Composition is the relation between a whole and its parts--the parts are said to compose the whole; the whole is composed of the parts. But is a whole anything distinct from its parts taken collectively? It is often said that 'a whole is nothing over and above its parts'; but what might we mean by that? Could it be that a whole just is its parts?This collection of essays is the first of its kind to focus on the relationship between (...) composition and identity. Twelve original articles--written by internationally renowned scholars and rising stars in the field--argue for and against the controversial doctrine that composition is identity. An editor's introduction sets out the formal and philosophical groundwork to bring readers to the forefront of the debate. (shrink)
Two things become one thing, something having parts, and something becoming something else, are cases of many things being identical with one thing. This apparent contradiction introduces others concerning transitivity of identity, discernibility of identicals, existence, and vague existence. I resolve the contradictions with a theory that identity, number, and existence are relative to standards for counting. What are many on some standard are one and the same on another. The theory gives an account of the discernibility of identicals using (...) phrases like “insofar as”. And it holds that standards for counting remain or shift depending on our purposes. (shrink)
This essay interprets Butler’s distinction between identity in the loose and popular sense and in the strict and philosophical sense. Suppose there are different standards for counting the same things. Then what are two distinct things counting strictly may be one and the same thing counting loosely. Within a given standard identity is one-one. But across standards it is many-one. An alternative interpretation using the parts-whole relation fails, because that relation should be understood as many-one identity. Another alternative making identity (...) relative to sort fails, because whole and parts can be of the same sort. (shrink)
Pace Perry, wondering whether perceived things are identical is thinking about them, for Hume, with no thought of perceptions of them. Hume is not a proto-Fregean; Hume's Difficulty is not a version of Frege's Puzzle. Pace Falkenstein, wondering about an identity is not wondering whether clearly distinct things--stages, surfaces, names--are connected in some way. Pace Garrett, wondering about the identity of an observed object is wondering whether it is really one or two things, not whether there is one F or (...) two Fs. Second, Humean consciousness is apperception, not immediate awareness. Third, Hume finds nothing with epistemic merit. (shrink)
Construing the instantiation of a universal by a particular in terms of my theory of aspects resolves the basic mystery of this "non-relational tie", and gives theoretical unity to the four characteristics of instantiation discerned by Armstrong. Taking aspects as distinct in a way akin to Scotus's formal distinction, I suggest that instantiation is the sharing of an aspect by a universal and a particular--a kind of partial identity. This approach allows me to address Plato's multiple location and One over (...) Many problems, Bradley's problem concerning the instantiation of relations, and the problem of change. (shrink)
Oliver's and Rodriguez-Pereyra's important interpretation of the problem of universals as one concerning truthmakers neglects something crucial: that there is a numerical identity between numerically distinct particulars. The problem of universals is rather how to resolve the apparent contradiction that the same things are both numerically distinct and numerically identical. Baxter's account of instantiation as partial identity resolves the apparent contradiction. A seeming objection to this account is that it appears to make instantiation symmetric, since partial identity is symmetric. Armstrong's (...) standard reply is that the difference between a particular and a universal is what makes instantiation asymmetric. Brown suggests, though, that the instantiation of a universal by a universal is sometimes symmetric. However, the examples on which he relies are not universals. (shrink)
In this volume--the first, focused study of Hume on time and identity--Baxter focuses on Hume’s treatment of the concept of numerical identity, which is central to Hume's famous discussions of the external world and personal identity. Hume raises a long unappreciated, and still unresolved, difficulty with the concept of identity: how to represent something as "a medium betwixt unity and number." Superficial resemblance to Frege’s famous puzzle has kept the difficulty in the shadows. Hume’s way of addressing it makes sense (...) only in the context of his unorthodox theory of time. Baxter shows the defensibility of that theory against past dismissive interpretations, especially of Hume’s stance on infinite divisibility. Later the author shows how the difficulty underlies Hume’s later worries about his theory of personal identity, in a new reading motivated by Hume’s important appeals to consciousness. Baxter casts Hume throughout as an acute metaphysician, and reconciles this side of Hume with his overarching Pyrrhonian skepticism. (shrink)
Hume discusses the distinction of reason to explain how we distinguish things inseparable, and so identical, e.g., the color and figure of a white globe. He says we note the respect in which the globe is similar to a white cube and dissimilar to a black sphere, and the respect in which it is dissimilar to the first and similar to the second. Unfortunately, Hume takes these differing respects of resemblance to be identical with the white globe itself. Contradiction results, (...) undermining his theory of abstraction. The way out is apparently to admit an intrinsic complexity in even simple things. (shrink)
One of the advantages of my account in the essay “Instantiation as Partial Identity” was capturing the contingency of instantiation—something David Armstrong gave up in his experiment with a similar view. What made the contingency possible for me was my own non-standard account of identity, complete with the apparatus of counts and aspects. The need remains to lift some obscurity from the account in order to display its virtues to greater advantage. To that end, I propose to respond to those (...) who have grappled with it in print. There are various criticisms by commentators: that it is rendered absurd by the transitivity of identity, that it makes instantiation necessary instead of contingent, that it is unclear what counts are, that aspects are simply tropes, that my view does not capture multiple location, that I make an unclear reference to a theory of composition as identity, that the account suffers from problems with polyadicity, and that it is not a realist account of universals after all. I give responses to these objections. (shrink)
I argue via examples that there are cases in which things that are not two distinct things qualitatively differ without contradiction. In other words, there are cases in which something differs from itself. Standard responses to such cases are to divide the thing into distinct parts, or to conceive of the thing under different descriptions, or to appeal to different times, or to deny that the property had is the property lacked. I show these responses to be unsatisfactory. I then (...) gather and systematize available ways of talking about such cases with phrases like ‘insofar as’ , ‘qua’ , ‘to the extent that’, ‘in some respect’, etc., while paying special attention to the scope of ‘not’ when used with these phrases. This allows me to show how we can speak of self-differing without contradiction. (shrink)
I argue that an individual has aspects numerically identical with it and each other that nonetheless qualitatively differ from it and each other. This discernibility of identicals does not violate Leibniz's Law, however, which concerns only individuals and is silent about their aspects. They are not in its domain of quantification. To argue that there are aspects I will appeal to the internal conflicts of conscious beings. I do not mean to imply that aspects are confined to such cases, but (...) the best way to start is to recognize them experientially. We can feel the conflicts within ourselves. In doing so we can feel some of our aspects. I will try to enhance our understanding of the concept of aspect by listing and formalizing some principles for its use. After that I will argue that all sorts of individual things have aspects, not just people who are conflicted. (shrink)
Ordinary usage gives a way to think of identity through time: the Pittsburgh of 1946 was the same city as the Pittsburgh of today is--namely Pittsburgh. Problem: The Pittsburgh of 1946 does not exist; Pittsburgh still does. How can they have been identical? I reject the temporal parts view on which they were not but we may speak as though they were. Rather I argue that claiming their identity is not contradictory. I interpret ‘the Pittsburgh of 1946’ as ‘Pittsburgh as (...) it was in 1946’ and suggest that the apparent contradiction results from an ambiguity in the scope of ‘as’. (shrink)
Hume's Treatise arguments concerning space, time, and geometry, especially ones involving his denial of infinite divisibility; have suffered harsh criticism. I show that in the section "Of the ideas of space and time," Hume gives important characterizations of his skeptical approach, in some respects Pyrrhonian, that will be developed in the rest of the Treatise. When that approach is better understood, the force of Hume's arguments can be appreciated, and the influential criticisms of them can be seen to miss the (...) mark. (shrink)
In the correspondence with Arnauld, Leibniz contends that each corporeal substance has a substantial form. In support he argues that to be real a corporeal substance must be one and indivisible, a true unity. I will show how this argument precludes a tempting interpretation of corporeal substances as composite unities. Rather it mandates the interpretation that each corporeal substance is a single monad.
Despite its central role in his important theories of self and external world, Hume’s account of numerical identity has been neglected or misunderstood. The account is designed as a response to a difficulty concerning identity apparently original with Hume. I argue that the problem is real, crucial, and remains unresolved today. Hume’s response to the difficulty enlists his idiosyncratic, empiricist views on time: time consists of discrete, partless moments, some of which coexist with successions of others. Time is more like (...) a wall of variously sized bricks than like a continuous line. Hume’s arguments that time (and space) are not infinitely divisible have met with literal contempt. I show that his unusual views are motivated and consistent. The topic of identity leads naturally to Hume’s account of personal identity and his later retraction--one of the most widely discussed topics in Hume scholarship. I give a new, straightforward explanation of the retraction, by arguing that Hume’s views on consciousness preclude his prior account of the self as a fiction. I then suggest that Hume’s fundamental problem for personal identity is his general difficulty concerning identity. Discussing Hume’s metaphysics raises perhaps the most central and difficult topic in Hume scholarship--how to reconcile the constructive, theoretical Hume with the skeptical Hume. The prevailing view for the last century has been that Hume’s skepticism is limited, leaving room for his theorizing. I argue, rather, that Hume is an unlimited Pyrrhonian skeptic in relevant respects, and that this interpretation of him best reconciles his two sides. (shrink)
The ancient theory of substance and accident is supposed to make sense of complex unities in a way that respects both their unity and their complexity. On Hume’s view such complex unities are only fictitiously unities. This result follows from his thoroughgoing critique of the theory of substance. I will characterize the theory Hume is critiquing as it is presented in Locke, presupposing what Bennett calls the “Leibnizian interpretation.” Locke uses the word ‘substance’ in two senses. Call substance in the (...) first sense “individual substance” and in the second sense “pure substance.” I will discuss the seven main parts of Hume’s view: (I) that we have no idea of pure substance, (II) that there is no complex individual substance, except in a loose sense, (III) that the fiction of complex individual substance arises in a way parallel to that of the fiction of identity through time, and (IV) results in the fiction of pure substance, (V) that simple qualities and perceptions satisfy the definition of individual substance, (VI) that there is no such thing as inherence, and (VII) that there is no such thing as pure substance. Hume’s views on substance are often mentioned without being discussed in detail. Kemp Smith, Stroud, and Garrett, for example, mostly summarize various claims of Hume in the course of expounding on his theory of the idea of personal identity. In contrast, I will attempt to present a systematic treatment of Hume on substance as a refutation of Locke. (shrink)
How is it possible for David Hume to be both withering skeptic and constructive theorist? I recommend an answer like the Pyrrhonian answer to the question how it is possible to suspend all judgment yet engage in active daily life. Sextus Empiricus distinguishes two kinds of assent: one suspended across the board and one involved with daily living. The first is an act of will based on appreciation of reasons; the second is a causal effect of appearances. Hume makes the (...) same distinction, only he extends the sort of assent involved in daily life to theoretical matters as well. He is a skeptic both in finding no reason to grant the first sort of assent and in being subject to the second. (shrink)
Hume argues that there are steadfast objects - objects not themselves successions at all, yet which co-exist with successions. Given Hume's account of moments as abstractions from temporal simples, there being steadfast objects entails there being single moments that co-exist with successions of moments. Thus time is more like a wall of variously sized bricks than like a line. I formalize the assumptions behind this surprising view, in order to make sense of it and in order to show that it (...) is consistent. I note also that this view justifies the common-sense assumptions that time flows and is unlike space. (shrink)
Understanding Hume’s theory of space and time requires suspending our own. When theorizing, we think of space as one huge array of locations, which external objects might or might not occupy. Time adds another dimension to this vast array. For Hume, in contrast, space is extension in general, where being extended is having parts arranged one right next to the other like the pearls on a necklace. Time is duration in general, where having duration is having parts occurring one aft (...) er another like the notes of a song. Hume’s diff erent view stems from his empiricism, his reliance on experience and observation as the foundation of our concepts. Nothing in our experience suggests a single vast array of locations. Rather, we simply notice that bodies are similar insofar as they have lengths that can be compared. Likewise, nothing in our experience suggests a single dimension of time. Rather, we simply notice that diff erent successions are similar insofar as they have durations that can be compared. Th eorizing that these observations show there to be a single multidimensional array goes well beyond the evidence for Hume. As a skeptic, he fi nds himself unable to assent to theories that stray too far beyond the deliverances of the senses. For Hume, the ideas of space and time are each a general idea of simple—partless— objects arrayed in a certain manner. He argues that the structures of the ideas of space and time refl ect the structures of space and time. Th erefore, space and time are not infi - nitely divisible, and they are ways simple objects are arrayed. Consequently, there is no such thing as empty space nor time without change. (shrink)
Berkeley and Hume object to Locke's account of abstraction. Abstraction is separating in the mind what cannot be separated in reality. Their objection is that if a is inseparable in reality from b, then the idea of a is inseparable from the idea of b. The former inseparability is the reason for the latter. In most interpretations, however, commentators leave the former unexplained in explaining the latter. This article assumes that Berkeley and Hume present a unified front against Locke. Hume (...) supplements Berkeley's argument just where there are gaps. In particular, Hume makes explicit something Berkeley leaves implicit: The argument against Locke depends on the principle that things are inseparable if and only if they are identical. Abstraction is thinking of one of an inseparable pair while not thinking of the other. But doing so entails thinking of something while not thinking of it. This is the fundamental objection. (shrink)
In the Treatise Hume argues that the self is really many related perceptions, which we represent to ourselves as being one and the same thing. In the Appendix he finds this account inconsistent. Why? The problem arises from Hume's theory that representation requires resemblance. Only a many can represent a many recognized as such, and only a one can represent something as one. So for the many distinct perceptions (recognized as such) to be represented as one and the same, the (...) many distinct ideas that reflect them must be one and the same. But the distinct cannot be identical. (shrink)
The divide between oneself and others has made altruism seem irrational to some thinkers, as Sidgwick points out. I use characterizations of grief, especially by St. Augustine, to question the divide, and use a composition-as-identity metaphysics of parts and wholes to make literal sense of those characterizations.
Berkeley says both that one sometimes immediately perceives the same thing by sight and touch, and that one never does. To solve the contradiction I recommend and explain a distinction Berkeley himself makes—between two uses of ‘same’. This solution unifies two seemingly inconsistent parts of Berkeley’s whole project: He argues both that what we see are bits of light and color organized into a language by which God speaks to us about tactile sensations, and yet that we directly see ordinary (...) objects. My solution explains how these can come to the same thing. (shrink)
There are two inspirations for the theory presented. One is the Kantian idea that a free choice affects a deterministic sequence of events globally rather than just locally. The second is the Leibnizian idea that God chooses for actuality the possible world he deems best. But instead of God choosing, suppose free agents collectively do. Let actuality be an office which deterministic possible worlds are voted in and not of. In this way free choice can change things even if every (...) event is fully governed by deterministic laws: free choice substitutes one deterministic world for another. One way to look at the actual world on this theory is as a patchwork of segments of possible worlds. This gives the theory two advantages over familiar compatibilisms: it explains how the future is unsettled until chosen, and it allows that free choices are spontaneous. (shrink)
Allegedly hume begs the question when explaining the idea of identity through time. I argue that this accusation rests on the false assumption that all perceptions are momentary and so any lengthy perception is rather a number of perceptions in succession. I conclude that the idea of identity is an uneasy combination of a single lengthy idea and a number of ideas in succession. In this way it is a "medium betwixt unity and number.".
Hume argues that the idea of duration is just the idea of the manner in which several things in succession are arrayed. In other words, the idea of duration is the idea of successiveness. He concludes that all and only successions have duration. Hume also argues that there is such a thing as a steadfast object—something which co-exists with many things in succession, but which is not itself a succession. Thus, it seems that Hume has committed himself to a contradiction: (...) A steadfast object lacks duration because it is not a succession, but has duration because it co-exists with something which has duration. I am not going to discuss why Hume thinks these things. My goal is simply to show that what he thinks is consistent. To do so, I will offer a Humean temporal logic. (shrink)
Hume seems to argue unconvincingly against the infinite divisibility of finite regions of space. I show that his conclusion is entailed by respectable metaphysical principles which he held. One set of principles entails that there are partless (unextended) things. Another set entails that these cannot be ordered so that an infinite number of them compose a finite interval.
Armstrong has loose identity be an equivalence relation, yet in cases of something becoming something else, loose identity is not transitive. My alternate account has an attribution of loose identity be really two: a true attribution of an underlying relation (perhaps not transitive) and a false attribution--a Humean feigning-of strict identity. The feigning may become less appropriate as the underlying relation grows more distant. What makes it appropriate initially is that the underlying relation supports a predictable change in some collective. (...) The importance of the predictably changing collective is signaled by regarding it as a single thing. (shrink)
In seiner Korrespondenz mit Arnauld behauptet Leibniz, daß jede körperliche Substanz eine substantielle Form hat. Zur Erhärtung dieser These vertritt er die Ansicht, daß eine körperliche Substanz, um wirklich zu sein, eins und unteilbar sein muß, also eine echte Einheit. Ich werde zeigen, daß diese Behauptung die verführerische Deutung der körperlichen Substanzen als zusammengesetzte Einheiten ausschließt. Vielmehr führt sie zu der Interpretation, daß jede körperliche Substanz eine einzelne Monade ist. Die Argumentation lautet dann kurz: Alles Teilbare besteht aus Teilen, also (...) ist es keine Einheit, also ist es nicht wirklich. Körperliche Substanzen sind wirklich. Also sind körperliche Substanzen nicht teilbar. Alles Materielle ist teilbar. Also sind körperliche Substanzen nicht materiell. Sodann behaupte ich, daß die Belege aus den Texten, wonach körperliche Substanzen aus Teilen bestehen, unter Berücksichtigung verschiedener spezieller Bedeutungen des Wortes Teil, die Leibniz nutzt, verstanden werden müssen. Schließlich rege ich die Deutung an, daß Leibniz, wenn er sagt, Materie sei ein Phänomen, meint, daß sie fälschlicher-, aber nützlicherweise für real gehalten wird. Aus dieser Interpretation ergibt sich ein aristotelischer Begriff der körperlichen Substanz. (shrink)
Hume's puzzle about identity is not semantic, like Frege's, but concerns representation-as. It concerns not what there is which a representation represents, but rather what the representation represents there as being. Hume asks, what do we represent there as being when we realize that something and something are for all we know numerically identical and for all we know numerically distinct? I show that we must represent there as perhaps being something that perhaps is distinct from itself. But we have (...) no way to do this without a way to consistently represent something as being distinct from itself. (shrink)
I propose a common sense, local anti-realism for the ordinary concept of continuity. Whether or not something, e.g. a trail, is continuous ordinarily depends on people’s purposes and capabilities. This dependence entails that there is no fact of the matter whether something is continuous. Relativizing continuity to gain a fact of the matter, unacceptably fragments our ordinary concept, and makes it false that we given new information can change our minds when applying the concept.
ABSTRACT According to David Lewis, alteration is "qualitative difference between temporal parts of something." It follows that moments, since they are simple and lack temporal parts, cannot alter from future to present to past. Here then is another way to put McTaggart's paradox about change in tense. I will appeal to my theory of Aspects to rebut the thought behind this rendition of McTaggart. On my theory, it is possible that qualitatively differing things be numerically identical. I call these differing, (...) numerically identical things "aspects." I will argue that alteration can be a qualitative difference between temporal aspects of something that lacks temporal parts. So a moment can alter in tense. By rejecting Lewis's assumption my theory can solve this version of McTaggart's paradox. (shrink)
Zu Arnauld und im Discours de métaphysique sagt Leibniz, daß alle Wahrheiten begrifflich (prädikativ) und manche gleichwohl kontingent sind. Ich untersuche das Problem im Hinblick auf mögliche Wesen, die ich als möglich auch betrachte und versuche nachzuweisen, daß die Position keinen Widerspruch enthält, weil Leibniz zwei Arten begrifflichen Enthaltenseins unterscheidet -logisch und kausal: Die erste ist notwendig, die zweite jedoch kontingent und nur hypothetisch notwendig, notwendig also lediglich unter der Voraussetzung des vorgegebenen freien Willens Gottes. Es gibt insofern auch zwei (...) Arten vollständiger Begriffe - logisch und kausal vollständig: Kausal vollständige Begriffe sind logisch unvollständig und enthalten gleichwohl logisch (hypothetisches Enthaltensein) Gründe für die fehlenden Prädikate. Diese Begriffe sind Begriffe von zeitlichen Zuständen, die in einem Individuum durch Gottes wohlbegründete freie Ratschlüsse verbunden sind - solche Zustände lassen sich zwar separieren, jedoch nicht neu zusammenfügen. Diese Interpretation ist vereinbar mit dem inesse-Prinzip, mit Gottes Wissen um zukünftige zufällige Ereignisse sowie Leibniz' Ablehnung des Konzepts weltübergreifender Identität und kann durch die Einbeziehung des Kontingenz-Kriteriums einer unendlichen Analyse sowie einer Theorie der Gegenstücke zur Erklärung des Kontrafaktischen problemlos erweitert werden. (shrink)
I argue via examples that there are cases in which things that are not two distinct things qualitatively differ without contradiction. In other words, there are cases in which something differs from itself. Standard responses to such cases are to divide the thing into distinct parts, or to conceive of the thing under different descriptions, or to appeal to different times, or to deny that the property had is the property lacked. I show these responses to be unsatisfactory. I then (...) gather and systematize available ways of talking about such cases with phrases like ‘insofar as’, ‘qua’, ‘to the extent that’, ‘in some respect’, etc., while paying special attention to the scope of ‘not’ when used with these phrases. This allows me to show how we can speak of self-differing without contradiction. (shrink)
Berkeley and Hume object to Locke’s account of abstraction.ion is separating in the mind what cannot be separated in reality. Their objection is that if a is inseparable in reality from b, then the idea of a is inseparable from the idea of b. The former inseparability is the reason for the latter. In most interpretations, however, commentators leave the former unexplained in explaining the latter.This article assumes that Berkeley and Hume present a unified front against Locke. Hume supplements Berkeley’s (...) argument just where there are gaps. In particular, Hume makes explicit something Berkeley leaves implicit: The argument against Locke depends on the principle that things are inseparable if and only if they are identical. Abstraction is thinking of one of an inseparable pair while not thinking of the other. But doing so entails thinking of something while not thinking of it. This is the fundamental objection. (shrink)