Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification

Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337 (2015)
Authors
Andrew Brenner
University of Gothenburg
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

Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Parts of Classes.David Lewis - 1991 - Blackwell.
Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
Simplicity as a Criterion of Theory Choice in Metaphysics.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (11):2687-2707.
Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).
What is an Ersatz Part?Kristie Miller & Johann Hariman - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (4):524-551.

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