Review of Trenton Merricks, Objects and Persons [Book Review]

Mind 113 (449):195–198 (2001)
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Many otherwise reasonable philosophers are impatient with ontology. These philosophers will probably have little time for Objects and Persons, which claims that while there do exist “atoms arranged statuewise”, there do not exist statues; while there do exist atoms arranged tablewise and atoms arranged chairwise, there exist no tables and chairs. Though I join these philosophers, at the end of the day, in rejecting Merricks’s claims, that day is long, whereas they want a quick verdict. But why? Do our impatient friends think that Merricks’s claims are contradictory, analytically false, or otherwise conceptually incoherent? They may say that the conventional meaning of “there exists a statue” is “there exist atoms arranged statuewise”, but this does not stand up to scrutiny. Someone could, of course, just decide to mean such a thing by “there exists a statue”, but then her pronouncements would be irrelevant to Merricks, who intends to be using a..



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Theodore Sider
Rutgers University - New Brunswick

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