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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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104 found
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  1. What is Priority Monism?David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    In a series papers, Jonathan Schaffer defended priority monism, the thesis that the cosmos is the only fundamental material object, on which all other objects depend. A primitive notion of dependence plays a crucial role in Schaffer’s argu- ments for priority monism. The goal of this paper is to scrutinize this notion and also to shed new light on what is at stake in the debate. I present three familiar arguments for priority monism and point out that each relies on (...)
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  2. “Spinoza’s Metaphysics of Substance” in Don Garrett (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza. 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming.Yitzhak Melamed - forthcoming - In Don Garrett (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza. 2nd edition. Cambriddge University Press.
    ‘Substance’ (substantia, zelfstandigheid) is a key term of Spinoza’s philosophy. Like almost all of Spinoza’s philosophical vocabulary, Spinoza did not invent this term, which has a long history that can be traced back at least to Aristotle. Yet, Spinoza radicalized the traditional notion of substance and made a very powerful use of it by demonstrating – or at least attempting to demonstrate -- that there is only one, unique substance -- God (or Nature) -- and that all other things are (...)
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  3. Priority Monism and Junk.Jamie Taylor - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
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  4. A Recent Defense of Monism Based Upon the Internal Relatedness of All Things.Dean Zimmerman - forthcoming - In Francois Clementz & Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Ontos Verlag.
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  5. Monism, Spinoza’s Way.Don Garrett - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):38-59.
    Monism, characterized by Jonathan Schaffer as the thesis that the cosmos is the one and only basic actual concrete object, has been the subject of a great deal of recent interest. Spinoza is often taken, rightly, to be an important forebear. This article seeks to explain the distinctive content and basis of Spinoza’s monistic metaphysics and to compare it to contemporary Monism. It then argues that although Spinoza’s monistic metaphysics is not strictly a version of Monism as defined, it has (...)
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  6. Non-Piecemeal Pluralism.Elizabeth Miller - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):91-107.
    I argue that Schaffer fails to provide a non-question-begging argument for priority monism. Despite his suggestion to the contrary, Humean pluralists need not, and plausibly do not, endorse his tiling constraint on metaphysically basic objects. Moreover, the distinction between supervenience—of the sort at issue in Humean doctrine—and metaphysical necessitation—of the sort at issue in Schaffer’s tiling constraint—points toward an alternative treatment of the phenomena initially inspiring Schafferian monism. There is an important possibility, one that Humeans can or should embrace, that (...)
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  7. The Decombination Problem for Cosmopsychism is not the Heterogeneity Problem for Priority Monism.Gregory Miller - 2021 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 28 (3-4):112-115.
    In this paper I look at a recent proposal from Yujin Nagasawa and Khai Wager to avoid the de-combination problem for the view called ‘cosmopsychism’. The pair suggest that the de-combination problem can be solved in the same way that the problem of heterogeneity for Schaffer’s priority monism can be solved. I suggest that this is not the case. They are not the same problem and the solutions to the heterogeneity problem do not work for the de-combination problem.
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  8. From Theism to Idealism to Monism: A Leibnizian Road Not Taken.Samuel Newlands - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1143-1162.
    This paper explores a PSR-connected trail leading from theistic idealism to a form of substance monism. In particular, I argue that the same style of argument available for a Leibnizian form of metaphysical idealism actually leads beyond idealism to something closer to Spinozistic monism. This path begins with a set of theological commitments about the nature and perfection of God that were widely shared among leading early modern philosophers. From these commitments, there arises an interesting case for metaphysical idealism, roughly (...)
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  9. Priority monism, dependence and fundamentality.Claudio Calosi - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (1):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 (...)
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  10. Accounting for the Whole: Why Pantheism is on a Metaphysical Par with Complex Theism.Caleb Cohoe - 2020 - Faith and Philosophy 37 (2):202-219.
    Pantheists are often accused of lacking a sufficient account of the unity of the cosmos and its supposed priority over its many parts. I argue that complex theists, those who think that God has ontologically distinct parts or attributes, face the same problems. Current proposals for the metaphysics of complex theism do not offer any greater unity or ontological independence than pantheism, since they are modeled on priority monism. I then discuss whether the formal distinction of John Duns Scotus offers (...)
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  11. Anne Conway as a Priority Monist: A Reply to Gordon-Roth.Emily Thomas - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (3):275-284.
    For early modern metaphysician Anne Conway, the world comprises creatures. In some sense, Conway is a monist about creatures: all creatures are one. Yet, as Jessica Gordon-Roth has astutely pointed out, that monism can be understood in very different ways. One might read Conway as an ‘existence pluralist’: creatures are all composed of the same type of substance, but many substances exist. Alternatively, one might read Conway as an ‘existence monist’: there is only one created substance. Gordon-Roth has done the (...)
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  12. Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  13. 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 (...)
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  14. 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 (...)
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  15. 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.
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  16. 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 (...)
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  17. Margaret Cavendish on the Order and Infinitude of Nature.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2018 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 35 (3):219-239.
    In this paper, I develop a new interpretation of the order of nature, its function, and its implications in Margaret Cavendish’s philosophy. According to the infinite balance account, the order of nature consists in a balance among the infinite varieties of nature. That is, for Cavendish, nature contains an infinity of different types of matter: infinite species, shapes, and motions. The potential tumult implicated by such a variety, however, is tempered by the counterbalancing of the different kinds and motions of (...)
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  18. Two notions of holism.Elizabeth Miller - 2018 - Synthese 197 (10):4187-4206.
    A simple argument proposes a direct link between realism about quantum mechanics and one kind of metaphysical holism: if elementary quantum theory is at least approximately true, then there are entangled systems with intrinsic whole states for which the intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of salient subsystem parts do not suffice. Initially, the proposal is compelling: we can find variations on such reasoning throughout influential discussions of entanglement. Upon further consideration, though, this simple argument proves a bit too simple. To (...)
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  19. Reconceiving Spinoza.Samuel Newlands - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    Samuel Newlands presents a sweeping new interpretation of Spinoza's metaphysical system and the way in which his metaphysics shapes, and is shaped by, his moral program. Engaging with contemporary metaphysics and ethics, Newlands reveals just how exciting and vibrant Spinoza's philosophical outlook remains for philosophers today.
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  20. It’s One Thing to Rule Them All and Another Thing to Bind Them.Jonathan Tallant & Sam Baron - 2018 - Synthese 198 (1):105-115.
    In this paper we offer a response to one argument in favour of Priority Monism, what Jonathan Schaffer calls the nomic argument for monism. We proceed in three stages. We begin by introducing Jonathan Schaffer’s Priority Monism and the nomic argument for that view. We then consider a response to the nomic argument that we presented in an earlier paper. We show that this argument suffers from a flaw. We then go on to offer a different response to the nomic (...)
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  21. 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 (...)
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  22. 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 (...)
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  23. The Principle of Sufficient Reason in Spinoza.Martin Lin - 2017 - In Michael Della Rocca (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Spinoza. New York:
  24. "Spinoza's Metaphysics and His Relationship to Hegel and the German Idealists".Yitzhak Melamed - 2017 - An Interview with Richard Marshall. 3:AM Magazine.
  25. Disentangling Nature's Joints.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In William Simpson, Robert Koons & Nicholas Teh (eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives on Contemporary Science. Routledge. pp. 147-166.
    Can the neo-Aristotelian uphold a pluralist substance ontology while taking seriously the recent arguments in favour of monism based on quantum holism and other arguments from quantum mechanics? In this article, Jonathan Schaffer’s priority monism will be the main target. It will be argued that the case from quantum mechanics in favour of priority monism does face some challenges. Moreover, if the neo-Aristotelian is willing to consider alternative ways to understand ‘substance’, there may yet be hope for a pluralist substance (...)
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  26. Priority Monism.Kelly Trogdon - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):1-10.
    Argument that priority monism is best understood as being a contingent thesis.
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  27. 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 (...)
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  28. Monism and Gunk.Jacek Brzozowski - 2016 - In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-74.
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  29. Taking Monism Seriously.David Michael Cornell - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2397-2415.
    Monism is the view that there is only a single material object in existence: the world. According to this view, therefore, the ordinary objects of common sense—cats and hats, cars and stars, and so on—do not actually exist; there is only the world. Because of this, monism is routinely dismissed in the contemporary literature as being absurd and obviously false. It is simply obvious that there is a plurality of material things, thus it is simply obvious that monism is false, (...)
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  30. 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 (...)
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  31. Super-Relationism: Combining Eliminativism About Objects and Relationism About Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2151-2172.
    I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are (...)
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  32. 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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  33. Unextended Complexes.Martin Pickup - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):257-264.
    Extended simples are fruitfully discussed in metaphysics. They are entities which are located in a complex region of space but do not themselves have parts. In this paper, I will discuss unextended complexes: entities which are not located at a complex region of space but do themselves have parts. In particular, I focus on one type of unextended complex: pointy complexes. Four areas are indicated where pointy complexes might prove philosophically useful. Unextended complexes are therefore philosophically fruitful, in much the (...)
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  34. Priority Monism Is Contingent.Max Siegel - 2016 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):23-32.
    This paper raises a challenge to Jonathan Schaffer's priority monism. I contend that monism may be true at the actual world but fail to hold as a matter of metaphysical necessity, contrary to Schaffer's view that monism, if true, is necessarily true. My argument challenges Schaffer for his reliance on contingent physical truths in an argument for a metaphysically necessary conclusion. A counterexample in which the actual laws of physics hold but the physical history of the universe is different shows (...)
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  35. 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 (...)
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  36. Ontological Dependence in a Spacetime-World.Jonathan Tallant - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3101-3118.
    Priority Monism, as defined by Jonathan Schaffer, has a number of components. It is the view that: the cosmos exists; the cosmos is a maximal actual concrete object, of which all actual concrete objects are parts; the cosmos is basic—there is no object upon which the cosmos depends, ontologically; ontological dependence is a primitive and unanalysable relation. In a recent attack, Lowe has offered a series of arguments to show that Monism fails. He offers up four tranches of argument, with (...)
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  37. 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.
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  38. Schaffer on the Action of the Whole.Elizabeth Miller - 2014 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3pt3):365-370.
    I argue that Schaffer’s recent defence of Spinozan Monism—the thesis that the cosmos is the only substance, or the only fundamental and integrated thing— fails to establish that the universe is uniquely fundamental. In addition, Schaffer’s own defence of his thesis offers the pluralist about fundamentality a model for responding to Schaffer’s criticism of pluralism.
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  39. 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 (...)
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  40. Monism and Statespace: A Reply to Sider.David 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 (...)
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  41. Ontological Vagueness, Existence Monism and Metaphysical Realism.E. J. Lowe - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):265-274.
    Recently, Terry Horgan and Matjaž Potrč have defended the thesis of ‘existence monism’, according to which the whole cosmos is the only concrete object. Their arguments appeal largely to considerations concerning vagueness. Crucially, they claim that ontological vagueness is impossible, and one key assumption in their defence of this claim is that vagueness always involves ‘sorites-susceptibility’. I aim to challenge both the claim and this assumption. As a consequence, I seek to undermine their defence of existence monism and support a (...)
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  42. The Action of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):67-87.
    I discuss an argument for the monistic idea that the cosmos is the one and only fundamental thing, drawing on the idea that the cosmos is the one and only thing that evolves by the fundamental laws.
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  43. Problems of Parthood for Proponents of Priority.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - Analysis 73 (3):429-438.
    According to some views of reality, some objects are fundamental and other objects depend for their existence upon these fundamental objects. In this article, I argue that we have reason to reject these views.
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  44. Worldmates and Internal Relatedness.Richard Woodward - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (2):419-427.
    In recent work, Jonathan Schaffer (Mind 119: 341–376, 2010) has attempted to argue that counterpart theorists are committed to holding that any two actual objects are bound together in a modally substantial sense. By clarifying the core elements of counterpart theory, I explain why Schaffer’s argument fails.
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  45. 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 (...)
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  46. 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 (...)
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  47. There is More Than One Thing.Philip Goff - 2012 - In Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113-22.
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  48. Spinoza on Monism.Philip Goff (ed.) - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  49. Explanatory Completeness and Spinoza's Monism.Rebecca Goldstein - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan.
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  50. The World As We Know It.Richard Healey - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
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1 — 50 / 104