David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Analysis 68 (298):128–133 (2008)
The claim that composition is identity is an intuition in search of a formulation. The farmer’s field is made of six plots, and in some sense is nothing more than those six plots. According to the friend of composition as identity, the six plots are identical with the farmer’s field.1 Some philosophers, such as Peter van Inwagen (1994), have claimed that the view that composition is identity is incoherent. Van Inwagen cites the apparent ungrammaticality of sentences like ‘the six plots are the farmer’s field’ as evidence for his view. Perhaps van Inwagen is right, but I needn’t settle this question here. I will argue against the view that composition is identity, whatever that view amounts to, in the following way. First, I will elucidate a principle called ‘the Plural Duplication Principle’ [PDP]. Any acceptable way of making sense of the slogan that composition is identity— i.e., any way that properly conforms to the intuitions that lead one to utter this slogan— must validate PDP. Second, I argue that PDP is false. So any acceptable way of making sense of the slogan that composition is identity is false. The slogan that composition is identity will be refuted prior to being properly formulated. Following David Lewis (1986: 59-63), let us say that x and y are duplicates just in case there is a 1-1 correspondence between their parts that preserves perfectly natural properties and relations. Suppose that A is identical with B. Then any duplicate of A must also be a duplicate of B. This follows via Leibniz’s Law: if some duplicate of A were not..
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References found in this work BETA
David K. Lewis (1986/2001). On the Plurality of Worlds. Blackwell Publishers.
David Lewis (1991). Parts of Classes. Blackwell.
Theodore Sider (2007). Parthood. Philosophical Review 116 (1):51-91.
Kris McDaniel (2007). 8. Brutal Simples. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:233.
Donald L. M. Baxter (1988). Identity in the Loose and Popular Sense. Mind 97 (388):575-582.
Citations of this work BETA
Matteo Morganti (2009). Ontological Priority, Fundamentality and Monism. Dialectica 63 (3):271-288.
Kris McDaniel (2009). Structure-Making. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2):251-274.
Megan Wallace (2011). Composition as Identity: Part 1. Philosophy Compass 6 (11):804-816.
Einar Duenger Bohn (2014). From Hume's Dictum Via Submergence to Composition as Identity or Mereological Nihilism. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):336-355.
Kris McDaniel (2010). Parts and Wholes. Philosophy Compass 5 (5):412-425.
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Nikk Effingham, Debunking a Mereological Myth: If Composition as Identity is True, Universalism Need Not Be.
Ross P. Cameron (2012). Composition as Identity Doesn't Settle the Special Composition Question1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):531-554.
Theodore Sider (2014). Consequences of Collapse. In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press 211-221.
Kris McDaniel (2010). Composition as Identity Does Not Entail Universalism. Erkenntnis 73 (1):97-100.
Katherine Hawley (2006). Principles of Composition and Criteria of Identity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):481 – 493.
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