Composition as identity, now with all the pluralities you could want

Synthese 199 (3-4):8047-8068 (2021)

Abstract

According to ‘composition as identity’, a composite object is identical to all its parts taken together. Thus, a plurality of composite objects is identical to the plurality of those objects’ parts. This has the consequence that, e.g., the bricks which compose a brick wall are identical to the atoms which compose those bricks, and hence that the plurality of bricks must include each of those atoms. This consequence of CAI is in direct conflict with the standard analysis of plural definite descriptions. According to that analysis, the denotation of ‘the bricks’ can include only bricks. It seems, then, that if CAI is true, ‘the bricks’ doesn’t denote anything; more generally, if CAI is true, there are fewer pluralities than we ordinarily think. I respond to this argument by developing an alternative analysis of plural descriptions which allows the denotation of ‘the bricks’ to include non-bricks. Thus, we can accept CAI, while still believing in all the pluralities we could want. As a bonus, my approach to plural descriptions and plural comprehension blocks recent arguments to the effect that CAI entails compositional nihilism.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2021-05-09

Downloads
27 (#428,531)

6 months
5 (#135,621)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jonathan D. Payton
Bilkent University

References found in this work

Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Plural Predication.Thomas McKay - 2006 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (1):51-91.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

On Atomic Composition as Identity.Roberto Loss - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4519-4542.
Composition, Identity and Plural Ontology.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9193-9210.
Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
Consequences of Collapse.Theodore Sider - 2014 - In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 211-221.
Groups as Pluralities.John Horden & Dan López de Sa - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10237-10271.
Composition, Identity, and Emergence.Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 25 (3):429-443.
We Are Not a Plural Subject.Ludger Jansen - 2018 - ProtoSociology 35:167-196.
Intensional Composition as Identity.Manuel Lechthaler - 2020 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (2):294-318.
Is There a Plural Object?Byeong-Uk Yi - forthcoming - In Donal Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press.
Cumulation Across Attitudes and Plural Projection.Viola Schmitt - 2020 - Journal of Semantics 37 (4):557-609.
Composition as a Kind of Identity.Phillip Bricker - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):264-294.