In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of materialobjects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in the object’s bundle. We have a different story to tell about accidental property possession. This move reaps many benefits. Essential (...) bundle theory delivers a simple theory of the essential properties of materialobjects; an explanation of how object coincidence can arise; an actual-world ground for modal differences between coincident objects; a simple story about intrinsic properties; and a plausible account of certain ubiquitous cases of causal overdetermination. (shrink)
Higher animals need to identify and track materialobjects because they depend on interactions with them for nutrition, reproduction, and social interaction. This paper investigates the perception of materialobjects. It argues, first, that materialobjects are tagged, in all five external senses, as bearers of the features detected by them. This happens through a perceptual process, here entitled Generalized Completion, which creates the appearance of objects that have properties that transcend the activation (...) of sensory receptors. The paper shows, secondly, that materialobjects are privileged subjects for perceived motion and interaction. That is, they are perceived as subjects for these properties while their parts seem to be subjects only derivatively. Materialobjects are the only perceptual subjects that are both multisensory and privileged. (shrink)
A modus tollens against zero-dimensional materialobjects is presented from the premises (i) that if there are zero-dimensional materialobjects then there are bare particulars, and (ii) that there are no bare particulars. The argument for the first premise proceeds by elimination. First, bare particular theory and bundle theory are motivated as the most appealing theories of property exemplification. It is then argued that the bundle theorist’s Ockhamism ought to lead her to reject spatiotemporally located zero-dimensional (...) property instances. Finally, it is argued that since she must accept such instances if she accepts zero-dimensional material object bundles, she ought to avoid the latter. This leaves bare particular theory as the default view of zero-dimensional materialobjects. The argument for the second premise invokes the thesis that the exemplification of at least one sparse property is a prerequisite for the existence of any particular. It is argued from Humean considerations that bare particulars fail this prerequisite. (shrink)
This article offers a novel solution to the problem of material constitution: by including non-concrete objects among the parts of materialobjects, we can avoid having a statue and its constituent piece of clay composed of all the same proper parts. Non-concrete objects—objects that aren’t concrete, but possibly are—have been used in defense of the claim that everything necessarily exists. But the account offered shows that non-concreta are independently useful in other domains as well. (...) The resulting view falls under a ‘nonmaterial partist’ class of views that includes, in particular, Laurie Paul’s and Kathrin Koslicki’s constitution views; ones where materialobjects have properties or structures as parts respectively. The article gives reasons for preferring the non-concretist solution over these other non-material partist views and defends it against objections. (shrink)
This book describes the development of Proust's treatment of materialobjects from his earliest work Les Plaisirs et les jours to his mature novel À la recherche du temps perdu. It examines the literary influences on Proust's way with objects in the light of certain critical texts and reconsiders the significance of Ruskin. As the movement from unreflective and spontaneous representation to a meta-narrative of consciousness is traced, some questions as to the banality of the 'banal object' (...) arise. The meta-narrative finds resonance in a peculiarly Proustian pictoriality which has been largely unnoticed. It resides in descriptions where objects appear simultaneously or at different times as things in paintings and in the real. By exploring connections between Proust's pictoriality and his reflections on 'matière' and 'surface', the author suggests a radical approach to the modernism of À la recherche du temps perdu. (shrink)
This article strongly argues the priority of symbolic, especially discursive, action over the material order in the genesis of social things. What turns a piece of stuff into a social object is its embedment in a narrative construction. The attribution of an active or a passive role to things in relation to persons is thus essentially story-relative: nothing happens or exists in the social world unless it is framed by human performative activity. Drawing on Gibson's notion of `affordance', Harré (...) affirms that material things may be disposed towards many different usages, and may acquire multiple identities according to different narrative constructions, even though the range of their possible `existences' is constrained by certain material features. Objects acquire their full significance only if one takes account of their double role in both the `practical' order, which includes social arrangements for maintaining life, and the `expressive' order, which creates hierarchies of honour and status, and which enjoys priority over the former. Reasoning from a microsociological constructionist perspective, Harré restates his view that there is nothing else to social life but symbolic exchanges and joint management of meaning, including the meaning of things; the illusion that some thing is real is merely an effect of certain interpretational grammars which remain stable across the generations or even the centuries. (shrink)
According to the traditional presentation of Bohm's interpretation, we have immediate epistemic access to particle properties but not wavefunction properties, and mental states, pointer states, and ink patterns supervene on particle properties alone. I argue that these claims do not make physical sense, and I offer an alternative account that does.
How does material culture matter for institutions? Materialobjects are increasingly prominent in sociological research, but current studies offer limited insight for how materialobjects matter to institutional processes. We build on sociological insights to theorize aesthetic style, a shared pattern of material object presence and usage among a cluster of organizations in an institutional field. We use formal relational methods and a survey of materialobjects from religious congregations to uncover the (...) aesthetic styles that are part of the “logics of god” in the United States’ Christian religious field. We argue aesthetic styles help structure an institutional field by spanning objects’ meanings across space and time, stabilizing objects’ authority, and demarcating symbolic boundaries. Our research provides a conceptual tool for understanding how objects bridge the material and symbolic dimensions of institutions and a methodological example for examining the meaning of objects across numerous organizations in an institutional field. (shrink)
Jeffrey E. Brower presents and explains the hylomorphic conception of the material world developed by Thomas Aquinas, according to which materialobjects are composed of both matter and form. In addition to presenting and explaining Aquinas's views, Brower seeks wherever possible to bring them into dialogue with the best recent literature on related topics. Along the way, he highlights the contribution that Aquinas's views make to a host of contemporary metaphysical debates, including the nature of change, composition, (...)material constitution, the ontology of stuff vs. things, the proper analysis of ordinary objects, the truthmakers for essential vs. accidental predication, and the metaphysics of property possession. (shrink)
I argue that metaphysical views of materialobjects should be understood as 'packages', rather than individual claims, where the other parts of the package include how the theory addresses 'recalcitant data', and that when the packages meet certain general desiderata - which all of the currently competing views *can* meet - there is nothing in the world that could make one of the theories true as opposed to any of the others.
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 materialobjects – 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. (shrink)
This Element is a survey of central topics in the metaphysics of materialobjects. The topics are grouped into four problem spaces. The first concerns how an object's parts are related to the object's existence and to the object's nature, or essence. The second concerns how an object persists through time, how an object is located in spacetime, and how an object changes. The third concerns paradoxes about objects, including paradoxes of coincidence, paradoxes of fission, and the (...) problem of the many. The fourth concerns views with radical consequences regarding the existence of composite materialobjects, including mereological nihilism, ontological anti-realism, and deflationism. (shrink)
Hylomorphism is a metaphysical theory that accounts for the unity of the material parts of composite objects by appeal to a structure or ‘form’ characterizing those parts. I argue that hylomorphism is not merely a plausible or appealing solution to problems of material composition, but a position entailed by any coherent metaphysics of ordinary materialobjects. In fact, not only does hylomorphism have Aristotelian defenders, but it has had independent lives in both East and West. (...) -/- I review three contemporary hylomorphic theories appeal to ‘structure’ to explain the unity of materialobjects. Each, however, accepts a controversial principle: that substances can have other substances as proper parts. Such a principle is implausible and severely threatens the coherence of the theory. -/- I begin by showing that Thomas Aquinas’ account of form, which does not accept that substances can have other substances as parts, gives us a more coherent version of hylomorphism. Then I argue Zhu Xi, a Song dynasty Confucian thinker, developed a non-Aristotelian hylomorphism. Unlike Aristotelians, Zhu Xi’s metaphysics was formed in opposition to Buddhist versions of skepticism and gives us reasons to think that anyone who holds a view of objects stronger than Buddhists is committed to forms. In conclusion, I show directly, by appeal to some of those same considerations from Zhu Xi, why it is that all those who believe there are unified materialobjects will appeal to something like a substantial form. The traditional hylomorphic picture of material composition, then, remains a plausible framework for contemporary metaphysicians – and for good reason. (shrink)
Arguments for substance dualism—the theory that we are at least partly non-material beings—abound. Many such arguments begin with our capacity to engage in conscious thought and end with dualism. Such are familiar. But there is another route to dualism. It begins with our moral value and ends with dualism. In this article, we develop and assess the prospects for this new style of argument. We show that, though one extant version of the argument does not succeed, there may yet (...) be a deep problem for standard physical accounts of our nature. (shrink)
It is sometimes claimed that ordinary objects, such as mountains and chairs, are not material in their own right, but only in virtue of the fact that they are constituted by matter. As Fine puts it, they are “onlyderivatively material”. In this paper I argue that invoking “constitution” to account for the materiality of things that are not material in their own right explains nothing and renders the admission that these objects are indeed material (...) completely mysterious. Although there may be metaphysical contexts in which mysterianism can be accepted with equanimity, I further argue, the question of the materiality of quotidian objects is not one of them. (shrink)
The chapter has four parts. In the first, I argue that we can be justified in believing that there are mind-independent materialobjects only if we can be justified in believing that modal properties are exemplified in at least some of the regions of space-time that we take to be occupied by materialobjects. In the second, I argue that we can be justified in believing that modal properties are exemplified in a region only if we (...) can be justified in classificatory judgments--judgments like 'this region contains an F', where 'F' is a name for a natural kind and furthermore constitutes a metaphysically better answer to the question, "What kind of object is in that region?" than any name for any other kind. In the third part, I dismiss as failures three views about how naturalists might be able to be justified in classificatory judgments. I consider a fourth which presupposes that, if there are materialobjects, then we are justified in believing that science reveals some of them to have proper functions; and I note that if this fourth proposal fails, there is good reason to think that any other proposal will as well. In the final section I argue that this fourth proposal does indeed fail by showing that there are materialobjects, science does not reveal any of them to have proper functions. If I am right, and if (as seems plausible) we are justified in believing that there exist mind-independent materialobjects (e.g. people), then we ought to reject naturalism. (shrink)
Like Kant, the German Idealists, and many neo-Kantian philosophers before him, Nietzsche was persistently concerned with metaphysical questions about the nature of objects. His texts often address questions concerning the existence and non-existence of objects, the relation of objects to human minds, and how different views of objects significantly impact various commitments in many areas of philosophy—not just metaphysics, but also semantics, epistemology, science, logic and mathematics, and even ethics. This book presents a systematic and comprehensive (...) analysis of Nietzsche’s material object metaphysics. Remhof argues that Nietzsche embraces the controversial _constructivist_ view that all concrete objects are socially constructed. Reading Nietzsche as a constructivist, Remhof contends, provides fresh insight into Nietzsche's views on truth, science, naturalism, and nihilism. Remhof investigates how Nietzsche’s view of objects compares with similar views offered by influential American pragmatists, and explores the implications of Nietzsche’s constructivism for debates in contemporary material object metaphysics. _Nietzsche’s Constructivism _is a highly original and timely contribution to the steadily growing literature on Nietzsche’s thought. (shrink)
In classroom teaching, materialobjects like the blackboard play an important role. Yet qualitative research on education has largely ignored this material dimension of education and focused on interaction and discourse. Both dimensions are, however, closely related to each other. Materialobjects are embedded in classroom discourse and are transformed into knowledge objects by speech acts, and in turn structure discussions and constitute a point of reference for school lessons. Drawing on ethnographic research on (...) classroom lessons in mathematics and science classes in German high schools, we propose a perspective that recognizes both the materiality of teaching and its interactive dimension. (shrink)
[First paragraph] For a long time philosophers thought materialobjects were unproblematic. Or nearly so. There may have been a problem about what a material object is: a substance, a bundle of tropes, a compound of substratum and universals, a collection of sense-data, or what have you. But once that was settled there were supposed to be no further metaphysical problems about materialobjects. This illusion has now largely been dispelled. No one can get a (...) Ph.D. in philosophy nowadays without encountering the puzzles of the ship of Theseus, the statue and the lump, the cat and its tail complement', amoebic fission, and others. These problems are especially pressing on the assumption that we ourselves are materialobjects. (shrink)
Recently, archaeologists have been focusing on material relies as evidence of a historical consciousness. This article examines the Iliad and the Odyssey from the point of view of this 'archaeology of the past'. Various materialobjects, ranging from tombs to everyday objects, evoke the past in the epic poems, thereby enriching the narrative and providing reflections on the act of memory. In turn, Homeric evidence sheds new light on the hermeneutics of relies in archaic oral society.
Chapter 1: “Ordinary Objects and the Argument from Strange Concepts.” Chapter 2: “Restricted Composition Without Sharp Cut-Offs.” Chapter 3: “Three Solutions to the Grounding Problem for Coincident Objects.” Chapter 4: “Ordinary Objects Without Overdetermination.” Chapter 5: “Eliminativism and the Challenge from Folk Belief.” Chapter 6: “Unrestricted Composition and Restricted Quantification.”.
1. The spatial perception requirementCassam surveys arguments for what he calls the ‘Spatial Perception Requirement’ . This is the following principle: " SPR: In order to perceive that something is the case and thereby to know that it is the case one must be capable of spatial perception. " A couple of preliminary glosses. By ‘spatial perception’ Cassam means either perception of location, or perception of specifically spatial properties of an object, such as its size and shape. Second, Cassam takes (...) it that there is something basic about cases in which one's perceiving that something is the case depends on perception of an object. That is, he takes it that there is something basic about such cases as that in which, for example, you perceive that the door is open by perceiving the door.On this second point, it is not quite obvious that one could not perceive that things are thus and so if one could not perceive materialobjects. Cannot someone lost in fog, for example, perceive that it is foggy, even if they cannot see a thing because of the fog? Moreover, suppose we have someone who cannot perceive that things are thus and so. This person has only a series of sensations. Is it obvious that this person could not come to have knowledge of their world by reasoning about the probable causes of those sensations? These points seem to me to have some interest, but I will not pursue them here. I will assume we are considering cases in which propositional knowledge is grounded in perception that such and such is the case, and that this in turn depends on perception of objects.One sort of argument you might give for SPR runs as follows. Perception of an object demands that you have perceptually differentiated the object from its …. (shrink)
This article compares two cultures of engineering design, one flexible and interactive, the other rigid and hierarchical. It examines the practices of design engineers who use a mixture of paper documents and computer graphics systems and contrasts these with the practices of workers reengineering their own work process and its technological support system, using predesigned software. Based on the idea from actor network theory that objects participate in the shaping of new technologies and the networks that build them, the (...) study reveals that design cultures are intrinsically tied to the way in which their representations are constructed because such representations—sketches, drawings, prototypes—are the heart of design work; such design tools can engage or restrict participation in the design process; politics in the form of management prerogatives can be built into a design tool, influencing the range of creativity allowed and innovation accomplished in a given sociotechnological setting. (shrink)
I present a new theory of the composition of materialobjects. An important component of it is the claim that objects have non-concrete objects as parts. A non-concrete object is an object that lacks many of the features that concrete objects typically have—size, shape, mass, location, causal abilities, etc.—but yet is unlike typical abstract objects since a non-concrete object could have those features. This is an ontology defended by Timothy Williamson, but I employ it (...) in a new manner to solve problems in the metaphysics of materialobjects. Specifically, I think it allows us to improve upon the Worm Theory, which claims that objects persist through time by having temporal parts. One main argument for Worm Theory is that it can preserve the principle that no two objects can share all the same proper parts. This is a principle that I think is intuitively gripping, but that I also argue for. Worm Theory therefore is to be preferred to the more ‘commonsensical’ Endurantist view on which objects are ‘wholly present’ at each moment at which they exist; the reason being that Endurantism gives the result that objects—like a statue and the clay it’s made out of—share all the same proper parts. By instead claiming that such objects also have temporal parts, Worm Theory manages to avoid this bad result for particular cases. The problem, however, is that it can’t avoid that result for all cases. We can easily imagine cases in which a statue and the clay from which it is made come into and out of existence at the exact same times. Thus the objects would not differ even with respect to their temporal parts. The view that I advance instead claims that objects must have something like modal parts. Thus we could say that since there is a possible world in which the clay exists without the statue, they do not completely overlap with respect to their modal parts. And so we avoid the bad result for all cases. The problem, however, is that there are no such things as objects that don’t actually exist. Hence, there couldn’t be such modal parts. Nonetheless, we can get something like modal parts by holding that such things actually exist, but are simply not actually concrete. Thus, the ‘pieces of clay in other worlds’ do actually exist, but they are not actually pieces of clay. They are non-concrete objects that could be pieces of clay. So even in a case where the clay and statue are created and destroyed at the same times, they differ with respect to their non-concrete parts. I call this the LED Theory because objects resemble LED display boards: just as the board is composed of numerous lights, each of which can be on or off, so objects are composed of numerous parts, each of which can be concrete or non-concrete. The paper provides further defense of this view and response to objections. (shrink)
In this paper I present and critically discuss Simon Evnine’s account of hylomorphically complex objects (as presented in his 2016 book Making Objects and Events). On the one hand, I object to the account he gives of how artifacts (which are for him the paradigmatic cases of hylomorphically complex objects) allegedly acquire their existence and identity conditions. I elaborate on two problems I see for this account: first, that it seems unable to explain our knowledge of the (...) kinds to which artifacts belong; second, that it cannot offer a plausible solution to the grounding problem for coincident objects. I also object to the way in which he tries to adapt the sort of account he gave for artifacts to the case of organisms (in my view this fails because both cases are dissimilar at crucial points), and finally I also object to his attempt to extend that account, in a fictional way, to the case of natural non-organic objects (as I try to show, both his arguments to the effect that there are no such objects, and his positive fictionalist proposal to account for our talk about them, are flawed). (shrink)
An under-explored intermediate position between traditional materialism and traditional idealism is the view that although the spatiotemporal world is purely material, minds nonetheless have a metaphysically special place in it. One way this can be is via a special role that subjects have in the metaphysics of materialobjects. Some metaphysical aspect of materialobjects might require the existence of subjects. This would support that minds must exist if materialobjects exist and thus (...) that a mindless material world is impossible. This view, labeled the subjectivity thesis by Anton Friedrich Koch, was defended by him with an intriguing, purely metaphysical argument connected to the individuation of materialobjects in space and time. The present paper hopes to make progress on assessing the viability of such a position. It starts by critically examining Koch's argument for the subjectivity thesis, as well as similar arguments that give minds a central place in the metaphysics of materialobjects via considerations about identity and difference. It then compares these ideas to similar ones in the philosophy of time, and concludes with an outlook on whether such a position is viable and what needs to be done to fill the gaps unearthed along the way. (shrink)
I offer a mereological bundle of universals theory of materialobjects. The theory says that objects are identical to fusions of immanent universals at regions of space. Immanent universals are in the objects that instantiate them, and they can be wholly located at many regions of space. The version of the bundle theory I offer explains these characteristics of immanent universals, and it captures the instantiation relation in terms of the part-whole relation. The version of the (...) theory I offer is simpler and more unified than other mereological bundle theories. Yet, it is not as encompassing as other versions. For I suppose throughout that space is a particular substance, but not a bundle of properties. (shrink)