The bundle theory for simple particular

Andrew Newman
University of Nebraska, Omaha
1 A particular may have other particulars as parts, but according to the bundle theory its ultimate constituents are confined to universals. Parts are different from constituents or components. A part is a type of constituent, but there are constituents that are not parts. Parts belong to the same general category as the whole: if a concrete particular has parts, those parts will themselves be concrete particulars. This is not always the case with constituents: the constituents of a fact do not have to be facts and the constituents (or members) of a set do not have to be sets. The relation of “being a part of” is also transitive, whereas the relation of “being a constituent of” is not always transitive. If a particular has parts, such as atoms, then its constituents include its intrinsic properties, its atoms, and the arrangement relation. If an atom has parts, such as subatomic particles, then the constituents of the atom include its properties, the subatomic particles, and the arrangement universal. If it is like this all the way down without any termination (no bedrock), then the bundle theory says that at each stage there are only universals and ordinary particulars with parts, in other words there are no bare particulars. This approach should also work if there were arbitrary undetached parts that are real entities. The alternative to no bedrock is metaphysical atomism. There are two ways that metaphysical atomism could be true in classical mechanics: (1) if the ultimate constituents of matter are point particles — perhaps electrons are point particles, (2) if matter is continuously divisible and arbitrary undetached parts are not real entities or real parts. But it would be rash to say that these were the only two options for all theories. Point particles are a convenient kind of particular to think about when discussing the bundle theory. There could be just three properties bundled together, a certain mass, a certain charge, and the property of being point like..
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