Topological Essentialism

Philosophical Studies 100 (3):217 - 236 (2000)
Abstract
Considering topology as an extension of mereology, this paper analyses topological variants of mereological essentialism (the thesis that an object could not have different parts than the ones it has). In particular, we examine de dicto and de re versions of two theses: (i) that an object cannot change its external connections (e.g., adjacent objects cannot be separated), and (ii) that an object cannot change its topological genus (e.g., a doughnut cannot turn into a sphere). Stronger forms of structural essentialism, such as morphological essentialism (an object cannot change shape) and locative essentialism (an object cannot change position) are also examined.
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