Jan Claas
University of Vienna
Philosophers often rely on the notion of conceptual containment and apply mereological terminology when they talk about the parts or constituents of a complex concept. In this paper, I explore two historical approaches to this general notion. In particular, I reconstruct objections Bernard Bolzano puts forward against a criterion that played a prominent role in the history of philosophy and that was endorsed, among others, by Leibniz. According to this criterion, a concept that represents objects contains all and only the concepts that represent properties the objects must have in order to be represented by the former concept. Bolzano offers several counterexamples and arguments against the criterion. I argue that while some of them presuppose a strongly mereological understanding of containment, which Leibniz is not committed to, one of them also succeeds without relying on demanding mereological principles.
Keywords Leibniz  Bolzano  Concepts  Containment  Mereology
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Reprint years 2021
DOI 10.1111/ejop.12697
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