“Perfectly Understood, Unproblematic, and Certain”: Lewis on Mereology

David Lewis famously takes mereology “to be perfectly understood, unproblematic, and certain” (1991, 75). It is central to his thought, appearing in his discussions of set theory, modality, vagueness, structural universals, and elsewhere. He held views not only about how composition works and when it occurs, but also about the role of mereology in philosophy. In this essay, I will proceed by articulating four theses that Lewis holds about composition. (I would call them the four U’s, if only ‘unguilty’ were a word!) Three of them are familiar; Lewis himself explicitly articulates and relies upon them. The fourth remains implicit, but it is nonetheless important. Here they are: Composition is unique —the same things cannot have two different fusions. Composition is unrestricted —any two things whatsoever have a fusion
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