According to the so-called strong variant of Composition as Identity (CAI), the Principle of Indiscernibility of Identicals can be extended to composition, by resorting to broadly Fregean relativizations of cardinality ascriptions. In this paper we analyze various ways in which this relativization could be achieved. According to one broad variety of relativization, cardinality ascriptions are about objects, while concepts occupy an additional argument place. It should be possible to paraphrase the cardinality ascriptions in plural logic and, as a (...) consequence, relative counting requires the relativization either of quantifiers, or of identity, or of the is one of relation. However, some of these relativizations do not deliver the expected results, and others rely on problematic assumptions. In another broad variety of relativization, cardinality ascriptions are about concepts or sets. The most promising development of this approach is prima facie connected with a violation of the so-called Coreferentiality Constraint, according to which an identity statement is true only if its terms have the same referent. Moreover - even provided that the problem with coreferentiality can be fixed - the resulting analysis of cardinality ascriptions meets several difficulties. (shrink)
According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns (...) out that it is surprisingly difficult to give a satisfactory answer to this question that accords with standard, pre-philosophical intuitions about the universe's composite objects. In fact, the three rival views in response to this question that have received the most support in the literature are (i) that there are no objects composed of two or more parts (which means that there are no stars, chairs, humans, or bicycles);2 (ii) that the only objects composed of two or more parts are living organisms (which still means no stars. (shrink)
This article explores how the diversity of board resources and the number of women on boards affect firms' corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings, and how, in turn, CSR influences corporate reputation. In addition, this article examines whether CSR ratings mediate the relationships among board resource diversity, gender composition, and corporate reputation. The OLS regression results using lagged data for independent and control variables were statistically significant for the gender composition hypotheses, but not for the resource diversitybased hypotheses. CSR (...) ratings had a positive impact on reputation and mediated the relationship between the number of women on the board and corporate reputation. (shrink)
The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will (...) argue that the proposed answer entails the transitivity of parthood, that it is non-circular, and that it casts some light on the ancient puzzle about the Ship of Theseus. (shrink)
There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of (...) class='Hi'>composition as identity, but argue that the version of this doctrine that entails universalism is implausible. I consider the claim that the a priority of such facts leads to their necessity, but give a defence of substantial contingent a priori truths. I ask whether the contingency of such facts would lead to unwelcome possibilities, but argue that the worrying looking possibilities can be blocked if it is desired. Next, I argue against the thought that the Lewis-Sider argument against restricted composition might give us reason to accept the necessity of universalism. Lastly, I respond to two objections from the 2006 BSPC. I conclude in favour of the contingency of the facts concerning when some things compose some thing. (shrink)
Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composition never occurs. Some philosophers have thought that science gives us compelling evidence against nihilism. In this article I respond to this concern. An initial challenge for nihilism stems from the fact that composition is such a ubiquitous feature of scientific theories. In response I motivate a restricted form of scientific anti-realism with respect to those components of scientific theories which make reference to composition. A second scientifically based worry for nihilism (...) is that certain specific scientific phenomena might require ineliminable quantification over composite objects. I address these concerns, and argue that there seem to be nihilist-friendly construals of the scientific phenomena in question. (shrink)
When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will (...) see, the dominant answers are all of them and none of them. In §§3-4, we examine one of the main arguments that has driven philosophers to these extreme answers: the argument from vagueness. In §5, we turn to the question of whether composition is unique: is it sometimes the case that some things compose more than one thing? Finally, in §6, we turn from the question of which composites exist to the question of which composites exist fundamentally. (shrink)
The special composition question asks, roughly, under what conditions composition occurs. The common sense view is that composition only occurs among some things and that all and only ‘ordinary objects’ exist. Peter van Inwagen has marshaled a devastating argument against this view. The common sense view appears to commit one to giving what van Inwagen calls a ‘series-style answer’ to the special composition question, but van Inwagen argues that series-style answers are impossible because they are inconsistent (...) with the transitivity of parthood. In what follows I answer this objection in addition to other, less troubling objections raised by van Inwagen. (shrink)
Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption (...) that folk intuitions have a teleological source; and we argue that, even if folk intuitions about composition carry no weight, theories of composition can still be rejected on the basis of the intuitions of metaphysicians. (shrink)
Although the composition of the board of directors has important implications for different aspects of firm performance, prior studies tend to focus on financial performance. The effects of board composition on corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance remain an under-researched area, particularly in the period following the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX). This article specifically examines two important aspects of board composition (i.e., the presence of outside directors and the presence of women directors) and their (...) relationship with CSR performance in the Post-SOX era. With data covering over 500 of the largest companies listed on the U.S. stock exchanges and spanning 64 different industries, we find empirical evidence showing that greater presence of outside and women directors is linked to better CSR performance within a firm’s industry. Treating CSR performance as the reflection of a firm’s moral legitimacy, our study suggests that deliberate structuring of corporate boards may be an effective approach to enhance a firm’s moral legitimacy. (shrink)
David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague (...) class='Hi'>composition, there is an object, which definitely exists, about which it is vague whether the relevant borderline parts compose it. (shrink)
I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
I focus on three mereological principles: the Extensionality of Parthood (EP), the Uniqueness of Composition (UC), and the Extensionality of Composition (EC). These principles are not equivalent. Nonetheless, they are closely related (and often equated) as they all reflect the basic nominalistic dictum, No difference without a difference maker. And each one of them—individually or collectively—has been challenged on philosophical grounds. In the first part I argue that such challenges do not quite threaten EP insofar as they are (...) either self-defeating or unsupported. In the second part I argue that they hardly undermine the tenability of EC and UC as well. (shrink)
Composition as identity, as I understand it, is a theory of the composite structure of reality. The theory’s underlying logic is irreducibly plural; its fundamental primitive is a generalized identity relation that takes either plural or singular arguments. Strong versions of the theory that incorporate a generalized version of the indiscernibility of identicals are incompatible with the framework of plural logic, and should be rejected. Weak versions of the theory that are based on the idea that composition is (...) merely analogous to identity are too weak to be interesting, lacking in metaphysical consequence. I defend a moderate version according to which composition is a kind of identity, and argue that the difference is metaphysically substantial, not merely terminological. I then consider whether the notion of generalized identity, though fundamental, can be elucidated in modal terms by reverse engineering Hume’s Dictum. Unfortunately, for realists about possible worlds, such as myself,... (shrink)
Many of those who accept the universalist thesis that mereological composition is unrestricted also maintain that the folk typically restrict their quantifiers in such a way as to exclude strange fusions when they say things that appear to conflict with universalism. Despite its prima facie implausibility, there are powerful arguments for universalism. By contrast, there is remarkably little evidence for the thesis that strange fusions are excluded from the ordinary domain of quantification. Furthermore, this reconciliatory strategy seems hopeless when (...) applied to the more fundamental conflict between universalism and the intuitions that tell against it. (shrink)
The literature on material composition has largely ignored the composition of actions and events. I argue that this is a mistake. I present a set of individually plausible yet jointly inconsistent claims regarding the connection between quantification and existence, the composition of physical entities and the logical forms of action sentences.
This paper defends a realist account of the composition of Newtonian forces, dubbed ‘residualism’. According to residualism, the resultant force acting on a body is identical to the component forces acting on it that do not prevent each other from bringing about its acceleration. Several reasons to favor residualism over alternative accounts of the composition of forces are advanced. (i) Residualism reconciles realism about component forces with realism about resultant forces while avoiding any threat of causal overdetermination. (ii) (...) Residualism provides a systematic semantics for the term ‘force’ within Newtonian mechanics. (iii) Residualism allows us to precisely apportion the causal responsibility of each component force in the ensuing acceleration. (iv) Residualism handles special cases such as null forces, single forces, and antagonistic forces in a natural way. (v) Residualism provides a neat picture of the causal powers of forces: each force essentially has two causal powers⎯the power to bring about accelerations (sometimes together with other co-directionnal forces) and the power to prevent other forces from doing so⎯exactly one of which is manifested at a time. (vi) Residualism avoids commitment to unobservable effects of forces: forces cause either stresses (tensile or compressive) or accelerations. (shrink)
I argue that, despite van Inwagen’s pessimism about the task, it is worth looking for answers to his General Composition Question. Such answers or ‘principles of composition’ tell us about the relationship between an object and its parts. I compare principles of composition with criteria of identity, arguing that, just as different sorts of thing satisfy different criteria of identity, they may satisfy different principles of composition. Variety in criteria of identity is not taken to reflect (...) ontological variety in the identity relation; I discuss whether variety in principles of composition should be taken to reflect ontological variety in the composition relation. (shrink)
In ‘Essential stuff' (2008) and ‘Stuff' (2009), Kristie Miller argues that two generally accepted theses, often formulated as follows, are incompatible: - (Temporal) mereological essentialism for stuff (or matter), the thesis that any portion of stuff has the same parts at every time it exists. - Stuff composition, the thesis that for any two portions of stuff, there exists a portion of stuff that is their mereological sum (or fusion). She does this by considering competing hypotheses about stuff, trying (...) to prove inconsistency in all cases and with all corresponding understandings of mereological essentialism and stuff composition. I explain why, from an endurantist standpoint, her argument does not go through. (shrink)
The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it (...) is true, then there is an answer to one of the most difficult and intractable questions of mereology (The Simple Question). In this paper, I introduce the identity account of simplicity and argue that if SCAI is true then this identity account of simplicity is as well. I consider an objection to the identity account of simplicity. Ultimately, I find this objection unsuccessful. (shrink)
I argue that Composition as Identity blocks the plural version of Cantor's Theorem, and that therefore the plural version of Cantor's Theorem can no longer be uncritically appealed to. As an example, I show how this result blocks a recent argument by Hawthorne and Uzquiano.
This essay gives a new interpretation of Hume's second thoughts about minds in the Appendix, based on a new interpretation of his view of composition. In Book 1 of the Treatise, Hume argued that, as far as we can conceive it, a mind is a whole composed by all its perceptions. But—this essay argues—he also held that several perceptions form a whole only if the mind to which they belong supplies a “connexion” among them. In order to do so, (...) it must contain a further perception or perceptions. But when the perceptions in question are all of those belonging to a given mind—as in the section “Of personal identity” and the Appendix—there cannot be a further perception in that mind, and so those perceptions do not form a whole. Hence, Hume's views were inconsistent. This essay argues that, unlike most others, this interpretation explains his retreat to skepticism in the Appendix. (shrink)
Abstract: The 'special composition question' is this: given objects O1, . . . , On, under what conditions is there an object O, such that O1, . . . , On compose O? This paper explores a heterodox answer to this question, one that casts composition as a secondary quality. According to the approach I want to consider, there is an O that O1, . . . , On compose (roughly) just in case a normal intuiter would, under (...) normal conditions, intuit that there is. (shrink)
Whether certain objects compose a whole at a given time does not seem to depend on anything other than the character of those objects and the relations between them. This observation suggests a far-reaching constraint on theories of composition. One version of the constraint has been explicitly adopted by van Inwagen and rules out his own answer to the composition question. The constraint also rules out the other well-known moderate answers that have so far been proposed.
Dialogue semantics for logic are two-player logic games between a Proponent who puts forward a logical formula φ as valid or true and an Opponent who disputes this. An advantage of the dialogical approach is that it is a uniform framework from which different logics can be obtained through only small variations of the basic rules. We introduce the composition problem for dialogue games as the problem of resolving, for a set S of rules for dialogue games, whether the (...) set of S-dialogically valid formulas is closed under modus ponens. Solving the composition problem is fundamental for the dialogical approach to logic; despite its simplicity, it often requires an indirect solution with the help of significant logical machinery such as cut-elimination. Direct solutions to the composition problem can, however, sometimes be had. As an example, we give a set N of dialogue rules which is well-justified from the dialogical point of view, but whose set N of dialogically valid formulas is both non-trivial and non-standard. We prove that the composition problem for N can be solved directly, and introduce a tableaux system for N. (shrink)
This article argues that not all arguments from parts to wholes commit the informal logical fallacy of composition,and especially not the cosmological argument for God which moves from the contingent existence of all the parts of the cosmos to the contingent existence of the whole.
Most philosophical or scientific theories suppose that colour composition judgments refer to the way colours appear to us. The dominant view is therefore phenomenalist in the sense that colour composition is phenomenally given to perceivers. This paper argues that there is no evidence for a phenomenalist view of colour composition and that a conventionalist approach should be favoured.
A set of parameters for classifying composition operations is introduced. These parameters determine whether a composition operation is 1) universal, 2) determinate, 3) whether there is a difference between possible and actual compositions, 4) whether there can be singleton compositions, 5) whether they give rise to a hierarchy, and 6) whether components of compositions can be repeated. Philosophical implications of these parameters (in particular in relation to set theory) and mereology are discussed.
Constitution is the relation between something and what it is made of. Composition is the relation between something and its parts. I examine three different approaches to the relation between constitution and composition. One approach, associated with neo-Aristotelians like Mark Johnston and Kathrin Koslicki, identifies constitution with composition. A second, popular with those sympathetic to classical mereology such as Judith Thomson, defines constitution in terms of parthood. A third, advocated strongly by Lynne Baker, takes constitution to be (...) somehow inconsistent with relations of parthood. All of these approaches, I argue, face serious problems. I conclude, tentatively, that constitution and composition have nothing to do with each other. (shrink)
This paper defends substantivism about disputes in the metaphysics of composition. That is, it defends the view that disputes about the metaphysics of composition are substantial: they are neither merely apparent disputes in which disputants are talking past one another in virtue of disagreeing about the truth conditions for certain sentences; nor are they disputes in which there is no fact of the matter in the world in virtue of which one party to the dis-pute is right and (...) the other(s) wrong. (shrink)
I discuss a general limitative consequence of the unrestricted mereological composition thesis. The unrestricted composition thesis, which is roughly the assertion that every plurality of objects possesses a fusion or sum, is shown to be in conflict with general existence-conditions for certain categories of mereologically non-composite objects. The conclusion is that the unrestricted composition thesis, which is a maximizing principle about what aggregates exist, places sharp limits on what unaggregated items can exist.
Even if the literature on the effects of pupil composition has been extensive, no clear consensus has been reached concerning the significance and magnitude of this effect. The first objective of this article is to estimate the magnitude of the school composition effect in primary schools (6th grade) in French-speaking Belgium. Different indicators of school composition are used: academic, socio-cultural, 'language' and sex composition. Except for sex composition, the results show that the school composition (...) effect explains significant amount of between schools variance even after controlling for pupils' initial performance, socio-cultural background, and non-cognitive dispositions. The second objective is to examine covariance between school composition and several organisational variables and their joint effect on school performance. The second set of analyses is intended to question the conceptual nature of the school composition effect, establishing whether it is direct or indirect. (shrink)
According to strong composition as identity, the logical principles of one–one and plural identity can and should be extended to the relation between a whole and its parts. Otherwise, composition would not be legitimately regarded as an identity relation. In particular, several defenders of strong CAI have attempted to extend Leibniz’s Law to composition. However, much less attention has been paid to another, not less important feature of standard identity: a standard identity statement is true iff its (...) terms are coreferential. We contend that, if coreferentiality is dropped, indiscernibility is no help in making composition a genuine identity relation. To this aim, we analyse as a case study Cotnoir’s theory of general identity, in which indiscernibility is obtained thanks to a revisionary semantics and true identity statements are allowed to connect non-coreferential terms. We extend Cotnoir’s strategy for indiscernibility to the relation of comaternity, and we show that, neither in the case of composition nor in that of comaternity, indiscernibility contibutes to show that they are genuine identity relations. Finally, we compare Cotnoir’s approach with other versions of strong CAI endorsed by Wallace, Bøhn, and Hovda, and canvass the extent to which they violate coreferentiality. The comparative analysis shows that, in order to preserve coreferentiality, strong CAI is forced to adopt a non-standard semantic treatment of the singular/plural distinction. (shrink)
The idea that an utterance of a basic (nondeviant) declarative sentence expresses a single true-or-false proposition has dominated philosophical discussions of meaning in this century. Refinements aside, this idea is less of a substantive theses than it is a background assumption against which particular theories of meaning are evaluated. But there are phenomena (noted by Frege, Strawson, and Grice) that threaten at least the completeness of classical theories of meaning, which associate with an utterance of a simple sentence a truth-condition, (...) a Russellian proposition, or a Fregean thought. And it may well be the case that a framework within which utterances express sequences of propositions provides much of what is needed to account for the relevant phenomena, a better overall picture of the way language works, and an enticingly uniform perspective on a variety of semantic problems. I do not myself take to theories that multiply propositions by appealing to propositions “presupposed” or to pairs of Fregean and Russellian propositions, or theories that show no respect for a distinction between semantics and pragmatics— where the former is the study of propositions whose general form and character is determined by word meaning and syntax—or for theories that blithely abandon general principles of composition and semantic innocence. I would like to sketch a package based on four interconnected ideas: (i) the meaning of an individual word is a sequence of instructions for generating a sequence of propositions (in conjunction with compositional instructions (syntax) and elements of context); (ii) utterances themselves are not bearers of truth or falsity; (iii) judgements of truth, falsity, commitment, and conflict are shaped, in part, by the weights attached to individual 1 propositions that occur in sequences expressed by utterances, weights that may be set (and reset) by contextual considerations; (iv) Fregean senses are superfluous; propositions might as well be Russellian (Mont Blanc and all its snow fields will do as well as any mode of presentation).. (shrink)
This paper concerns how rule-following behavior might evolve in the context of a variety of Skyrms–Lewis signaling game (Lewis, Convention, 1969; Skyrms, Signals evolution, learning, & information 2010), how such rules might subsequently evolve to be used in new contexts, and how such appropriation allows for the composition of evolved rules. We will also consider how the composition of simpler rules to form more complex rules may be significantly more efficient than evolving the complex rules directly. And we (...) will review an example of rule following by pinyon and scrub jays (Bond et al., Anim Behav 65:476–487, 2003) as an illustration of the appropriation of a rule to a new context (Barrett, Biol Theory 8(2):142–150, 2013a; Barrett, Philos Sci, 2014). The proposal here is that the composition of rules might occur in a way that is precisely analogous to such simple appropriation. Finally, we will briefly consider how any finite truth-functional operation might evolve by the sequential appropriation of simpler rules. (shrink)
Correspondence analysis of 28 proteomes selected to span the entire realm of prokaryotes revealed universal biases in the proteins’ amino acid distribution. Integral Inner Membrane Proteins always form an individual cluster, which can then be used to predict protein localisation in unknown proteomes, independently of the organism’s biotope or kingdom. Orphan proteins are consistently rich in aromatic residues. Another bias is also ubiquitous: the amino acid composition is driven by the GþC content of the first codon position. An unexpected (...) bias is driven, in many proteomes, by the AANbox of the genetic code, suggesting some functional biochemical relationship between asparagine and lysine. Less-significant biases are driven by the rare amino acids, cysteine and tryptophan. Some allow identification of species-specific functions or localisation such as surface or exported proteins. Errors in genome annotations are also revealed by correspondence analysis, making it useful for quality control and correction. (shrink)
In this paper, I focus on a recent debate in extended cognition known as “cognitive assembly” and how cognitive assembly shares a certain kinship with the special composition question advanced in analytical metaphysics. Both the debate about cognitive assembly and the special composition question ask about the circumstances under which entities compose or assemble another entity. The paper argues for two points. The first point is that insofar as the metaphysics of composition presupposes that composition is (...) a synchronic relation of dependence, then that presupposition is inconsistent with the temporal dynamics inherent in the process of cognitive assembly. The second point is that by developing a diachronic or temporally dynamic ontology for understanding the phenomenon of cognitive assembly, this lends support for a third wave of extended cognition. (shrink)
The first part of the paper aims at showing that the notion of an Aristotelian square may be seen as a special case of a variety of different more general notions: the one of a subAristotelian square, the one of a semiAristotelian square, the one of an Aristotelian cube, which is a construction made up of six semiAristotelian squares, two of which are Aristotelian. Furthermore, if the standard Aristotelian square is seen as a special ordered 4-tuple of formulas, there are (...) 4-tuples describing rotations of the original square which are non-standard Aristotelian squares. The second part of the paper focuses on the notion of a composition of squares. After a discussion of possible alternative definitions, a privileged notion of composition of squares is identified, thus opening the road to introducing and discussing the wider notion of composition of cubes. (shrink)
This paper provides evidence and arguments that, given the choice of teaching critical thinking and written composition as separate, stand-alone courses or combining them, the two should be combined into an integrated sequence.
A growing body of research has demonstrated significant heterogeneity of hospital ethics committee (HEC) size, membership and training requirements, length of appointment, institutional support, clinical and policy roles, and predictors of self identified success. Because these studies have focused on HECs at a single point in time, however, little is known about how the composition of HECs changes over time and what impact these changes have on committee utilization. The current study presents 20 years of data on the evolution (...) of the Massachusetts General Hospital HEC. Between 1993 and 2012, the average number of committee members per year was 38 ± 3 and the average length of membership was 4.8 ± 0.4 years. During that time, the committee performed 934 consults, averaging 47 ± 3 per year. Attendance rates fell from 61.5 to 23.8 % over the study period and were inversely correlated with the total number of members. Between 1993 and 2012, the committee saw substantial growth in the diversity of the professional backgrounds of its members. Multivariate analysis, however, suggests that substantial changes in committee composition did not impact its utilization and that other factors are more likely to explain fluctuations in consultation volume. (shrink)
Let’s begin with a simple example. Consider two quarks: one near the tip of your nose, the other near the center of Alpha Centauri. Here is a question about these two subatomic particles: Is there an object that has these two quarks as its parts and that has no other parts? According to one view of the matter (a view that is surprisingly endorsed by a great many contemporary philosophers), the answer to this question is Yes. But I think it (...) is fair to say that according to common sense, the answer to this question is really No, there is no object that has as its only two parts a quark near the tip of your nose and another quark near the center of Alpha Centauri. (shrink)
On the grounds that there are no mereological composites, mereological nihilists deny that ordinary objects exist. Even if nihilism is true, however, I argue that tables and chairs exist anyway: for I deny that ordinary objects are the mereological sums the nihilist rejects. Instead, I argue, ordinary objects have a different nature; they are arrangements, not composites. My argument runs as follows. First, I defend realism about ordinary objects by showing that there is something that plays the role of ordinary (...) objects in perception and discourse, and that ordinary objects are whatever plays this role. Next, I argue that it is arrangements that play this role. It follows that ordinary objects exist- even if mereological nihilism is true. (shrink)
In this article, I am interested in an issue concerning eliminativism about ordinary objects that can be put as the claim that the eliminativist is guilty of postulating the existence of something (atoms arranged tablewise) but not of something that is identical to it (the table). But, as we will see, this turns out to be a problem for everybody except the eliminativist. Indeed, this issue highlights a more general problem about the relationship between an entity and the parts the (...) compose it. Furthermore, I am not interested in this issue only for its own sake and for the sake of understanding and defending eliminativism, but also for the way it allows me to discuss the differences and relationships there are between eliminativism and reductionism. What a difference does it make to eliminate an entity or to reduce it to something else? (shrink)
Traditionally, the structure of a language is revealed by constructing an appropriate theory of meaning for that language, which exhibits how – and whether – the meaning of sentences in the language depends upon the meaning of their parts. In this paper, I argue that whether – and how – what pictures represent depends on what their parts represent should likewise by revealed by the construction of appropriate theories of representation for the symbol system of those pictures. This generalisation, I (...) argue, reveals a much cited disanalogy between depiction and description is illusory: the structure of pictures, like language, is compositional. (shrink)