Principles of composition and criteria of identity

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):481 – 493 (2006)
Abstract
I argue that, despite van Inwagen’s pessimism about the task, it is worth looking for answers to his General Composition Question. Such answers or ‘principles of composition’ tell us about the relationship between an object and its parts. I compare principles of composition with criteria of identity, arguing that, just as different sorts of thing satisfy different criteria of identity, they may satisfy different principles of composition. Variety in criteria of identity is not taken to reflect ontological variety in the identity relation; I discuss whether variety in principles of composition should be taken to reflect ontological variety in the composition relation.
Keywords identity  composition
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J. Robert G. Williams (2008). Working Parts: Reply to Mellor. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62 (62):81-106.
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