Synthese 192 (5):1295-1314 (2015)

Authors
Andrew Brenner
Hong Kong Baptist University
Abstract
Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief motivations for nihilism. In this paper I defend nihilism against these objections. A key theme of the paper is this: if nihilists need to employ such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” non-nihilists will need to do so as well. Accordingly, any costs incurred by the nihilist when she employs such phrases will be shared by everyone else. What’s more, such phrases are intelligible when employed by the nihilist, as well as when they are employed by the non-nihilist, insofar as analyses of such phrases will not essentially involve mereological concepts incompatible with nihilism
Keywords Mereological nihilism  Composition  Special composition question  SCQ  Special arrangement question
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-014-0619-7
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
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Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Why Composition Matters.Andrew M. Bailey & Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):934-949.
Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
The Explosion of Being: Ideological Kinds in Theory Choice.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):486-510.

View all 12 citations / Add more citations

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