Applications and limits of mereology. From the theory of parts to the theory of wholes

Axiomathes 5 (1):13-54 (1994)
Abstract
The discovery of the importance of mereology follows and does not precede the formalisation of the theory. In particular, it was only after the construction of an axiomatic theory of the part-whole relation by the Polish logician Stanisław Leśniewski that any attempt was made to reinterpret some periods in the history of philosophy in the light of the theory of parts and wholes. Secondly, the push for formalisation - and the individuation of mereology as a specific theoretical field - arise from several particular theories, first from biology and then from psychology. Mereological considerations were explicitly developed within the school of Brentano, by Brentano himself- starting from the problem of the unity of consciousness - and by his students, particularly Stumpl, Twardowski and the Gestaltists. The most complete result of this tradition is undoubtedly the third of Husserl's Logical Investigations, called "the single most important contribution to realist (Aristotelian) ontology in the modern period".
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