Van Inwagen and the Possibility of Gunk

Analysis 53 (4):285 - 289 (1993)
Abstract
We often speak of an object being composed of various other objects. We say that the deck is composed of the cards, that a road is the sum total of its sections, that a house is composed of its walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc. Suppose we have some material objects. Here is a philosophical question: what conditions must obtain for those objects to compose something? In his recent book Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen addresses this question, which he calls the ‘special composition question’; his answer is:1 (1) For any material objects X , the X s compose something iff the activity of the X s constitutes a life, or there is only one of the Xs. Additionally, he accepts a simpler thesis that follows from (1):2 (2) Every material object is either a mereological atom or a living thing, where a mereological atom is an object lacking proper parts. (2) may seem radical. If it is true then there are no tables, chairs, planets, protons, galaxies, gas stations, etc. But van Inwagen does not hold it lightly— there are serious difficulties with alternate views. Moreover, he claims that..
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/analys/53.4.285
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 28,106
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
The Contingency of Composition.Ross P. Cameron - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):99-121.
Boring Infinite Descent.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2014 - Metaphilosophy 45 (2):257-269.
All the World's a Stage.Theodore Sider - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (3):433 – 453.

View all 25 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Simples.Ned Markosian - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):213 – 228.
McGrath on Universalism.Michael C. Rea - 1999 - Analysis 59 (263):200–203.
Material Beings.Peter van Inwagen - 1990 - Cornell University Press.
Ontological Realism.Theodore Sider - 2009 - In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
Conceptual Conservatism and Contingent Composition.Josh Parsons - 2013 - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (4):327-339.
T-Gunk and Exact Occupation.Daniel Giberman - 2012 - American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (2):165-174.
Nihilism Without Self-Contradiction.David Liggins - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62 (62):177-196.
9. On Locating Composite Objects.Jacek Brzozowski - 2008 - In Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press. pp. 4--193.
Van Inwagen's Modal Skepticism.Peter Hawke - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364.
Brutal Composition.Ned Markosian - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211 - 249.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-12-22

Total downloads

240 ( #14,989 of 2,171,798 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #26,702 of 2,171,798 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums