Synthese 195 (2):657-678 (2018)

Authors
Andrew Brenner
Hong Kong Baptist University
Abstract
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 specific scientific phenomena might require ineliminable quantification over composite objects. I address these concerns, and argue that there seem to be nihilist-friendly construals of the scientific phenomena in question.
Keywords Composition  Special composition question  Mereological nihilism  Compositional nihilism  Quantum entanglement  Natural selection
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-016-1234-6
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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.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell 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.
Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).

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