On the explanatory demands of the Special Composition Question

Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4375-4388 (2019)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The Special Composition Question may be formulated as follows: for any xs whatsoever, what are the metaphysically necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in virtue of which there is a y such that those xs compose y? But what is the scope of the sought after explanation? Should an answer merely explain compositional facts, or should it explain certain ontological facts as well? On one natural reading, the question seeks an explanation of both the compositional facts and the ontological; the question seeks to explain how composite objects exist; how there is a y such that the xs compose y. But it turns out that some answers to the Special Composition Question presuppose those ontological facts rather than explain those ontological facts. In this paper, I will indicate what I take to be the different explanatory demands met by the representative answers. I will argue that the wide scope explanatory demands can’t be satisfied. I will also show that this result has bearing on the current debate about composition.

Similar books and articles

Toward a Commonsense Answer to the Special Composition Question.Chad Carmichael - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):475-490.
Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
Composition as a Secondary Quality.Uriah Kriegel - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (3):359-383.
Composition as Identity Doesn’T Settle the Special Composition Question1.Ross P. Cameron - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3):531-554.
Unrestricted Composition as Identity.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2014 - In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 143-65.
Simples.Ned Markosian - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):213 – 228.
A Relevance Constraint on Composition.David Vander Laan - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):135-145.
Conceptual Conservatism and Contingent Composition.Josh Parsons - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (4):327-339.
The Special Composition Question in Action.Sara Rachel Chant - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):422-441.
Borderline Simple or Extremely Simple.Katherine Hawley - 2004 - The Monist 87 (3):385-404.

Analytics

Added to PP
2019-03-01

Downloads
368 (#30,018)

6 months
48 (#20,506)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Joshua Spencer
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Citations of this work

Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-135.
Guide to Ground.Kit Fine - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding. Cambridge University Press. pp. 37--80.
No Work for a Theory of Grounding.Jessica M. Wilson - 2014 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (5-6):535-579.
Against Grounding Necessitarianism.Alexander Skiles - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (4):717-751.
Grounding: Toward a Theory of the I N-Virtue-Of Relation.Paul Audi - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (12):685-711.

View all 19 references / Add more references