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Jonathan Schaffer (2007). From Nihilism to Monism.

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  1.  96
    Mereological Monism and Humean Supervenience.Andrea Borghini & Giorgio Lando - forthcoming - 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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  2.  52
    Presentism Remains.Jonathan Tallant - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-27.
    Here I examine some recent attempts to provide a new way of thinking about the philosophy of time that question the central role of ‘presentness’ within the definition of presentism. The central concern raised by these critics turns on the intelligibility and theoretical usefulness of the term ‘is present’. My overarching aim is to at least challenge such concerns. I begin with arguments due to Deasy. Deasy develops a view that he calls ‘transientism’ and that he takes to be a (...)
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  3. Philosophers Should Prefer Simpler Theories.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3049-3067.
    Should philosophers prefer simpler theories? Huemer (Philos Q 59:216–236, 2009) argues that the reasons to prefer simpler theories in science do not apply in philosophy. I will argue that Huemer is mistaken—the arguments he marshals for preferring simpler theories in science can also be applied in philosophy. Like Huemer, I will focus on the philosophy of mind and the nominalism/Platonism debate. But I want to engage with the broader issue of whether simplicity is relevant to philosophy.
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  4. Science and the Special Composition Question.Andrew Brenner - 2018 - Synthese 195 (2):657-678.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Some philosophers have thought that science gives us compelling evidence against nihilism. In this article I respond to this concern. An initial challenge for nihilism stems from the fact that composition is such a ubiquitous feature of scientific theories. In response I motivate a restricted form of scientific anti-realism with respect to those components of scientific theories which make reference to composition. A second scientifically based worry for nihilism is that certain (...)
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  5.  91
    Emergence for Nihilists.Richard L. J. Caves - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):2-28.
    I defend mereological nihilism, the view that there are no composite objects, against a challenge from ontological emergence, the view that some things have properties that are ‘something over and above’ the properties of their parts. As the nihilist does not believe in composite wholes, there is nothing in the nihilist's ontology to instantiate emergent properties – or so the challenge goes. However, I argue that some simples can collectively instantiate an emergent property, so the nihilist's ontology can in fact (...)
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  6.  73
    What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.
    _ Source: _Page Count 28 This paper develops four proposals for explicating the notion of an ersatz part. It then evaluates each proposal with respect to a number of jobs for which ersatz parts are posited. We argue that each of the four notions of ersatz parthood do better with respect to some jobs, and worse with respect to others. Thus, we think, it’s horses for courses: which notion of ersatz part one chooses will be sensitive to which metaphysical project (...)
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  7.  37
    On Being Ultimately Composed of Atoms.Achille C. Varzi - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2891-2900.
    Mereological atomism is the thesis that everything is ultimately composed of atomic parts, i.e., parts lacking proper parts. Standardly, this thesis is characterized by an axiom that says, more simply, that everything has atomic parts. Anthony Shiver has argued that this characterization is satisfied by models that are not atomistic, and is therefore inadequate. I argue that Shiver’s conclusion can and ought to be resisted, for the models in question are atomistic in the intended sense, and even though the standard (...)
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  8. Taking Monism Seriously.David M. 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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  9. Parts Ground the Whole and Are Identical to It.Roberto Loss - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):489-498.
    What is the relation between parts taken together and the whole that they compose? The recent literature appears to be dominated by two different answers to this question, which are normally thought of as being incompatible. According to the first, parts taken together are identical to the whole that they compose. According to the second, the whole is grounded in its parts. The aim of this paper is to make some theoretical room for the view according to which parts ground (...)
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  10. The Trinity and Extended Simples.Martin Pickup - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (4):414-440.
    In this paper, I will offer an analogy between the Trinity and extended simples that supports a Latin approach to the Trinity. The theoretical tools developed to discuss and debate extended simples in the literature of contemporary analytic metaphysics, I argue, can help us make useful conceptual distinctions in attempts to understand what it could be for God to be Triune. Furthermore, the analogy between extended simples and the Trinity might surprise some who find one of these at least plausibly (...)
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  11. Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
    Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys (...)
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  12.  66
    Presentism and the Triviality Objection.Takeshi Sakon - 2015 - Philosophia 43 (4):1089-1109.
    Presentism is usually understood as the thesis that only the present exists whereas the rival theory of eternalism is usually understood as the thesis that past, present, and future things are all equally real. The significance of this debate has been threatened by the so-called triviality objection, which allegedly shows that the presentist thesis is either trivially true or obviously false: Presentism is trivially true if it is read as saying that everything that exists now is present, and it is (...)
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  13. What Not to Multiply Without Necessity.Jonathan Schaffer - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):644-664.
    The Razor commands us not to multiply entities without necessity. I argue for an alternative principle—The Laser—which commands us not to multiply fundamental entities without necessity.
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  14.  90
    The Ontological Parsimony of Mereology.Jeroen Smid - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3253-3271.
    Lewis famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object is (...)
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  15. No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):246-260.
    Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non-logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti-realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti-realism, I argue that mereological anti-realism is preferable to mereological nihilism. I then conclude by examining the thesis that (...)
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  16. Razing Structures to the Ground.Michael Della Rocca - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (3):276-294.
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  17. On Weak Ground.Louis Derosset - 2014 - Review of Symbolic Logic 7 (4):713-744.
    Though the study of grounding is still in the early stages, Kit Fine, in ”The Pure Logic of Ground”, has made a seminal attempt at formalization. Formalization of this sort is supposed to bring clarity and precision to our theorizing, as it has to the study of other metaphysically important phenomena, like modality and vagueness. Unfortunately, as I will argue, Fine ties the formal treatment of grounding to the obscure notion of a weak ground. The obscurity of weak ground, together (...)
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  18.  66
    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 (...)
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  19. Against Mereological Nihilism.Jonathan Tallant - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1511-1527.
    I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place.
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  20. Beyond Atomism.Aaron Cotnoir - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):67-72.
    Contemporary metaphysicians have been drawn to a certain attractive picture of the structure of the world. This picture consists in classical mereology, the priority of parts over wholes, and the well-foundedness of metaphysical priority. In this short note, I show that this combination of theses entails superatomism, which is a significant strengthening of mereological atomism. This commitment has been missed in the literature due to certain sorts of models of mereology being overlooked. But the entailment is an important one: we (...)
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  21. Parts as Counterparts.Aaron Cotnoir - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):228-241.
    Mereological nihilists are faced with a difficult challenge: explaining ordinary talk about material objects. Popular paraphrase strategies involve plurals, arrangements of particles, or fictions. In this paper, a new paraphrase strategy is put forward that has distinct advantages over its rivals: it is compatible with gunk and emergent properties of macro-objects. The only assumption is a commitment to a liberal view of the nature of simples; the nihilist must be willing to accept the possibility of heterogeneous extended simples. The author (...)
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  22. Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  23. Does Metaethics Rest on a Mistake? [REVIEW]Mark Eli Kalderon - 2013 - Analysis 73 (1):129-138.
    Review of part one of Ronald Dworkin's Justice for Hedgehogs.
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  24. 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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  25. 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 (...)
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  26. Emergent Causation.Simon Prosser - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 159 (1):21-39.
    Downward causation is commonly held to create problems for ontologically emergent properties. In this paper I describe two novel examples of ontologically emergent properties and show how they avoid two main problems of downward causation, the causal exclusion problem and the causal closure problem. One example involves an object whose colour does not logically supervene on the colours of its atomic parts. The other example is inspired by quantum entanglement cases but avoids controversies regarding quantum mechanics. These examples show that (...)
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  27. Sider, Hawley, Sider and the Vagueness Argument.Nikk Effingham - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):241 - 250.
    The Vagueness Argument for universalism only works if you think there is a good reason not to endorse nihilism. Sider's argument from the possibility of gunk is one of the more popular reasons. Further, Hawley has given an argument for the necessity of everything being either gunky or composed of mereological simples. I argue that Hawley's argument rests on the same premise as Sider's argument for the possibility of gunk. Further, I argue that that premise can be used to demonstrate (...)
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  28. Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  29. The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  30. 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 (...)
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  31. Being and Almost Nothingness.Kris McDaniel - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):628-649.
    I am attracted to ontological pluralism, the doctrine that some things exist in a different way than other things.1 For the ontological pluralist, there is more to learn about an object’s existential status than merely whether it is or is not: there is still the question of how that entity exists. By contrast, according to the ontological monist, either something is or it isn’t, and that’s all there is say about a thing’s existential status. We appear to be to be (...)
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  32. 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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  33. Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):965-977.
    In a lot of domains in metaphysics the tacit assumption has been that whichever metaphysical principles turn out to be true, these will be necessarily true. Let us call necessitarianism about some domain the thesis that the right metaphysics of that domain is necessary. Necessitarianism has flourished. This paper considers why this is so and considers domains in which contingentism has been defended.
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  34.  71
    Fictionalism and Inferential Safety.Richard Woodward - 2010 - Analysis 70 (3):409-417.
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  35. Individuals: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics.Shamik Dasgupta - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (1):35-67.
    We naturally think of the material world as being populated by a large number of individuals . These are things, such as my laptop and the particles that compose it, that we describe as being propertied and related in various ways when we describe the material world around us. In this paper I argue that, fundamentally speaking at least, there are no such things as material individuals. I then propose and defend an individual-less view of the material world I call (...)
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  36. Ontological Priority, Fundamentality and Monism.Matteo Morganti - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (3):271-288.
    In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of 'priority monism' in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are (...)
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  37.  4
    Ontological Priority, Fundamentality and Monism.Matteo Morganti - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (3):271-288.
    In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of ‘priority monism’ in a series of articles. In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is claimed that they are not compelling: in particular, the (...)
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  38. Physicalism and Sparse Ontology.Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):147-165.
    A major stumbling block for non-reductive physicalism is Kim’s disjunctive property objection. In this paper I bring certain issues in sparse ontology to bear on the objection, in particular the theses of priority monism and priority pluralism. Priority pluralism (or something close to it, anyway) is a common ontological background assumption, so in the first part of the paper I consider whether the disjunctive property objection applies with equal force to non-reductive physicalism on the assumption that priority monism is instead (...)
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  39. Monism and Statespace Structure.Theodore Sider - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:129-150.
    Exotic ontologies are all the rage. Distant from common sense and often science as well, views like mereological essentialism, nihilism, and fourdimensionalism appeal to our desire to avoid arbitrariness, anthropocentrism, and metaphysical conundrums.1 Such views are defensible only if they are materially adequate, only if they can “reconstruct” the world of common sense and science. (No disrespect to the heroic metaphysicians of antiquity, but this world is not just an illusion.) In the world of common sense and science, bicycles survive (...)
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