Plurals and complexes

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (3):411-443 (2000)
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Abstract

Atomism denies that complexes exist. Common-sense metaphysics may posit masses, composite individuals and sets, but atomism says there are only simples. In a singularist logic, it is difficult to make a plausible case for atomism. But we should accept plural logic, and then atomism can paraphrase away apparent reference to complexes. The paraphrases require unfamiliar plural universals, but these are of independent interest; for example, we can identify numbers and sets with plural universals. The atomist paraphrases would fail if plurals presuppose complexes: but an Appendix shows that reference to complexes is not required in the semantics of plurals.

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Keith Hossack
Birkbeck College

Citations of this work

Mereology.Achille C. Varzi - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Toward a Commonsense Answer to the Special Composition Question.Chad Carmichael - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):475-490.
Plural quantification.Ø Linnebo - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
The problems of philosophy.Bertrand Russell - 1912 - New York: Barnes & Noble.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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