Parts as counterparts

Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):228-241 (2013)

Authors
A. J. Cotnoir
University of St. Andrews
Abstract
Mereological nihilists are faced with a difficult challenge: explaining ordinary talk about material objects. Popular paraphrase strategies involve plurals, arrangements of particles, or fictions. In this paper, a new paraphrase strategy is put forward that has distinct advantages over its rivals: it is compatible with gunk and emergent properties of macro-objects. The only assumption is a commitment to a liberal view of the nature of simples; the nihilist must be willing to accept the possibility of heterogeneous extended simples. The author suggests reinterpreting the parthood and composition relations as modal. According to this paraphrase, composition is a kind of counterpart relation. The author shows that one can accept that mereological nihilism is metaphysically necessary, while endorsing all the claims of classical mereology. As a result, the nihilists are in exactly the same position as the classical mereologist when it comes to explaining talk about ordinary objects, but without the additional ontology.
Keywords gunk  composition  simples  paraphrase  nihilism  emergent properties  counterparts  mereology  parts
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Reprint years 2015
DOI 10.1002/tht3.78
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References found in this work BETA

Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
How to Have a Radically Minimal Ontology.Ross P. Cameron - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):249 - 264.
Extended Simples.Kris McDaniel - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):131 - 141.
From Nihilism to Monism.Jonathan Schaffer - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):175 – 191.
The Metaphysics of Hyperspace.Hud Hudson - 2005 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Emergence for Nihilists.Richard L. J. Caves - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1):2-28.

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