About this topic
Summary There are various important monistic views. Contemporary discussion of monism focuses in part on two theses. The first claims that the cosmos is a vast concrete object and it’s the only concrete object. The second claims that, while there are many concrete objects, the cosmos as a whole is the only fundamental or basic concrete object. A familiar pluralistic alternative is this: instead of there being only one fundamental or basic concrete object, there are many – the concrete objects that themselves lack proper parts. Of the three theses just mentioned, the second and third are theses of sparse ontology. According to sparse ontology, there are fundamental entities and derivative entities, and the world exhibits an overarching hierarchical structure in virtue of this fact.    
Key works Monism in various forms has been discussed in philosophy from the very beginning – see, for example, Plato, Parmenides, Plotinus, Spinoza, Hegel, Royce, and Bradley. Recent interest in monism is due in large part to Horgan & Potrč 2008 and Schaffer 2010.  
Introductions For an introduction to monism, see Schaffer 2008.
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  1. From Parmenidean to Hegelian Monism.Scott Austin - 2003 - In Andreas Bächli & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Monism. Ontos. pp. 9--57.
  2. The Incompatibility of Composition as Identity, Priority Pluralism, and Irreflexive Grounding.Andrew M. Bailey - 2011 - Analytic Philosophy 52 (3):171-174.
    Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is inconsistent with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
  3. Monism: The Islands of Plurality.Sam Baron & Jonathan Tallant - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):583-606.
    Priority monism (hereafter, ‘monism’) is the view that there exists one fundamental entity—the world—and that all other objects that exist (a set of objects typically taken to include tables, chairs, and the whole menagerie of everyday items) are merely derivative. Jonathan Schaffer has defended monism in its current guise, across a range of papers. Each paper looks to add something to the monistic picture of the world. In this paper we argue that monism—as Schaffer describes it—is false. To do so (...)
  4. Russell on Spinoza's Substance Monism.Pierfrancesco Basile - 2012 - Metaphysica 13 (1):27-41.
    Russell’s critique of substance monism is an ideal starting point from which to understand some main concepts in Spinoza’s difficult metaphysics. This paper provides an in-depth examination of Spinoza’s proof that only one substance exists. On this basis, it rejects Russell’s interpretation of Spinoza’s theory of reality as founded upon the logical doctrine that all propositions consist of a predicate and a subject. An alternative interpretation is offered: Spinoza’s substance is not a bearer of properties, as Russell implied, but an (...)
  5. Priority Monism and Essentiality of Fundamentality: A Reply to Steinberg.Matteo Benocci - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1983-1990.
    Steinberg has recently proposed an argument against Schaffer’s priority monism. The argument assumes the principle of Necessity of Monism, which states that if priority monism is true, then it is necessarily true. In this paper, I argue that Steinberg’s objection can be eluded by giving up Necessity of Monism for an alternative principle, that I call Essentiality of Fundamentality, and that such a principle is to be preferred to Necessity of Monism on other grounds as well.
  6. Eliminativism, Objects, and Persons - The Virtues of Non-Existence.Jiri Benovsky - 2018 - Routledge.
    In this book, Jiri Benovsky defends the view that he doesn't exist. In this book, he also defends the view that this book itself doesn't exist. But this did not prevent him to write the book, and although in Benovsky's view you don't exist either, this does not prevent you to read it. Benovsky defends a brand of non-exceptionalist eliminativism. Some eliminativists, typically focusing on ordinary material objects such as chairs and hammers, make exceptions, for instance for blue whales (that (...)
  7. Priority Monism, Physical Intentionality and the Internal Relatedness of All Things.Hilan Bensusan & Manuel de Pinedo - manuscript
    Schaffer (2010) argues that the internal relatedness of all things, no matter how it is conceived, entails priority monism. He claims that a sufficiently pervasive internal relation among objects implies the priority of the whole, understood as a concrete object. This paper shows that at least in the case of an internal relatedness of all things conceived in terms of physical intentionality - one way to understand dispositions - priority monism not only doesn't follow but also is precluded. We conclude (...)
  8. Monism, Emergence, and Plural Logic.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2012 - Erkenntnis 76 (2):211-223.
    In this paper I argue that we need to take irreducibly plural logic more seriously in metaphysical debates due to the fact that the verdict of many metaphysical debates hangs on it. I give two examples. The main example I focus on is the debate recently revived by Jonathan Schaffer over the fundamental cardinality of the world. I show how the three main arguments provided by Schaffer are unsound in virtue of an employment of plural logic. The second example I (...)
  9. Monism and Gunk.Jacek Brzozowski - 2016 - In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-74.
  10. Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology. [REVIEW]Jacek Brzozowski - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (4):743-745.
  11. Priority Monism, Dependence and Fundamentality.Claudio Calosi - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Priority monism is roughly the view that the universe is the only fundamental object, that is, a concrete object that does not depend on any other concrete object. Schaffer, the main advocate of PM, claims that PM is compatible with dependence having two different directions: from parts to wholes for subcosmic wholes, and from whole to parts for the cosmic whole. Recently it has been argued that this position is untenable. Given plausible assumptions about dependence, PM entails that dependence has (...)
  12. Quantum Monism: An Assessment.Claudio Calosi - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3217-3236.
    Monism is roughly the view that there is only one fundamental entity. One of the most powerful argument in its favor comes from quantum mechanics. Extant discussions of quantum monism are framed independently of any interpretation of the quantum theory. In contrast, this paper argues that matters of interpretation play a crucial role when assessing the viability of monism in the quantum realm. I consider four different interpretations: modal interpretations, Bohmian mechanics, many worlds interpretations, and wavefunction realism. In particular, I (...)
  13. On the Possibility of Submergence.Claudio Calosi - 2017 - Analysis 77 (3):501-511.
    Are submergence and submergent properties metaphysically possible? This is a substantive question that has been either utterly neglected or quickly answered in the negative. This neglect is not only significant in itself; the possibility of submergence plays a crucial role in hotly debated topics in metaphysics, for example, the debate over Monism and Pluralism. This paper is intended to prompt a discussion about metaphysical submergence. In particular I will provide examples of submergent properties, argue that these are metaphysically possible and (...)
  14. Quantum Mechanics and Priority Monism.Claudio Calosi - 2014 - Synthese 191 (5):1-14.
    The paper address the question of whether quantum mechanics (QM) favors Priority Monism, the view according to which the Universe is the only fundamental object. It develops formal frameworks to frame rigorously the question of fundamental mereology and its answers, namely (Priority) Pluralism and Monism. It then reconstructs the quantum mechanical argument in favor of the latter and provides a detailed and thorough criticism of it that sheds furthermore new light on the relation between parthood, composition and fundamentality in QM.
  15. From Humean Truthmaker Theory to Priority Monism.Ross P. Cameron - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):178 - 198.
    I argue that the truthmaker theorist should be a priority monist if she wants to avoid commitment to mysterious necessary connections. In section 1 I briefly discuss the ontological options available to the truthmaker theorist. In section 2 I develop the argument against truthmaker theory from the Humean denial of necessary connections. In section 3 I offer an account of when necessary connections are objectionable. In section 4 I use this criterion to narrow down the options from section 1. In (...)
  16. Monism in Spinoza.John Carriero - 2002 - In Olli Koistinen & J. I. Biro (eds.), Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes. Oxford University Press. pp. 38--59.
  17. Spinoza's Monism.William Charlton - 1981 - Philosophical Review 90 (4):503-529.
  18. Gurwitsch's Phenomenal Holism.Elijah Chudnoff - 2013 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (3):559-578.
    Aron Gurwitsch made two main contributions to phenomenology. He showed how to import Gestalt theoretical ideas into Husserl’s framework of constitutive phenomenology. And he explored the light this move sheds on both the overall structure of experience and on particular kinds of experience, especially perceptual experiences and conscious shifts in attention. The primary focus of this paper is the overall structure of experience. I show how Gurwitsch’s Gestalt theoretically informed phenomenological investigations provide a basis for defending what I will call (...)
  19. On Dr. Ewing's Neglect of Bradley's Theory of Internal Relations.Ralph W. Church - 1935 - Journal of Philosophy 32 (10):264-273.
  20. Monism and Statespace: A Reply to Sider.David M. Cornell - 2013 - Analysis 73 (2):230-236.
    According to Existence Monism, there is only one concrete object in existence—the world. This view is to be contrasted with Existence Pluralism, which posits multiple concrete objects. In a recent Analysis paper, Sider (Analysis 2007; 67:1–7) presents arguments against Existence Monism claiming that there are evident features of statespace, which the monist is at a loss to explain. Given that the pluralist can give plausible and satisfying explanations of these features, we have good reason to favor pluralism over monism, or (...)
  21. Spinoza's Substance Monism.Michael Della Rocca - 2002 - In Olli Koistinen & J. I. Biro (eds.), Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes. Oxford University Press.
  22. Getting Priority Straight.Louis deRosset - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (1):73-97.
    Consider the kinds of macroscopic concrete objects that common sense and the sciences allege to exist: tables, raindrops, tectonic plates, galaxies, and the rest. Are there any such things? Opinions differ. Ontological liberals say they do; ontological radicals say they don't. Liberalism seems favored by its plausible acquiescence to the dictates of common sense abetted by science; radicalism by its ontological parsimony. Priority theorists claim we can have the virtues of both views. They hold that tables, raindrops, etc., exist, but (...)
  23. Fundamentality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The notion of fundamentality, as it is used in metaphysics, aims to capture the idea that there is something basic or primitive in the world. This metaphysical notion is related to the vernacular use of “fundamental”, but philosophers have also put forward various technical definitions of the notion. Among the most influential of these is the definition of absolute fundamentality in terms of ontological independence or ungroundedness. Accordingly, the notion of fundamentality is often associated with these two other technical notions.
  24. On Dr. Ewing's Neglect of Bradley's Theory of Internal Relations: Reply.A. C. Ewing - 1935 - Journal of Philosophy 32 (10):273.
  25. Types of Unity and the Problem of Monism.Marvin Farber - 1943 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (1):37-59.
  26. Priority Monism, Partiality, and Minimal Truthmakers.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (2):477-491.
    Truthmaker monism is the view that the one and only truthmaker is the world. Despite its unpopularity, this view has recently received an admirable defence by Schaffer :307–324, 2010b). Its main defect, I argue, is that it omits partial truthmakers. If we omit partial truthmakers, we lose the intimate connection between a truth and its truthmaker. I further argue that the notion of a minimal truthmaker should be the key notion that plays the role of constraining ontology and that truthmaker (...)
  27. Zur Einstein-Lorenzfrage.Brentano Franz - 2016 - Brentano Studien 14:57-68.
  28. Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology – Terence Horgan and Matjaž Potrč. [REVIEW]Steven French - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):201-202.
  29. Relations internes et relations spatiales : James, Bradley et Green.Mathias Girel - 2006 - Archives de Philosophie 3:395-414.
    La thèse du présent article est que l’opposition factice entre James, repré- sentant supposé des « relations externes », d’une part, et Bradley, représen- tant supposé des « relations internes », d’autre part, est due à une mauvaise appréhension des thèses de ce dernier. Ce premier contresens conduit alors à manquer le propos même de James.
  30. Conscious Unity From the Top Down: A Brentanian Approach.Anna Giustina - 2017 - The Monist 100 (1):16-37.
    The question of the unity of consciousness is often treated as the question of how different conscious experiences are related to each other in order to be unified. Many contemporary views on the unity of consciousness are based on this bottom-up approach. In this paper I explore an alternative, top-down approach, according to which (to a first approximation) a subject undergoes one single conscious experience at a time. From this perspective, the problem of unity of consciousness becomes rather the problem (...)
  31. Spinoza on Monism.Philip Goff (ed.) - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
  32. There is More Than One Thing.Philip Goff - 2012 - In Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113-22.
  33. Explanatory Completeness and Spinoza's Monism.Rebecca Goldstein - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  34. Spinoza on Composition and Priority.Ghislain Guigon - 2011 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    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 (...)
  35. The World As We Know It.Richard Healey - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
  36. Abundant Truth in an Austere World.Horgan Terry & Potrč Matjaž - 2006 - In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Oxford University Press. pp. 137--167.
    What is real? Less than you might think. We advocate austere metaphysical realism---a form of metaphysical realism claiming that a correct ontological theory will repudiate numerous putative entities and properties that are posited in everyday thought and discourse, and also will even repudiate numerous putative objects and properties that are posited by well confirmed scientific theories. We have lately defended a specific version of austere metaphysical realism which asserts that there is really only one concrete particular, viz., the entire cosmos (...)
  37. Existence Monism Trumps Priority Monism.Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 51--76.
    Existence monism is defended against priority monism. Schaffer's arguments for priority monism and against pluralism are reviewed, such as the argument from gunk. The whole does not require parts. Ontological vagueness is impossible. If ordinary objects are in the right ontology then they are vague. So ordinary objects are not included in the right ontology; and hence thought and talk about them cannot be accommodated via fully ontological vindication. Partially ontological vindication is not viable. Semantical theorizing outside the ontology room (...)
  38. Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology.Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč - 2008 - MIT Press.
  39. Addressing Questions for Blobjectivism.Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč - 2002 - Facta Philosophica 4:311-322.
  40. Blobjectivism and Indirect Correspondence.Terry Horgan & Matjaž Potrč - 2000 - Facta Philosophica 2:249-270.
  41. Monism in the Light of Recent Developments in Philosophy.C. E. M. Joad - 1916 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 17:95 - 116.
  42. Austere Realism. [REVIEW]Daniel Z. Korman - 2008 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    The main focus of the review is Horgan and Potrč’s strategy for reconciling austere ontologies -- like their own, which includes exactly one concrete particular: “the blobject” -- with ordinary discourse about tables and the like. I try to show that, once we accept their ontological conclusions, there is no reason to prefer their conciliatory ontological-cum-semantic package to a more straightforward error-theoretic package on which we simply say lots of false things in ordinary discourse about tables and the like.
  43. Hegel: Metaphysics Without Pre-Critical Monism.James Kreines - 2008 - Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 57:48-70.
  44. Brentano's Latter-Day Monism.Uriah Kriegel - 2016 - Brentano Studien 14:69-77.
    According to “existence monism,” there is only one concrete particular, the cosmos as a whole (Horgan and Potrč 2000, 2008). According to “priority monism,” there are many concrete particulars, but all are ontologically dependent upon the cosmos as a whole, which accordingly is the only fundamental concrete particular (Schaffer 2010a, 2010b). In essence, the difference between them is that existence monism does not recognize any parts of the cosmos, whereas priority monism does – it just insists that the parts are (...)
  45. Kantian Monism.Uriah Kriegel - 2012 - Philosophical Papers 41 (1):23-56.
    Abstract Let ?monism? be the view that there is only one basic object?the world. Monists face the question of whether there are also non-basic objects. This is in effect the question of whether the world decomposes into parts. Jonathan Schaffer maintains that it does, Terry Horgan and Matja? Potr? that it does not. In this paper, I propose a compromise view, which I call ?Kantian monism.? According to Kantian monism, the world decomposes into parts insofar as an ideal subject under (...)
  46. Spinoza's Demonstration of Monism: A New Line of Defense.Mark Kulstad - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), History of Philosophy Quarterly. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 299-316.
  47. What Spinoza, in Company with Leibniz and Descartes, Can Bring to Light About Important Varieties of Substance Monism.Mark A. Kulstad - 2003 - In Andreas Bächli & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Monism. Ontos. pp. 9--63.
  48. Spinoza's Demonstration of Monism: A New Line of Defense.Mark A. Kulstad - 1996 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 13 (3):299 - 316.
  49. Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Metaphysica 19 (1):95-111.
    I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer's priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer's priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the (...)
  50. Les propriétés du vide et de l’espace-temps.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2016 - Philosophiques 43 (1):49-66.
    Les propriétés matérielles sont généralement appréhendées comme les propriétés d’une substance matérielle : cette chemise possède la propriété d’être bleue, cette chaussure la propriété d’être en bon état. Pourtant, on peut trouver plusieurs raisons de douter que les propriétés soient nécessairement les propriétés d’une substance matérielle, à la fois en métaphysique avec la théorie du faisceau, et en physique contemporaine à travers les notions d’énergie du vide et de champ. Or, si les propriétés ne sont pas les propriétés de substances (...)
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