Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337 (2015)

Authors
Andrew Brenner
Hong Kong Baptist University
Abstract
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 greater theoretical simplicity than its rivals which has not yet been explored, and which is immune to many of the objections which have been leveled against previous arguments for nihilism from nihilism's theoretical simplicity. Composition as identity might be thought to confer a similar degree of theoretical unification as nihilism. I end the paper by arguing that this is not the case.
Keywords Mereological nihilism  Composition  Mereology  Special composition question  SCQ  Theoretical simplicity
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DOI 10.1111/phib.12072
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References found in this work BETA

Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: 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.
Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):842-868.
The Explosion of Being: Ideological Kinds in Theory Choice.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):486-510.

View all 17 citations / Add more citations

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