Undermining Motivations for Universalism

Noûs 45 (4):696-713 (2011)
Abstract
Universalism (the thesis that for any ys, those ys compose a further object) is an answer to the Special Composition Question. In the literature there are three arguments – what I call the arguments from elegance – that universalists often rely upon, but which are rarely examined in-depth. I argue that these motivations cannot be had by the perdurantist, for to avoid a commitment to badly behaved superluminal objects perdurantists must answer the ‘Proper Continuant Question’. Any answer to that question necessarily ensures that there is a restricted answer to the Special Composition Question that is just as elegant as universalism. Thus, if you are a perdurantist, the arguments from elegance fail to motivate universalism for there will always be a restricted composition that is just as good
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2010.00779.x
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