Four Theses on the Alleged Innocence of Mereology

Humana Mente 4 (19) (2011)

In Parts of Classes David Lewis attempts to draw a sharp contrast between mereology and set theory and he tries to assimilate mereology to logic. For him, like logic but unlike set theory, mereology is “ontologically innocent”. In mereology, given certain objects, no further ontological commitment is required for the existence of their sum. On the contrary, by accepting set theory, given certain objects, a further commitment is required for the existence of the set of them. The latter – unlike the sum of the given objects – seems to be an abstract entity whose existence is not directly entailed by the existence of the objects themselves. The argument for the innocence of mereology is grounded on the thesis of composition as identity. In our paper we argue that: arguments for the ontological innocence of mereology are not conclusive. Some arguments against the ontological innocence of mereology show a certain ambiguity in the innocence thesis itself. The innocence thesis seems to depend on a general conception of the nature of objects and on how the notion of ontological commitment is understood. Specifically, we think that the thesis is the manifesto of a realistic conception of parts and sums. Quine‟s notorious criticism of the set-theoretical interpretation of second order logic seems to be reproducible against Lewis‟defence of mereology. To the purpose we construct a mereological model of a substantive fragment of set theory, adequate to ground the set-theoretical semantics of second order logic.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2011, 2018
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 41,650
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49 (2):333-352.
Parts of Classes.David LEWIS - 1991 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (172):362-366.
Philosophy of Logic.Michael Jubien & W. V. Quine - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (1):303.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On the Ontological Commitment of Mereology.Massimiliano Carrara & Enrico Martino - 2009 - Review of Symbolic Logic 2 (1):164-174.
The Ontological Parsimony of Mereology.Jeroen Smid - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (12):3253-3271.
Four Theses on the Alleged Innocence of Mereology.Massimiliano Carrara & Enrico Martino - 2011 - Humana. Mente. Journal of Philosophical Studies 19:57-77.
Ontological Innocence.Katherine Hawley - 2014 - In A. J. Cotnoir & Donald L. M. Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 70-89.
The Mereological Foundation of Megethology.Massimiliano Carrara & Enrico Martino - 2016 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (2):227-235.
Mereology and Modality.Gabriel Uzquiano - 2014 - In Shieva Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press. pp. 33-56.


Added to PP index

Total views
8 ( #799,168 of 2,250,031 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #1,031,064 of 2,250,031 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature