Mass, Quantity and Amount

Dissertation, Cornell University (1980)
Authors
C. D. C. Reeve
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Abstract
Among the topics discussed in detail are: the concept of an amount; the notion of an extensive dimension ; the 'is' of constitution; sortal predicates; and atomism. ;Writers discussed are: W. V. O. Quine; Vere Chappell; Tyler Burge; Terence Parsons; Henry Laycock; and Helen Cartwright. ;I argue that mass nouns should be uniformly analyzed as logical predicates which are satisfied by objects of a distinctive kind called quantities. I show how to define the notion of a quantity in a rigorous way by giving existence and identity conditions for quantities. I argue on those grounds, both that mass nouns are sortal predicates, and that quantities are physical objects. ;I use the notion of a quantity to state existence and identity conditions for stuffs: A stuff F exists, I claim, just in case a quantity of F exists; and F is the same stuff as G just in case . Thus there need by nothing above and beyond physical objects in a world in which a stuff exists. ;My aim is to give a philosophical analysis of mass nouns and the stuffs they pick out. Thus I give an account of the meaning of mass nouns, i.e., of the systematic contribution they make to the truth-conditions of sentences; assign logical forms to those sentences; explain their ontological presuppositions; and define and defend the entities whose existence they presuppose
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