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.
Related categories

101 found
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  1. added 2018-10-10
    Science and Monism.W. P. D. Wightman - 1934 - London: G. Allen & Unwin.
  2. added 2018-10-10
    Paraphysical Monism.Leonard Thompson Troland - 1918 - Philosophical Review 27 (1):39-62.
  3. added 2018-10-10
    Monism and the Antinomies.Carl V. Poland - 1915 - The Monist 25 (4):624-627.
  4. added 2018-10-09
    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 (...)
  5. added 2018-10-09
    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 (...)
  6. added 2018-10-09
    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 (...)
  7. added 2018-10-09
    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.
  8. added 2018-10-09
    The Relational Element in Monism.Edmund Noble - 1905 - The Monist 15 (3):321-337.
  9. added 2018-10-08
    Types of Unity and the Problem of Monism.Marvin Farber - 1943 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 4 (1):37-59.
  10. added 2018-10-03
    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 (...)
  11. added 2018-09-07
    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 (...)
  12. added 2018-07-22
    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.
  13. added 2018-04-27
    Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Some see concrete foundationalism as providing the central task for sparse ontology, that of identifying which concreta ground other concreta but aren’t themselves grounded by concreta. There is, however, potentially much more to sparse ontology. The thesis of abstract foundationalism, if true, provides an additional task: identifying which abstracta ground other abstracta but aren’t themselves grounded by abstracta. We focus on two abstract foundationalist theses—abstract atomism and abstract monism—that correspond to the concrete foundationalist theses of priority atomism and priority monism. (...)
  14. added 2018-03-20
    Hegel: Metaphysics Without Pre-Critical Monism.James Kreines - 2008 - Bulletin of the Hegel Society of Great Britain 57:48-70.
  15. added 2018-02-07
    "Spinoza's Metaphysics and His Relationship to Hegel and the German Idealists".Yitzhak Melamed - 2017 - An Interview with Richard Marshall. 3:AM Magazine.
  16. added 2017-12-09
    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 (...)
  17. added 2017-09-24
    Reflexive Monism Psychophysical Relations Among Mind, Matter, and Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):143-165.
    This paper provides an initial, multidimensional map of the complex relationships among consciousness, mind, brain, and the external world in a way that both follows the contours of everyday experience and the findings of science. It then demonstrates how this reflexive monist map can be used to evaluate the utility and resolve some of the oppositions of the many other 'isms' that currently populate consciousness studies. While no conventional, one-dimensional 'ism' such as physicalism can do justice to this web of (...)
  18. added 2017-08-13
    Priority Monism.Kelly Trogdon - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (11):1-10.
    According to priority monism there are many concrete entities and there is one, the cosmos, that is ontologically prior to all the others. I begin by clarifying this thesis as well as its main rival, priority atomism. I show how the disagreement between the priority monist and atomist ultimately turns on how the thesis of concrete foundationalism is implemented. While it’s standard to interpret priority monism as being metaphysically non-contingent, I show that there are two competing, prima facie plausible conceptions (...)
  19. added 2017-07-10
    “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 (...)
  20. added 2017-03-22
    Zur Einstein-Lorenzfrage.Brentano Franz - 2016 - Brentano Studien 14:57-68.
  21. added 2017-02-02
    Causal Essentialism and Mereological Monism.Aaron Segal - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 169 (2):227-255.
    Several philosophers have recently defended Causal Essentialism—the view that every property confers causal powers, and whatever powers it confers, it confers essentially. I argue that on the face of it, Causal Essentialism implies a form of Monism, and in particular, the thesis I call ‘Mereological Monism’: that there is some concretum that is a part of every concretum. However, there are three escape routes, three views which are such that if one of them is true, Causal Essentialism does not imply (...)
  22. added 2016-12-10
    Monism and Gunk.Jacek Brzozowski - 2016 - In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. Oxford University Press. pp. 57-74.
  23. added 2016-11-28
    Disentangling Nature's Joints.Tuomas E. 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 (...)
  24. added 2016-09-21
    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.
  25. added 2016-09-08
    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 (...)
  26. added 2016-04-16
    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 (...)
  27. added 2016-03-31
    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 (...)
  28. added 2016-03-10
    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 (...)
  29. added 2016-02-17
    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 (...)
  30. added 2016-02-02
    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.
  31. added 2016-01-16
    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 (...)
  32. added 2015-11-10
    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 (...)
  33. added 2015-09-14
    Descartes and Individual Corporeal Substance.Edward Slowik - 2001 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 9 (1):1 – 15.
    This essay explores the vexed issue of individual corporeal substance in Descartes' natural philosophy. Although Descartes' often referred to individual material objects as separate substances, the constraints on his definitions of matter and substance would seem to favor the opposite view; namely, that there exists only one corporeal substance, the plenum. In contrast to this standard interpretation, however, it will be demonstrated that Descartes' hypotheses make a fairly convincing case for the existence of individual material substances; and the key to (...)
  34. added 2015-04-06
    Spinozist Monism.Peter Loptson - 1988 - Philosophia 18 (1):19-38.
  35. added 2015-04-05
    Monism in the Light of Recent Developments in Philosophy.C. E. M. Joad - 1916 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 17:95 - 116.
  36. added 2015-03-27
    The Principle of Sufficient Reason in Spinoza.Martin Lin - 2017 - In Michael Della Rocca (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Spinoza. New York:
  37. added 2015-03-23
    From Parmenidean to Hegelian Monism.Scott Austin - 2003 - In Andreas Bächli & Klaus Petrus (eds.), Monism. Ontos. pp. 9--57.
  38. added 2015-03-23
    Monism in Spinoza.John Carriero - 2002 - In Olli Koistinen & J. I. Biro (eds.), Spinoza: Metaphysical Themes. Oxford University Press. pp. 38--59.
  39. added 2015-03-10
    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 (...)
  40. added 2014-12-09
    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.
  41. added 2014-09-28
    There is More Than One Thing.Philip Goff - 2012 - In Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113-22.
  42. added 2014-09-27
    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.
  43. added 2014-09-27
    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 (...)
  44. added 2014-09-27
    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.
  45. added 2014-09-27
    The World As We Know It.Richard Healey - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
  46. added 2014-09-27
    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 (...)
  47. added 2014-09-27
    There is More Than One Thing.Goff Phillip - 2012 - In Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 113–22.
  48. added 2014-09-27
    Explanatory Completeness and Spinoza's Monism.Rebecca Goldstein - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  49. added 2014-09-27
    Spinoza's Monism and the Reality Of The Finite.Stephen Nadler - 2012 - In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave-Macmillan.
  50. added 2014-09-27
    Spinoza on Monism.Philip Goff (ed.) - 2012 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
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