Mereological Nihilism and the Problem of Emergence

American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (1):77-87 (2017)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Mereological nihilism is the view that there are no composite objects; everything in existence is mereologically simple. The view is subject to a number of difficulties, one of which concerns what I call the problem of emergence. Very briefly, the problem is that nihilism seems to be incompatible with emergent properties; it seems to rule out their very possibility. This is a problem because there are good independent reasons to believe that emergent properties are possible. This paper provides a solution to the problem. I will show that nihilism and emergence are perfectly compatible, providing one accepts a novel understanding of how objects can instantiate properties: what I call irreducibly collective instantiation.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Emergence for Nihilists.Richard L. J. Caves - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):2-28.
No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):246-260.
Exemplification and Parthood.Peter Forrest - 2013 - Axiomathes 23 (2):323-341.
Parts as counterparts.Aaron Cotnoir - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):228-241.
Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
Structural Properties and Parthood.Kevin W. Sharpe - 2012 - Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):111-120.
‘Identity’ as a mereological term.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2367-2385.
Emergence: Laws and Properties: Comments on Noordhof.Simone Gozzano - 2010 - In Graham Macdonald & Cynthia Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 100.
A Spatial Approach to Mereology.Ned Markosian - 2014 - In Shieva Keinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press.
Against mereological nihilism.Jonathan Tallant - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1511-1527.
A Sudden Collapse to Nihilism.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):370-375.

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-05-31

Downloads
189 (#105,086)

6 months
26 (#112,639)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David M. Cornell
University of Central Lancashire

Citations of this work

The No Self View and the Meaning of Life.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2019 - Philosophy East and West 69 (2):419-438.
Forms Are Not Emergent Powers.Graham Renz - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
To B- or not to B- a relation.Robert E. Pezet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):635-654.
To B- or not to B- a relation.Robert E. Pezet - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):635-654.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics.Peter Frederick Strawson - 1959 - London, England: Routledge. Edited by Wenfang Wang.
Against Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
Parts of Classes.David K. Lewis - 1991 - Mind 100 (3):394-397.

View all 26 references / Add more references