David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague (...) class='Hi'>composition, there is an object, which definitely exists, about which it is vague whether the relevant borderline parts compose it. (shrink)
According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns (...) out that it is surprisingly difficult to give a satisfactory answer to this question that accords with standard, pre-philosophical intuitions about the universe's composite objects. In fact, the three rival views in response to this question that have received the most support in the literature are (i) that there are no objects composed of two or more parts (which means that there are no stars, chairs, humans, or bicycles);2 (ii) that the only objects composed of two or more parts are living organisms (which still means no stars. (shrink)
The special composition question asks, roughly, under what conditions composition occurs. The common sense view is that composition only occurs among some things and that all and only ‘ordinary objects’ exist. Peter van Inwagen has marshaled a devastating argument against this view. The common sense view appears to commit one to giving what van Inwagen calls a ‘series-style answer’ to the special composition question, but van Inwagen argues that series-style answers are impossible because they are inconsistent (...) with the transitivity of parthood. In what follows I answer this objection in addition to other, less troubling objections raised by van Inwagen. (shrink)
The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it (...) is true, then there is an answer to one of the most difficult and intractable questions of mereology (The Simple Question). In this paper, I introduce the identity account of simplicity and argue that if SCAI is true then this identity account of simplicity is as well. I consider an objection to the identity account of simplicity. Ultimately, I find this objection unsuccessful. (shrink)
This article explores how the diversity of board resources and the number of women on boards affect firms' corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings, and how, in turn, CSR influences corporate reputation. In addition, this article examines whether CSR ratings mediate the relationships among board resource diversity, gender composition, and corporate reputation. The OLS regression results using lagged data for independent and control variables were statistically significant for the gender composition hypotheses, but not for the resource diversitybased hypotheses. CSR (...) ratings had a positive impact on reputation and mediated the relationship between the number of women on the board and corporate reputation. (shrink)
Whether certain objects compose a whole at a given time does not seem to depend on anything other than the character of those objects and the relations between them. This observation suggests a far-reaching constraint on theories of composition. One version of the constraint has been explicitly adopted by van Inwagen and rules out his own answer to the composition question. The constraint also rules out the other well-known moderate answers that have so far been proposed.
Most philosophical or scientific theories suppose that colour composition judgments refer to the way colours appear to us. The dominant view is therefore phenomenalist in the sense that colour composition is phenomenally given to perceivers. This paper argues that there is no evidence for a phenomenalist view of colour composition and that a conventionalist approach should be favoured.
A set of parameters for classifying composition operations is introduced. These parameters determine whether a composition operation is 1) universal, 2) determinate, 3) whether there is a difference between possible and actual compositions, 4) whether there can be singleton compositions, 5) whether they give rise to a hierarchy, and 6) whether components of compositions can be repeated. Philosophical implications of these parameters (in particular in relation to set theory) and mereology are discussed.
Although the composition of the board of directors has important implications for different aspects of firm performance, prior studies tend to focus on financial performance. The effects of board composition on corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance remain an under-researched area, particularly in the period following the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). This article specifically examines two important aspects of board composition (i.e., the presence of outside directors and the presence of women directors) and their (...) relationship with CSR performance in the Post-SOX era. With data covering over 500 of the largest companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges and spanning 64 different industries, we find empirical evidence showing that greater presence of outside and women directors is linked to better CSR performance within a firm’s industry. Treating CSR performance as the reflection of a firm’s moral legitimacy, our study suggests that deliberate structuring of corporate boards may be an effective approach to enhance a firm’s moral legitimacy. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on a recent debate in extended cognition known as “cognitive assembly” and how cognitive assembly shares a certain kinship with the special composition question advanced in analytical metaphysics. Both the debate about cognitive assembly and the special composition question ask about the circumstances under which entities (broadly construed) compose or assemble another entity. The paper argues for two points. The first point is that insofar as the metaphysics of composition presupposes that (...) class='Hi'>composition is a synchronic relation of dependence, then that presupposition is inconsistent with the temporal dynamics inherent in the process of cognitive assembly. The second point is that by developing a diachronic or temporally dynamic ontology for understanding the phenomenon of cognitive assembly, this lends support for a third wave of extended cognition. (shrink)
The idea that an utterance of a basic (nondeviant) declarative sentence expresses a single true-or-false proposition has dominated philosophical discussions of meaning in this century. Refinements aside, this idea is less of a substantive theses than it is a background assumption against which particular theories of meaning are evaluated. But there are phenomena (noted by Frege, Strawson, and Grice) that threaten at least the completeness of classical theories of meaning, which associate with an utterance of a simple sentence a truth-condition, (...) a Russellian proposition, or a Fregean thought. And it may well be the case that a framework within which utterances express sequences of propositions provides much of what is needed to account for the relevant phenomena, a better overall picture of the way language works, and an enticingly uniform perspective on a variety of semantic problems. I do not myself take to theories that multiply propositions by appealing to propositions “presupposed” or to pairs of Fregean and Russellian propositions, or theories that show no respect for a distinction between semantics and pragmatics— where the former is the study of propositions whose general form and character is determined by word meaning and syntax—or for theories that blithely abandon general principles of composition and semantic innocence. I would like to sketch a package based on four interconnected ideas: (i) the meaning of an individual word is a sequence of instructions for generating a sequence of propositions (in conjunction with compositional instructions (syntax) and elements of context); (ii) utterances themselves are not bearers of truth or falsity; (iii) judgements of truth, falsity, commitment, and conflict are shaped, in part, by the weights attached to individual 1 propositions that occur in sequences expressed by utterances, weights that may be set (and reset) by contextual considerations; (iv) Fregean senses are superfluous; propositions might as well be Russellian (Mont Blanc and all its snow fields will do as well as any mode of presentation).. (shrink)
Dialogue semantics for logic are two-player logic games between a Proponent who puts forward a logical formula φ as valid or true and an Opponent who disputes this. An advantage of the dialogical approach is that it is a uniform framework from which different logics can be obtained through only small variations of the basic rules. We introduce the composition problem for dialogue games as the problem of resolving, for a set S of rules for dialogue games, whether the (...) set of S-dialogically valid formulas is closed under modus ponens. Solving the composition problem is fundamental for the dialogical approach to logic; despite its simplicity, it often requires an indirect solution with the help of significant logical machinery such as cut-elimination. Direct solutions to the composition problem can, however, sometimes be had. As an example, we give a set N of dialogue rules which is well-justified from the dialogical point of view, but whose set N of dialogically valid formulas is both non-trivial and non-standard. We prove that the composition problem for N can be solved directly, and introduce a tableaux system for N. (shrink)
A growing body of research has demonstrated significant heterogeneity of hospital ethics committee (HEC) size, membership and training requirements, length of appointment, institutional support, clinical and policy roles, and predictors of self identified success. Because these studies have focused on HECs at a single point in time, however, little is known about how the composition of HECs changes over time and what impact these changes have on committee utilization. The current study presents 20 years of data on the evolution (...) of the Massachusetts General Hospital HEC. Between 1993 and 2012, the average number of committee members per year was 38 ± 3 and the average length of membership was 4.8 ± 0.4 years. During that time, the committee performed 934 consults, averaging 47 ± 3 per year. Attendance rates fell from 61.5 to 23.8 % over the study period and were inversely correlated with the total number of members. Between 1993 and 2012, the committee saw substantial growth in the diversity of the professional backgrounds of its members. Multivariate analysis, however, suggests that substantial changes in committee composition did not impact its utilization and that other factors are more likely to explain fluctuations in consultation volume. (shrink)
Even if the literature on the effects of pupil composition has been extensive, no clear consensus has been reached concerning the significance and magnitude of this effect. The first objective of this article is to estimate the magnitude of the school composition effect in primary schools (6th grade) in French-speaking Belgium. Different indicators of school composition are used: academic, socio-cultural, 'language' and sex composition. Except for sex composition, the results show that the school composition (...) effect explains significant amount of between schools variance even after controlling for pupils' initial performance, socio-cultural background, and non-cognitive dispositions. The second objective is to examine covariance between school composition and several organisational variables and their joint effect on school performance. The second set of analyses is intended to question the conceptual nature of the school composition effect, establishing whether it is direct or indirect. (shrink)
Constitution is the relation between something and what it is made of. Composition is the relation between something and its parts. I examine three different approaches to the relation between constitution and composition. One approach, associated with neo-Aristotelians like Mark Johnston and Kathrin Koslicki, identifies constitution with composition. A second, popular with those sympathetic to classical mereology such as Judith Thomson, defines constitution in terms of parthood. A third, advocated strongly by Lynne Baker, takes constitution to be (...) somehow inconsistent with relations of parthood. All of these approaches, I argue, face serious problems. I conclude, tentatively, that constitution and composition have nothing to do with each other. (shrink)
This paper provides evidence and arguments that, given the choice of teaching critical thinking and written composition as separate, stand-alone courses or combining them, the two should be combined into an integrated sequence.
While there is broad consensus about the structural similarities between language and music, comparably less attention has been devoted to semantic correspondences between these two ubiquitous manifestations of human culture. We have investigated the relations between music and a narrow and bounded domain of semantics: the words and concepts referring to taste sensations. In a recent work, we found that taste words were consistently mapped to musical parameters. Bitter is associated with low-pitched and continuous music (legato), salty is characterized by (...) silences between notes (staccato), sour is high pitched, dissonant and fast and sweet is consonant, slow and soft (Mesz2011). Here we extended these ideas, in a synergistic dialog between music and science, investigating whether music can be algorithmically generated from taste-words. We developed and implemented an algorithm that exploits a large corpus of classic and popular songs. New musical pieces were produced by choosing fragments from the corpus and modifying them to minimize their distance to the region in musical space that characterizes each taste. In order to test the capability of the produced music to elicit significant associations with the different tastes, musical pieces were produced and judged by a group of non musicians. Results showed that participants could decode well above chance the taste-word of the composition. We also discuss how our findings can be expressed in a performance bridging music and cognitive science. (shrink)
Let’s begin with a simple example. Consider two quarks: one near the tip of your nose, the other near the center of Alpha Centauri. Here is a question about these two subatomic particles: Is there an object that has these two quarks as its parts and that has no other parts? According to one view of the matter (a view that is surprisingly endorsed by a great many contemporary philosophers), the answer to this question is Yes. But I think it (...) is fair to say that according to common sense, the answer to this question is really No, there is no object that has as its only two parts a quark near the tip of your nose and another quark near the center of Alpha Centauri. (shrink)
In a theoretical first part we attempt to articulate the notions of concession, refutation and negation for monological linguistic activity, on the basis among other things of Mœschler's work on conversation. We distinguish the illocutionary act of refutation and the complex intervention of refutation, concession-invention, concession-repetition and concession-quotation. In a second part we analyze the place and role of (descriptive) negation in counter-argumentative texts written by 8- to 12-year-old pupils and adults in an artificial situation. We consider phenomena observed by (...) certain “contradictory” properties of negation in the context of the task in question: namely potential help in generating content by mechanisms of the argumentative law of negation extended to predicates, negation takes the risk polyphonically of argumentative drift. This may explain the fact that it is so rare. (shrink)
There is, at present, little precise understanding of the relative contributions of the various income streams used by impoverished rural households in southern Africa. The impact of household profiles on overall income also is not well understood. There is, therefore, little consideration of these factors in national economic accounting. This paper is an attempt to reduce this gap in knowledge by reflecting on the relative contribution of agro-pastoralism, secondary woodland resources, and formal and informal cash income streams to households in (...) the semi-arid rural village of Thorndale, Limpopo Province, South Africa. In the absence of jobs and confronted with high migrant labor, households with open access to natural resources derived more benefits from land-based livelihoods than cash income streams (i.e., 57.5 % vs. 42.5 %). Total livelihood income was valued at US$2887 per household per annum. A significant correlation between monetary values derived from crops and formal wages was established, and it was found that households with high cash incomes tended to invest more in crop production. Over 80 of households were male-headed. Of these heads of household, more than 60 were long-term migrants to urban areas, leaving household decision-making to the women. The low literacy rates of women have deprived them of paid jobs outside the area and, therefore, have increased their dependence on crops (62%) and secondary woodlands resources (60%). This was further reflected in the proportion of households in which females were the main contributors of cash income (9.7%), or joint contributors with men (24.4%). Various positive correlations were established between the number of women per household and the three land-based livelihoods. This implied that women’s total control over such activities was mostly a result of the absence of men and not a typical phenomenon. In spite of this control, it was not positively reflected in the lives of majority of the women. Households differed in their participation in livelihood activities. Household size influenced the level of production and was positively correlated with the value of secondary woodland resources and crops. The study shows the interdependence of land-based livelihood sources and the impact of household features on production and consumption. Policies that focus on livelihood options need to recognize and accommodate associated household dynamics. (shrink)
Let’s start with compositional pluralism. Elsewhere I’ve defended compositional pluralism, which we can provisionally understand as the doctrine that there is more than one basic parthood relation. (You might wonder what I mean by “basic”. We’ll discuss this in a bit.) On the metaphysics I currently favor, there are regions of spacetime and material objects, each of which enjoy bear a distinct parthood relation to members of their own kind. Perhaps there are other kinds of objects that enjoy a kind (...) of parthood relation other than the ones enjoyed by material objects and regions of spacetime. Perhaps, for example, there are facts; I’ve been wavering over whether to embrace these entities for years now. However, I’m reasonably confident that if there are facts than the kind of parthood relation that facts bear to that which composes them is not the kind of parthood relation enjoyed by material objects or regions of spacetime. More on why I am reasonably confident later. (shrink)
Many of those who accept the universalist thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted also maintain that the folk typically restrict their quantifiers in such a way as to exclude strange fusions when they say things that appear to conflict with universalism. Despite its prima facie implausibility, there are powerful arguments for universalism. By contrast, there is remarkably little evidence for the thesis that strange fusions are excluded from the ordinary domain of quantification. Furthermore, this reconciliatory strategy seems hopeless when (...) applied to the more fundamental conflict between universalism and the intuitions that tell against it. (shrink)
David Lewis famously argued against structural universals since they allegedly required what he called a composition “sui generis” that differed from standard mereological com¬position. In this paper it is shown that, although traditional Boolean mereology does not describe parthood and composition in its full generality, a better and more comprehensive theory is provided by the foundational theory of categories. In this category-theoretical framework a theory of structural universals can be formulated that overcomes the conceptual difficulties that Lewis and (...) his followers regarded as unsurmountable. As a concrete example of structural universals groups are considered in some detail. (shrink)
Orthodoxy says that the thesis that composition is identity (CAI) entails universalism: the claim that any collection of entities has a sum. If this is true it counts in favour of CAI, since a thesis about the nature of composition that settles the otherwise intractable special composition question (SCQ) is desirable. But I argue that it is false: CAI is compatible with the many forms of restricted composition, and SCQ is no easier to answer given CAI (...) than otherwise. Furthermore, in seeing why this is the case we reveal an objection to CAI: that it allows for the facts concerning what there is to be settled whilst leaving open the question about what is identical to what. (shrink)
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.. (shrink)
Atomistic metaphysics motivated an explanatory strategy which science has pursued with great success since the scientific revolution. By decomposing matter into its atomic and subatomic parts physics gave us powerful explanations and accurate predictions as well as providing a unifying framework for the rest of science. The success of the decompositional strategy has encouraged a widespread conviction that the physical world forms a compositional hierarchy that physics and other sciences are progressively articulating. But this conviction does not stand up to (...) a closer examination of how physics has treated composition, as a variety of case studies will show. (shrink)
There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of (...) class='Hi'>composition as identity, but argue that the version of this doctrine that entails universalism is implausible. I consider the claim that the a priority of such facts leads to their necessity, but give a defence of substantial contingent a priori truths. I ask whether the contingency of such facts would lead to unwelcome possibilities, but argue that the worrying looking possibilities can be blocked if it is desired. Next, I argue against the thought that the Lewis-Sider argument against restricted composition might give us reason to accept the necessity of universalism. Lastly, I respond to two objections from the 2006 BSPC. I conclude in favour of the contingency of the facts concerning when some things compose some thing. (shrink)
Composition as Identity is the view that, in some sense, a whole is numerically identical with its parts. Compositional universalism is the view that, whenever there are some things, there is a whole composed of those things. Despite the claims of many philosophers, these views are logically independent. Here, I will show that composition as identity does not entail compositional universalism.
This article has two goals: a historical and a speculative one. The historical goal is to offer a coherent account of Spinoza’s view on mereological composition. The speculative goal is to show that Spinoza’s substance monism is distinct from versions of monism that are currently defended in metaphysics and that it deserves the attention of contemporary metaphysicians. Regarding the second goal, two versions of monism are currently defended and discussed in contemporary metaphysics: existence monism according to which there actually (...) exists exactly one concrete entity; and priority monism that is famously defended by Jonathan Schaffer and according to which there exists exactly one fundamental concrete being, the cosmos, and several derivative concrete beings that are the parts of the cosmos. In this article, I argue that substance monism is neither an existence nor a priority monism because, while Spinoza’s monist is committed to the existence of a unique fundamental individual—the substance—and to the existence of several derivative individuals—the bodies or modes of extension—, Spinoza denies that the substance is mereologically complex. Regarding the first goal, the paper solves several interpretative puzzles by arguing that Spinoza distinguishes between three kinds of composition and that his talk of composition between the substance and its modes is by his own light not to be interpreted as literally true. (shrink)
I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
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. (shrink)
says that there are some composite objects. And it says that some objects jointly compose nothing at all. The main threat to restricted composition is the in.uential and widely defended Vagueness Argument. We shall see that the Vagueness Argument fails. In seeing how this argument fails, we shall discover a new focus for the debate over composition's extent.
Lewis has objected to Armstrong's notion of a structural universal on the grounds that it violates the Principle of Uniqueness of Composition (PUC), which says that given some parts, there is only one whole that they compose. This paper reviews Armstrong's case for structural universals, and then attempts to reconcile structural universals with PUC by arguing for the existence of arrangement universals. The latter are not only a key to defending structural universals against Lewis' objection, but are in fact (...) essential to Armstrong's conception of structural universals in general. Three objections to my proposal are deflected, and two alternative proposals are shown to be inferior to it. (shrink)
It is a common view that if composition as identity is true, then so is mereological universalism (the thesis that all objects have a mereological fusion). Various arguments have been advanced in favour of this: (i) there has been a recent argument by Merricks, (ii) some claim that Universalism is entailed by the ontological innocence of the identity relation, (or that ontological innocence undermines objections to universalism) and (iii) it is entailed by the law of selfidentity. After a preliminary (...) introduction to the competing theories of persistence (necessary for a discussion of Merricks’ argument) I examine each in turn and demonstrate how they fail. I conclude that the prejudice that if composition as identity is true then Universalism is true, is unwarranted. Thus one motivation for believing Universalism is lost and those who believe composition as identity should now be receptive to some form of restricted composition. (shrink)
Some mereologists boast that their view of parts and wholes is ontologically innocent.[Lewis 1991: 72-87] They claim that a fusion is nothing over and above its parts; once you’ve committed to the parts, you get the fusion for free. In other words, fusions are not a further ontological commitment beyond the commitment to the parts. There are various proposals to explain how it is that fusions can come about so cheap. Perhaps the most straightforward of these explanations, and the one (...) I will be concerned with in this paper, is to accept the Strong Composition Thesis:2, 3.. (shrink)
Just as we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of objects composes a single object, we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of actions composes a single action. In the material objects literature, this question is known as the "special composition question," and I take it that there is a similar question to be asked of collections of actions. I will call that question the "special composition question in action," and argue that (...) the correct answer to this question depends on a particular kind of consequence produced by the individual constituent actions. (shrink)
Composition as identity is the strange and strangely compelling doctrine that the whole is in some sense identical to its parts. Kris McDaniel (2008) argues that composition as identity rules out strongly emergent properties. I will argue that one version of the doctrine—namely, the most straightforward, albeit strangest, version—is resistant to the argument in an instructive way. What could it mean to say that one thing (such as a whole) is identical to many things (its parts)? That is (...) indeed the $64,000 question. But however we answer it, McDaniel says, composition as identity had better be taken to imply the following principle. (shrink)
Cartwright attempts to argue from an analysis of the composition of forces, and more generally the composition of laws, to the conclusion that laws must be regarded as false. A response to Cartwright is developed which contends that properly understood composition poses no threat to the truth of laws, even though agreeing with Cartwright that laws do not satisfy the "facticity" requirement. My analysis draws especially on the work of Creary, Bhaskar, Mill, and points towards a general (...) rejection of Cartwright's view that laws, especially fundamental laws, should be seen as false. (shrink)