Contrast and constitution

Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):158-174 (2018)
Authors
Peter Van Elswyk
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Abstract
The pluralist about material constitution maintains that a lump of clay is not identical with the statue it constitutes. Although pluralism strikes many as extravagant by requiring distinct things to coincide, it can be defended with a simple argument. The monist is less well off. Typically, she has to argue indirectly for her view by finding problems with the pluralist's extravagance. This paper offers a direct argument for monism that illustrates how monism about material constitution is rooted in commonsense as reflected in linguistic practice. In particular, I argue that everyday judgements that are contrastive like "The statue is beautiful for a lump of clay" entail the identity of the statue and the clay.
Keywords material constitution  constitution as identity  gradable adjectives
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1093/pq/pqx028
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Spatio-Temporal Coincidence and the Grounding Problem.Karen Bennett - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 118 (3):339-371.
A Case for Extrinsic Dispositions.J. McKitrick - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):155 – 174.
Are Shapes Intrinsic?Bradford Skow - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):111 - 130.

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