About this topic
Summary A slogan form of the thesis of composition as identity says that a whole is the same as its parts. Beyond that, there is no agreement on what the thesis of composition as identity is. A strong version of it says that a whole is identical with its parts. More precisely, it says either that a whole is identical with each one of its parts distributively, but not with all of them collectively; or that a whole is identical with each one of its parts distributively and collectively; or that a whole is identical with all its parts collectively, but not distributively. Composition as identity is thus committed to, in some form or other, a revision or generalization of the traditional laws of identity. A weaker version of composition as identity says that composition is very much like, but not the same as, the identity relation.
Key works The classic readings are Baxter 1988, Baxter 1988, Lewis 1991 and Sider 2007
Introductions The only introductions to this topic are Wallace 2011, Wallace 2011 and Cotnoir 2014
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109 found
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1 — 50 / 109
  1. added 2020-04-13
    Why the Social Sciences Are Irreducible.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2019 - Synthese 196 (12):4961-4987.
    It is often claimed that the social sciences cannot be reduced to a lower-level individualistic science. The standard argument for this position is the Fodorian multiple realizability argument. Its defenders endorse token–token identities between “higher-level” social objects and pluralities/sums of “lower-level” individuals, but they maintain that the properties expressed by social science predicates are often multiply realizable, entailing that type–type identities between social and individualistic properties are ruled out. In this paper I argue that the multiple realizability argument for explanatory (...)
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  2. added 2020-03-02
    Mereology and Identity.Massimiliano Carrara & Giorgio Lando - 2020 - Synthese 1 (Online First):1-23.
  3. added 2020-02-23
    Parts of Ockham’s Razor and Their Counterparts.Ghislain Guigon - manuscript
    William of Ockham seems to have endorsed the view (i) that a whole is its parts, (ii) that some things are such that whether they together compose a whole is contingent, and (iii) that parts are ontologically prior to the whole they compose. Ockhamist Composition as Identity is the conjunction of these three claims. It seems doubly absurd since Leibniz’s Law arguments can be run against both the conjunction of (i) and (ii) and that of (i) and (iii). In this (...)
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  4. added 2020-02-12
    Organisms, activity, and being: on the substance of process ontology.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-21.
    According to contemporary ‘process ontology’, organisms are best conceptualised as spatio-temporally extended entities whose mereological composition is fundamentally contingent and whose essence consists in changeability. In contrast to the Aristotelian precepts of classical ‘substance ontology’, from the four-dimensional perspective of this framework, the identity of an organism is grounded not in certain collections of privileged properties, or features which it could not fail to possess, but in the succession of diachronic relations by which it persists, or ‘perdures’ as one entity (...)
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  5. added 2019-12-30
    Aristotle's Ontology of Change.Mark Sentesy - 2020 - Chicago, IL, USA: Northwestern University Press.
    This book investigates what change is, according to Aristotle, and how it affects his conception of being. Mark Sentesy argues that change leads Aristotle to develop first-order metaphysical concepts such as matter, potency, actuality, sources of being, and the teleology of emerging things. He shows that Aristotle’s distinctive ontological claim—that being is inescapably diverse in kind—is anchored in his argument for the existence of change. -/- Aristotle may be the only thinker to have given a noncircular definition of change. When (...)
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  6. added 2019-09-30
    Composition as Analysis: The Meta-Ontological Origins (and Future) of Composition as Identity.Martina Botti - forthcoming - Synthese.
    In this paper, I argue that the debate on Composition as Identity—the thesis that any composite object is identical to its parts—is deadlocked because both the defenders and the detractors of the claim have so far failed to take its philosophical core at face value and have, as a result, defended and criticized respectively something that is not Composition as Identity. After establishing how Composition as Identity should properly be understood and proposing for it a new interpretation centered around the (...)
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  7. added 2019-09-13
    Projikování a abstraktní vs. konkrétní individua.Jiří Raclavský - 2009 - Studia Neoaristotelica 6 (2):234-246.
    De proiectione et individuis abstractis atque concretisIn hac tractatione distinctio individuorum abstractorum a concretis exponitur. Individua abstracta ad ordinem conceptualem spectant, cum ex concretis mundus materialis constituatur. Quisquis empiricae investigationi rerum extra operam dat, individua abstracta in partes molis proicit. Qua doctrina nonnulae aporiae circa individua tam in ontologia quam in epistemologia solvuntur, v. g. problema “navis Thesei”, problema “logici Polonici”, quaestiones circa reidentificationem, circa nomina propria, etc. Translatio: Lukáš NovákProjection and Abstract vs. Concrete IndividualsTwo kinds of individuals are distinguished: (...)
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  8. added 2019-09-09
    How to Identify Wholes with Their Parts.Jonathan D. Payton - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    I claim that a whole is identical to its parts. Many find this claim incredible: it seems that a whole and its parts must be distinct, for the whole is one thing while its parts are many things. Byeong-uk Yi has developed a version of this argument which exploits the resources of plural logic. Yi provides logical analyses of the predicates ‘one’ and ‘many’ which seem to show that nothing can satisfy them both. But there are two senses of the (...)
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  9. added 2019-08-30
    Baxter and Cotnoir on Composition as Identity.Joongol Kim - 2019 - 철학사상 [CHUL HAK SA SANG: Journal of Philosophical Ideas] 73:105-125.
    This paper provides a critical examination of three related attempts to defend Composition as Identity (CI), namely the thesis that if some things compose something, then they are it. First, it will be argued against Donald Baxter’s view of composition as ‘loose identity’ that by construing composition as strictly a many-many relation, the view trivializes CI, and cannot be an option for the advocate of CI who takes composition as a genuine many-one relation. Second, it is argued against Baxter’s modified (...)
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  10. added 2019-08-25
    The Mereology of Emergence.Ryan Miller - 2019 - Dissertation, The University of St Andrews
    The debate about the ontological innocence of mereology has generally been framed as a debate about the plausibility of Universal Fusion. Ontologically loaded fusions must be more than the sum of their parts, and this seems to violate parsimony if fusion is universal. Less attention has been paid to the question of what sort of emergence mereological fusions must exhibit if they are irreducible to their parts. The philosophy of science literature provides several models of such strong emergence. Examining those (...)
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  11. added 2019-08-17
    Bivalent Selection and Graded Darwinian Individuality.Daniel J. Molter - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axz026.
    Philosophers are approaching a consensus that biological individuality, including evolutionary individuality, comes in degrees. Graded evolutionary individuality presents a puzzle when juxtaposed with another widely embraced view: that evolutionary individuality follows from being a selectable member of a Darwinian population. Population membership is, on the orthodox view, a bivalent condition, so how can members of Darwinian populations vary in their degree of individuality? This article offers a solution to the puzzle, by locating difference in degree of evolutionary individuality at the (...)
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  12. added 2019-07-02
    Oneness, Aspects, and the Neo-Confucians.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2018 - In Philip J. Ivanhoe, Owen Flanagan, Victoria S. Harrison, Hagop Sarkissian & Eric Schwitzgebel (eds.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self. New York, USA: Columbia University Press.
    Confucius gave counsel that is notoriously hard to follow: "What you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others" (Huang 1997: 15.24). People tend to be concerned with themselves and to be indifferent to most others. We are distinct from others so our self-concern does not include them, or so it seems. Were we to realize this distinctness is merely apparent--that our true self includes others--Confucius's counsel would be easier to follow. Concern for our true self would extend (...)
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  13. added 2019-06-26
    On Atomic Composition as Identity.Roberto Loss - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    In this paper I address two important objections to the theory called ‘ Composition as Identity’ : the ‘wall-bricks-and-atoms problem’, and the claim that CAI entails mereological nihilism. I aim to argue that the best version of CAI capable of addressing both problems is the theory I will call ‘Atomic Composition as Identity’ which consists in taking the plural quantifier to range only over proper pluralities of mereological atoms and every non-atomic entity to be identical to the plurality of atoms (...)
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  14. added 2019-06-06
    Composition as Identity - Framing the Debate.Aaron Cotnoir - 2014 - In Aaron Cotnoir & Donald Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3-23.
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  15. added 2019-06-06
    Composition as Identity Doesn’T Settle the Special Composition Question1.Ross P. Cameron - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):531-554.
    Orthodoxy says that the thesis that composition is identity 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 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 (...)
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  16. added 2019-06-06
    The Logic of the Trinity.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2011 - Sophia 50 (3):363-374.
    Roughly, the problem of the Trinity is the problem of how God can be one and yet be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, which are three, not one. That one thing is identical with three distinct things seems to violate traditional laws of identity. I propose a solution to this problem according to which it is just an ordinary claim of one-many identity. For example, one pair of shoes is identical with two shoes; and my one body (...)
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  17. added 2019-06-05
    Any Sum of Parts Which Are Water is Water.Henry Laycock - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19):41-55.
    Mereological entities often seem to violate ‘ordinary’ ideas of what a concrete object can be like, behaving more like sets than like Aristotelian substances. However, the mereological notions of ‘part’, ‘composition’, and ‘sum’ or ‘fusion’ appear to find concrete realisation in the actual semantics of mass nouns. Quine notes that ‘any sum of parts which are water is water’; and the wine from a single barrel can be distributed around the globe without affecting its identity. Is there here, as some (...)
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  18. added 2019-03-31
    Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  19. added 2019-03-15
    Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem.C. Tillman & J. Spencer - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):252-259.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’.
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  20. added 2019-03-14
    Composition as Identity, Leibniz’s Law, and Slice-Sensitive Emergent Properties.Phillip Bricker - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Moderate composition as identity holds that there is a generalized identity relation, “being the same portion of reality,” of which composition and numerical identity are distinct species. Composition is a genuine kind of identity; but unlike numerical identity, it fails to satisfy Leibniz’s Law. A composite whole and its parts differ with respect to their numerical properties: the whole is one; the parts are many. Moderate composition as identity faces the challenge: how, in the absence of Leibniz’s Law, can one (...)
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  21. added 2019-03-11
    Many, but One.Evan T. Woods - forthcoming - Synthese:1-18.
    The problem of the many threatens to show that, in general, there are far more ordinary objects than you might have thought. I present and motivate a solution to this problem using many-one identity. According to this solution, the many things that seem to have what it takes to be, say, a cat, are collectively identical to that single cat.
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  22. added 2019-03-07
    O Estatuto Do Singular: Estratégias e Perspectivas.Maria Luísa Couto Soares, Nuno Venturinha & Gil Santos (eds.) - 2008 - Lisbon: Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda.
  23. added 2019-02-21
    Composition as Identity.A. J. Cotnoir & Donald L. M. Baxter (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Composition is the relation between a whole and its parts--the parts are said to compose the whole; the whole is composed of the parts. But is a whole anything distinct from its parts taken collectively? It is often said that 'a whole is nothing over and above its parts'; but what might we mean by that? Could it be that a whole just is its parts?This collection of essays is the first of its kind to focus on the relationship between (...)
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  24. added 2019-02-15
    No Universalism Without Gunk? Composition as Identity and the Universality of Identity.Manuel Lechthaler - forthcoming - Synthese:1-12.
    Philosophers disagree whether composition as identity entails mereological universalism. Bricker :264–294, 2016) has recently considered an argument which concludes that composition as identity supports universalism. The key step in this argument is the thesis that any objects are identical to some object, which Bricker justifies with the principle of the universality of identity. I will spell out this principle in more detail and argue that it has an unexpected consequence. If the universality of identity holds, then composition as identity not (...)
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  25. added 2018-08-30
    Contingent Composition as Identity.Giorgio Lando & Massimiliano Carrara - 2019 - Synthese 1 (Online First):1-30.
    When the Necessity of Identity (NI) is combined with Composition as Identity (CAI), the contingency of composition (CC) is at risk. In the extant literature, either NI is seen as the basis for a refutation of CAI or CAI is associated with a theory of modality, such that: either NI is renounced (if counterpart theory is adopted); or CC is renounced (if the theory of modal parts is adopted). In this paper, we investigate the prospects of a new variety of (...)
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  26. added 2018-07-29
    Failure of Boredom: The Pendulum of Composition as Identity.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3):281-292.
    This paper provides new arguments for the following claim: either strong composition as identity cannot retain the full strength of both the logical principles of one-one identity and its semantical principles or it only delivers cases of boring composition in that it entails mereological nihilism.
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  27. added 2018-07-29
    Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    Composition as Identity is the view that an object is identical to its parts taken collectively. I elaborate and defend a theory based on this idea: composition is a kind of identity. Since this claim is best presented within a plural logic, I develop a formal system of plural logic. The principles of this system differ from the standard views on plural logic because one of my central claims is that identity is a relation which comes in a variety of (...)
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  28. added 2018-07-29
    Composition, Identity, and Emergence.Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (3):429-443.
    Composition as Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strictly and literally, identical to its parts, considered collectively. McDaniel [2008] argues against CAI in that it prohibits emergent properties. Recently Sider [2014] exploited the resources of plural logic and extensional mereology to undermine McDaniel’s argument. He shows that CAI identifies extensionally equivalent pluralities – he calls it the Collapse Principle – and then shows how this identification rescues CAI from the emergentist argument. In this paper I first give a (...)
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  29. added 2018-07-14
    Saving the Ship.John Biro - 2017 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 13 (2):43-54.
    In defending the startling claim that that there are no artifacts, indeed, no inanimate material objects of the familiar sort, Peter van Inwagen has argued that truths about such putative objects can be paraphrased as truths that do not make essential reference to them and that we should endorse only the ontological commitments of the paraphrase. In this note I argue that the paraphrases van Inwagen recommends cannot meet his condition. Read one way, they lose us some truths. Read another, (...)
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  30. added 2018-04-03
    Mereological Composition and Plural Quantifier Semantics.Manuel Lechthaler & Ceth Lightfield - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):943-958.
    Mereological universalists and nihilists disagree on the conditions for composition. In this paper, we show how this debate is a function of one’s chosen semantics for plural quantifiers. Debating mereologists have failed to appreciate this point because of the complexity of the debate and extraneous theoretical commitments. We eliminate this by framing the debate between universalists and nihilists in a formal model where these two theses about composition are contradictory. The examination of the two theories in the model brings clarity (...)
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  31. added 2018-03-05
    Composition as Identity. [REVIEW]A. R. J. Fisher - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):409-412.
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  32. added 2018-03-05
    Composition as Abstraction.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (9):453-470.
    The existence of mereological sums can be derived from an abstraction principle in a way analogous to numbers. I draw lessons for the thesis that “composition is innocent” from neo-Fregeanism in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  33. added 2018-02-17
    ‘Nothing Over and Above’ or ‘Nothing’?Jiri Benovsky - 2015 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 9 (2):7-17.
    In this article, I am interested in an issue concerning eliminativism about ordinary objects that can be put as the claim that the eliminativist is guilty of postulating the existence of something, but not of something that is identical to it. But, as we will see, this turns out to be a problem for everybody except the eliminativist. Indeed, this issue highlights a more general problem about the relationship between an entity and the parts the compose it. Furthermore, I am (...)
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  34. added 2018-02-17
    Many, but Almost One.David K. Lewis - 1993 - In Keith Cambell, John Bacon & Lloyd Reinhardt (eds.), Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays on the Philosophy of D. M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press. pp. 23-38.
  35. added 2017-03-07
    A Sudden Collapse to Nihilism.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):370-375.
    According to Composition is Identity, a whole is literally identical to the plurality of its parts. According to Mereological Nihilism, nothing has proper parts. In this note, it is argued that Composition is Identity can be shown to entail Mereological Nihilism in a much more simple and direct way than the one recently proposed by Claudio Calosi.
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  36. added 2017-02-01
    Is a Whole Identical to its Parts?Theodore Scaltsas - 1990 - Mind 99 (396):583-598.
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  37. added 2017-01-19
    Distinctness and Non-Identity.David H. Sanford - 2005 - Analysis 65 (4):269–274.
    The following statement (A) is usually abbreviated with symbols: (A) There are items X and Y, each is F, X is not identical to Y, and everything F is identical to X or is identical to Y. (A) is neither necessary nor sufficient for the existence of exactly two distinct things that are F. Some things are neither identical nor distinct. The difference between distinctness and nonidentity makes a difference in asking questions about counting, constitution, and persistence.
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  38. added 2016-12-12
    Universalism entails Extensionalism.Achille C. Varzi - 2009 - Analysis 69 (4):599-604.
    I argue that Universalism (the thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted) entails Extensionalism (the thesis that sameness of composition is sufficient for identity) as long as the parthood relation is transitive and satisfies the Weak Supplementation principle (to the effect that whenever a thing has a proper part, it has another part disjoint from the first).
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  39. added 2016-12-11
    A World of States of Affairs.D. M. Armstrong - 1996 - Cambridge University Press.
    In this important study D. M. Armstrong offers a comprehensive system of analytical metaphysics that synthesises but also develops his thinking over the last twenty years. Armstrong's analysis, which acknowledges the 'logical atomism' of Russell and Wittgenstein, makes facts the fundamental constituents of the world, examining properties, relations, numbers, classes, possibility and necessity, dispositions, causes and laws. All these, it is argued, find their place and can be understood inside a scheme of states of affairs. This is a comprehensive and (...)
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  40. added 2016-12-09
    What Do We Want to Know When We Ask the Simple Question?David Mark Kovacs - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):254-266.
    The Simple Question (SQ) asks: “What are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any x must satisfy in order for it to be true that x is a simple?” The main motivation for asking SQ stems from the hope that it could teach us important lessons for material-object ontology. It is universally accepted that a proper answer to it has to be finite, complete and devoid of mereological expressions. This paper argues that we should stop treating SQ as the central (...)
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  41. added 2016-12-08
    The Extensionality of Parthood and Composition.Achille C. Varzi - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):108-133.
    I focus on three mereological principles: the Extensionality of Parthood (EP), the Uniqueness of Composition (UC), and the Extensionality of Composition (EC). These principles are not equivalent. Nonetheless, they are closely related (and often equated) as they all reflect the basic nominalistic dictum, No difference without a difference maker. And each one of them—individually or collectively—has been challenged on philosophical grounds. In the first part I argue that such challenges do not quite threaten EP insofar as they are either self-defeating (...)
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  42. added 2016-11-12
    Composition is Identity and Mereological Nihilism.Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):219-235.
    Composition is Identity is the thesis that a whole is, strict and literally, its parts considered collectively. Mereological Nihilism is the thesis that there are no composite objects whatsoever instead. This paper argues that they are equivalent, at least insofar as Composition is Identity is phrased in a particular way. It then addresses some consequences of such equivalence.
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  43. added 2016-10-11
    Counting on Strong Composition as Identity to Settle the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):857-872.
    Strong Composition as Identity is the thesis that necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are non-distributively identical to y. Some have argued against this view as follows: if some many things are non-distributively identical to one thing, then what’s true of the many must be true of the one. But since the many are many in number whereas the one is not, the many cannot be identical to the one. Hence is mistaken. (...)
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  44. added 2016-08-11
    Composition as Identity Does Not Entail Universalism.Kris McDaniel - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):97-100.
    A short paper proving what the title says.
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  45. added 2016-05-06
    Mereological Monism and Humean Supervenience.Andrea Borghini & Giorgio Lando - 2016 - Synthese:1-21.
    According to Lewis, mereology is the general and exhaustive theory of ontological composition, and every contingent feature of the world supervenes upon some fundamental properties instantiated by minimal entities. A profound analogy can be drawn between these two basic contentions of his metaphysics, namely that both can be intended as a denial of emergentism. In this essay, we study the relationships between Humean supervenience and two philosophical spin-offs of mereological monism: the possibility of gunk and the thesis of composition as (...)
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  46. added 2016-03-04
    ‘Identity’ as a Mereological Term.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2367-2385.
    The mereological predicate ‘is part of’ can be used to define the predicate ‘is identical with’. I argue that this entails that mereological theories can be ideologically simpler than nihilistic theories that do not use the notion of parthood—contrary to what has been argued by Ted Sider. Moreover, if one accepts an extensional mereology, there are good philosophical reasons apart from ideological simplicity to give a mereological definition of identity.
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  47. added 2016-01-19
    Composition, Indiscernibility, Coreferentiality.Massimiliano Carrara & Giorgio Lando - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (1):119-142.
    According to strong composition as identity, the logical principles of one–one and plural identity can and should be extended to the relation between a whole and its parts. Otherwise, composition would not be legitimately regarded as an identity relation. In particular, several defenders of strong CAI have attempted to extend Leibniz’s Law to composition. However, much less attention has been paid to another, not less important feature of standard identity: a standard identity statement is true iff its terms are coreferential. (...)
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  48. added 2016-01-19
    Humean Supervenience, Composition as Identity and Quantum Wholes.Claudio Calosi & Matteo Morganti - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (6):1173-1194.
    In this paper, we focus on two related reductive theses in metaphysics—Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity—and on their status in light of the indications coming from science, in particular quantum mechanics. While defenders of these reductive theses claim that they can be updated so as to resist the quantum evidence, we provide arguments against this contention. We claim that physics gives us reason for thinking that both Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity are at least contingently false, as the (...)
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  49. added 2016-01-19
    Aaron J. Cotnoir and Donald L. M. Baxter, Eds., Composition as Identity. Reviewed By.Cameron Gibbs - 2015 - Philosophy in Review 35 (6):287-289.
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  50. added 2016-01-09
    Loose Identity and Becoming Something Else.Donald L. M. Baxter - 2001 - Noûs 35 (4):592–601.
    Armstrong has loose identity be an equivalence relation, yet in cases of something becoming something else, loose identity is not transitive. My alternate account has an attribution of loose identity be really two: a true attribution of an underlying relation (perhaps not transitive) and a false attribution--a Humean feigning-of strict identity. The feigning may become less appropriate as the underlying relation grows more distant. What makes it appropriate initially is that the underlying relation supports a predictable change in some collective. (...)
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