On the Properties of Composite Objects


What are the properties of composite objects, and how do the properties of composite objects and the properties of their proper parts relate to one another? The answers to these questions depend upon which view of composition one adopts. One view, which I call the orthodox view, is that composite objects are numerically distinct from their proper parts, individually and collectively. Another view, known as composition as identity, is that composite objects are numerically identical to their proper parts, taken together. I argue that the orthodox view entails that the intuitive picture of composite objects and their properties that most accept is false. Not so for composition as identity. I also show that all of the available alternatives face serious difficulties. This puts composition as identity at an advantage over the orthodox view, at least when it comes to accounting for the properties of composite objects.



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Michael J. Duncan
University of Sydney

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Extrinsic properties.David Lewis - 1983 - Philosophical Studies 44 (2):197-200.

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