Natural Objects

Joshua D. K. Brown
Gustavus Adolphus College
This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are the mereological simples, and (roughly) a collection composes an object of degree-n naturalness if and only if its members are arranged F-wise, for some property F that appears in the degree-n natural laws. Arbitrary composites turn out to be perfectly non-natural objects and are metaphysical bystanders. Ordinary composite objects fall in between. Some—e.g., atoms—are very (though not perfectly) natural; others—e.g., tables—are highly non-natural.
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Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1017/apa.2016.6
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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.
Metaphysics as Modeling: The Handmaiden’s Tale.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.
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