The contingency of composition

Philosophical Studies 136 (1):99-121 (2007)

Authors
Ross Cameron
University of Virginia
Abstract
There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as identity, but argue that the version of this doctrine that entails universalism is implausible. I consider the claim that the a priority of such facts leads to their necessity, but give a defence of substantial contingent a priori truths. I ask whether the contingency of such facts would lead to unwelcome possibilities, but argue that the worrying looking possibilities can be blocked if it is desired. Next, I argue against the thought that the Lewis-Sider argument against restricted composition might give us reason to accept the necessity of universalism. Lastly, I respond to two objections from the 2006 BSPC. I conclude in favour of the contingency of the facts concerning when some things compose some thing.
Keywords Composition  Modality
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-007-9144-6
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References found in this work BETA

Counterfactuals.David K. Lewis - 1973 - Blackwell.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter Simons - 1987 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Against Grounding Necessitarianism.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):717-751.
Against Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
Grounding and Necessity.Stephan Leuenberger - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (2):151-174.
Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):965-977.
Metaphysics as Modeling: The Handmaiden's Tale.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.

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