The paradox of increase

The Monist 89 (3):390-417 (2006)
Eric T. Olson
University of Sheffield
It seems evident that things sometimes get bigger by acquiring new parts. But there is an ancient argument purporting to show that this is impossible: the paradox of increase or growing argument.i Here is a sketch of the paradox. Suppose we have an object, A, and we want to make it bigger by adding a part, B. That is, we want to bring it about that A first lacks and then has B as a part. Imagine, then, that we conjoin B to A in some appropriate way. Never mind what A and B are, or what this conjoining amounts to: let A be anything that can gain a part if anything can gain a part, and let B be the sort of thing that can become a part of A, and suppose we do whatever it would take to make B come to be a part of A if this is possible at all. Have we thereby made B a part of A? It seems not. We seem only to have brought it about that B is attached to A, like this
Keywords Analytic Philosophy  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest  Philosophy of Mind  Philosophy of Science
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ISBN(s) 0026-9662
DOI 10.5840/monist200689318
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