Material Objects, Constitution, and Mysterianism

Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (1):1-26 (2010)
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Abstract

It is sometimes claimed that ordinary objects, such as mountains and chairs, are not material in their own right, but only in virtue of the fact that they are constituted by matter. As Fine puts it, they are “only derivatively material” (2003, 211). In this paper I argue that invoking “constitution” to account for the materiality of things that are not material in their own right explains nothing and renders the admission that these objects are indeed material completely mysterious. Although there may be metaphysical contexts in which mysterianism can be accepted with equanimity, I further argue, the question of the materiality of quotidian objects is not one of them.

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Hagit Benbaji
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Citations of this work

Constitution and Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):150-177.

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References found in this work

Mind and World.John Henry McDowell - 1994 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.Peter Strawson - 1959 - London, England: Routledge. Edited by Wenfang Wang.
Individuals.P. F. Strawson - 1959 - Garden City, N.Y.: Routledge.

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