Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles about Material Objects

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):842-868 (2018)
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Abstract

Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the solutions to the new puzzles apply just as well to the old puzzles, the old puzzles provide no motivation to be a mereological nihilist.

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Bradley Rettler
University of Wyoming

Citations of this work

Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Object.Bradley Rettler & Andrew M. Bailey - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 1.
Generic Animalism.Andrew M. Bailey & Peter van Elswyk - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (8):405-429.
Quantum Gravity and Mereology: Not So Simple.Sam Baron & Baptiste Le Bihan - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (1):19-40.
Why Composition Matters.Andrew M. Bailey & Andrew Brenner - 2020 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (8):934-949.

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References found in this work

Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1996 - New York: Routledge.
Material beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Dana Zemack.
On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (3):388-390.
Material Beings.Peter Van Inwagen - 1990 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

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