Parts as counterparts
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Mereological nihilists are faced with a difficult challenge: explaining ordinary talk about material objects. Popular paraphrase strategies involve plurals, arrangements of particles, or fictions. In this paper, a new paraphrase strategy is put forward that has distinct advantages over its rivals: it is compatible with gunk and emergent properties of macro-objects. The only assumption is a commitment to a liberal view of the nature of simples; the nihilist must be willing to accept the possibility of heterogeneous extended simples. The author suggests reinterpreting the parthood and composition relations as modal. According to this paraphrase, composition is a kind of counterpart relation. The author shows that one can accept that mereological nihilism is metaphysically necessary, while endorsing all the claims of classical mereology. As a result, the nihilists are in exactly the same position as the classical mereologist when it comes to explaining talk about ordinary objects, but without the additional ontology.
Cotnoir , A 2013 , ' Parts as counterparts ' Thought: A Journal of Philosophy , vol 2 , no. 3 , pp. 228-241 . DOI: 10.1002/tht3.78
Thought: A Journal of Philosophy
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Cotnoir, A. J. (2013), Parts as counterparts. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, 2: 228–24, which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/tht3.78/abstract. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving
Date of Acceptance: 22/10/2013