I present a new theory of the composition of material objects. An important component of it is the claim that objects have non-concrete objects as parts. A non-concrete object is an object that lacks many of the features that concrete objects typically have—size, shape, mass, location, causal abilities, etc.—but yet is unlike typical abstract objects since a non-concrete object could have those features. This is an ontology defended by Timothy Williamson, but I employ it in a new manner to solve problems in the metaphysics of material objects. Specifically, I think it allows us to improve upon the Worm Theory, which claims that objects persist through time by having temporal parts. One main argument for Worm Theory is that it can preserve the principle that no two objects can share all the same proper parts. This is a principle that I think is intuitively gripping, but that I also argue for. Worm Theory therefore is to be preferred to the more ‘commonsensical’ Endurantist view on which objects are ‘wholly present’ at each moment at which they exist; the reason being that Endurantism gives the result that objects—like a statue and the clay it’s made out of—share all the same proper parts. By instead claiming that such objects also have temporal parts, Worm Theory manages to avoid this bad result for particular cases. The problem, however, is that it can’t avoid that result for all cases. We can easily imagine cases in which a statue and the clay from which it is made come into and out of existence at the exact same times. Thus the objects would not differ even with respect to their temporal parts. The view that I advance instead claims that objects must have something like modal parts. Thus we could say that since there is a possible world in which the clay exists without the statue, they do not completely overlap with respect to their modal parts. And so we avoid the bad result for all cases. The problem, however, is that there are no such things as objects that don’t actually exist. Hence, there couldn’t be such modal parts. Nonetheless, we can get something like modal parts by holding that such things actually exist, but are simply not actually concrete. Thus, the ‘pieces of clay in other worlds’ do actually exist, but they are not actually pieces of clay. They are non-concrete objects that could be pieces of clay. So even in a case where the clay and statue are created and destroyed at the same times, they differ with respect to their non-concrete parts. I call this the LED Theory because objects resemble LED display boards: just as the board is composed of numerous lights, each of which can be on or off, so objects are composed of numerous parts, each of which can be concrete or non-concrete. The paper provides further defense of this view and response to objections.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,901
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

Contingent Identity.Allan Gibbard - 1975 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 4 (2):187-222.
Necessary Existents.Timothy Williamson - 2002 - In A. O'Hear (ed.), Logic, thought, and language. Cambridge University Press. pp. 233-251.
Temporal Parts of Four Dimensional Objects.Mark Heller - 1984 - Philosophical Studies 46 (3):323 - 334.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Dört Boyutlu Değişim.Fatih Öztürk - 2007 - Felsefe Tartismalari 39:29-48.
Objects, Their Parts, and Essences.Karol Polcyn - 2012 - Filozofia Nauki 20 (3).
The Structure of Objects.Kathrin Koslicki - 2008 - Oxford University Press.
On Stages, Worms, and Relativity.Yuri Balashov - 2002 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:223-.
Coincidence and Identity.Penelope Mackie - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:151-176.
Thing and Object.Kristie Miller - 2008 - Acta Analytica 23 (1):69-89.
Qualitative Unity and the Bundle Theory.David Robb - 2005 - The Monist 88 (4):466-92.
Essential Properties and Coinciding Objects.Crawford L. Elder - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):317-331.
Endurantist and Perdurantist Accounts of Persistence.Maureen Donnelly - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):27 - 51.
Material Objects: Metaphysical Issues.Cody Sinclair Gilmore - 2004 - Dissertation, Princeton University


Added to PP index

Total views
16 ( #632,523 of 60,859 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #434,623 of 60,859 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes