An epistemological problem for minimalist views about composition

Synthese 199 (3-4):9649-9668 (2021)
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Some philosophers accept what I call minimalist views about composition. They either deny that composition ever occurs, or they only allow that composition occurs when some things are taken up into a life. While minimalists often take their views to be somewhat revisionary, they usually want to distinguish their views from truly radical views such as the view that there is no external world at all. They often do this by noting that, although they don’t believe that there are tables, chairs, or planets, they do believe that there are mereological simples arranged tablewise, chairwise, and planetwise. In this paper, I appeal to the nature of perceptual experience to present a problem for this move. I contend that, given some plausible assumptions, compositional minimalists cannot consistently maintain that they are justified in their minimalism and justified in believing propositions about the arrangements of mereological simples. I will argue that this commits such minimalists to external world skepticism.



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Dean Da Vee
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind.Paul M. Churchland - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Physicalism, or Something Near Enough.Jaegwon Kim - 2005 - Princeton University Press.
Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind.Paul M. Churchland (ed.) - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Dana Zemack.

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