Mereological commitments

Dialectica 54 (4):283–305 (2000)
Abstract
We tend to talk about (refer to, quantify over) parts in the same way in which we talk about whole objects. Yet a part is not something to be included in an inventory of the world over and above the whole to which it belongs, and a whole is not something to be included in the inventory over and above its constituent parts. This paper is an attempt to clarify a way of dealing with this tension which may be labeled the Minimalist View: An element in the field of a part-whole relation is to be included in an inventory of the world if and only if it does not overlap any distinct element that is itself included in the inventory.
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