Why compositional nihilism dissolves puzzles

Synthese 197 (10):4319-4340 (2020)
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One of the main motivations for compositional nihilism, the view that there are no composite material objects, concerns the many puzzles and problems associated with them. Nihilists claim that eliminating composites provides a unified solution to a slew of varied, difficult problems. However, numerous philosophers have questioned whether this is really so. While nihilists clearly avoid the usual, composite-featuring formulations of the puzzles, the concern is that the commitments that generate the problems are not eliminated along with composites. If this is correct, it severely undercuts the motivation for the view. However, I argue that it is not correct. The aim of this paper is to explain exactly how and why eliminating composites dissolves substantive metaphysical puzzles. More generally, I aim to clarify the nihilist’s ontological commitments and the scope of the paraphrase strategy she employs.



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Holly Kantin
University of Alabama

Citations of this work

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Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - New York: Routledge.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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