Borderline Simple or Extremely Simple

The Monist 87 (3):385-404 (2004)
Abstract
In his Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen distinguishes two questions about parthood. What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for some things jointly to compose a whole? What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for a thing to have proper parts? The first of these, the Special Composition Question (SCQ), has been widely discussed, and David Lewis has argued that an important constraint on any answer to the SCQ is that it should not permit borderline cases of composition. This is a far-reaching claim, since many plausible-seeming accounts of composition do permit borderline cases. Ned Markosian has recently directed our attention to the second, the neglected Inverse Special Composition Question (ISCQ). I will argue that those who accept Lewis’s constraint on answers to the SCQ should accept an analogous constraint on answers to the ISCQ, and I will discuss the effects of such a constraint.
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