On relativist approaches to many-one identity

Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4453-4465 (2018)
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Composition as identity is the view that a whole is identical to its parts taken collectively. Such a view raises the question of how the same portion of reality can be both one thing and many things. A primitivist view holds that there is no explanation to be had and that we simply need to accept that being one thing and being many things are compatible. One might think that we can do better by resorting to relativization. A relativist view may seem to explain how the same portion of reality can be both one thing and many things on the basis of the assumption that the portion of reality is these ways relative to different ‘concepts’ or ‘counts’. This paper discusses whether relativization truly leads to a satisfactory explanation of how something can be both one thing and many things. The conclusion will be that, when we consider the current accounts of the involved parameters, these relativizations make no explanatory progress.



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Martin A. Lipman
Leiden University

Citations of this work

Counting Composites.Jonathan D. Payton - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (4):695-710.
Composition as Identity and the Innocence of Mereology.Roberto Loss - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 105 (1):128-143.
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New Work For a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - In D. H. Mellor & Alex Oliver (eds.), Properties. Oxford University Press.

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