b) What exists does not change. (g) Nothing is generated or destroyed. (d) What exists is undivided. For convenience, I will use the label ‘Eleatic monism’ to refer to the conjunction of a–d.
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  40. Jonathan Schaffer (2013). The Action of the Whole. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):67-87.
    I discuss an argument for the monistic idea that the cosmos is the one and only fundamental thing, drawing on the idea that the cosmos is the one and only thing that evolves by the fundamental laws.
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  41. Jonathan Schaffer (2012). Why the World Has Parts: Reply to Horgan and Potrc. In Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
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  42. Jonathan Schaffer (2010). Monism: The Priority of the Whole. Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
    Consider a circle and a pair of its semicircles. Which is prior, the whole or its parts? Are the semicircles dependent abstractions from their whole, or is the circle a derivative construction from its parts? Now in place of the circle consider the entire cosmos (the ultimate concrete whole), and in place of the pair of semicircles consider the myriad particles (the ultimate concrete parts). Which if either is ultimately prior, the one ultimate whole or its many ultimate parts?
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  43. Jonathan Schaffer (2010). The Internal Relatedness of All Things. Mind 119 (474):341 - 376.
    The argument from internal relatedness was one of the major nineteenth century neo-Hegelian arguments for monism. This argument has been misunderstood, and may even be sound. The argument, as I reconstruct it, proceeds in two stages: first, it is argued that all things are internally related in ways that render them interdependent; second, the substantial unity of the whole universe is inferred from the interdependence of all of its parts. The guiding idea behind the argument is that failure of free (...)
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  44. Jonathan Schaffer (2010). The Least Discerning and Most Promiscuous Truthmaker. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239):307 - 324.
    I argue that the one and only truthmaker is the world. This view can be seen as arisingfrom (i) the view that truthmaking is a relation of grounding holding between true propositions and fundamental entities, together with (ii) the view that the world is the one and only fundamental entity. I argue that this view provides an elegant and economical account of the truthmakers, while solving the problem of negative existentials, in a way that proves ontologically revealing.
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  45. Jonathan Schaffer (2009). On What Grounds What. In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. 347-383.
    On the now dominant Quinean view, metaphysics is about what there is. Metaphysics so conceived is concerned with such questions as whether properties exist, whether meanings exist, and whether numbers exist. I will argue for the revival of a more traditional Aristotelian view, on which metaphysics is about what grounds what. Metaphysics so revived does not bother asking whether properties, meanings, and numbers exist (of course they do!) The question is whether or not they are fundamental.
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  46. Jonathan Schaffer (2009). Spacetime the One Substance. Philosophical Studies 145 (1):131 - 148.
    What is the relation between material objects and spacetime regions? Supposing that spacetime regions are one sort of substance, there remains the question of whether or not material objects are a second sort of substance. This is the question of dualistic versus monistic substantivalism. I will defend the monistic view. In particular, I will maintain that material objects should be identified with spacetime regions. There is the spacetime manifold, and the fundamental properties are pinned directly to it.
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  47. Jonathan Schaffer, Monism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This entry focuses on two of the more historically important monisms: existence monism and priority monism. Existence monism targets concrete objects and counts by tokens. This is the doctrine that exactly one concrete object exists. Priority monism also targets concrete objects, but counts by basic tokens. This is the doctrine that exactly one concrete object is basic, which will turn out to be the classical doctrine that the whole is prior to its parts.
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  48. Jonathan Schaffer (2008). Review: Andreas Hüttemann: What's Wrong with Microphysicalism? [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2):253-257.
    In What’s Wrong With Microphysicalism?, Andreas H üttemann argues against the ontological priority of the microphysical, in favour of a ‘pluralism’ that accepts physical systems of all scales as interdependent equals. This is thoughtful and original work, deploying an understanding of the relevant physics to mount a serious challenge to the dominant microphysicalist view.
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  49. Jonathan Schaffer (2007). From Nihilism to Monism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):175 – 191.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that all concrete objects are simple. Existence monism is the view that the only concrete object is one big simple: the world. I will argue that nihilism culminates in monism. The nihilist demands the simplest sufficient ontology, and the monist delivers it.
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  50. Theodore Sider (2008). Monism and Statespace Structure. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 83 (62):129-150.
    Exotic ontologies are all the rage. Distant from common sense and often science as well, views like mereological essentialism, nihilism, and fourdimensionalism appeal to our desire to avoid arbitrariness, anthropocentrism, and metaphysical conundrums.1 Such views are defensible only if they are materially adequate, only if they can “reconstruct” the world of common sense and science. (No disrespect to the heroic metaphysicians of antiquity, but this world is not just an illusion.) In the world of common sense and science, bicycles survive (...)
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