The Existential Quantifier, Composition and Contingency

Erkenntnis 73 (2):211 - 235 (2010)
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There is a good deal of disagreement about composition. There is firstorder disagreement: there are radically different answers to the special composition question—the question of under what circumstances the xs compose a y. There is second-order disagreement: there are different answers to the question of whether first-order disagreement is real or merely semantic. Virtually all disputants with respect to both the first-and second-order issues agree that the answer or answers to the special composition question will take the form of a necessary truth or truths even though, as I will argue, such answers do not appear to be good candidates to be necessary truths. This paper provides an analysis of the concept of as it pertains to concrete objects, that fulfils two functions. First, it explicates the sense in which claims about composition are contingent and the sense in which they are necessary, and second, it provides a way of understanding when first-order disputes are substantial and when they are merely semantic.



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Kristie Miller
University of Sydney

Citations of this work

Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Mereology and ideology.Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Synthese 198 (8):7431-7448.
Anti‐Metaphysicalism, Necessity, and Temporal Ontology.Mark Balaguer - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):145-167.

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Material Beings.Peter van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
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Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Philosophy 67 (259):126-127.

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