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The ontological parsimony of mereology

Smid, Jeroen LU (2015) In Philosophical Studies 172(12). p.3253-3271
Abstract
David Lewis (Parts of classes, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 1991, 84) famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object is not an extra ontological commitment, made in addition to the commitment to the object; and that if the parts of an object are ‘ontologically innocent’, then sums... (More)
David Lewis (Parts of classes, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 1991, 84) famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object is not an extra ontological commitment, made in addition to the commitment to the object; and that if the parts of an object are ‘ontologically innocent’, then sums cannot fail to be innocent either. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Mereology, Parthood, Composition, Ontological Commitment, Ontological Innocence.
in
Philosophical Studies
volume
172
issue
12
pages
3253 - 3271
publisher
Springer Netherlands
external identifiers
  • wos:000364022900009
  • scopus:84945485471
ISSN
0031-8116
DOI
10.1007/s11098-015-0468-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ce147147-aad8-42cd-b123-35ff0d1e5eea (old id 5148697)
alternative location
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11098-015-0468-3
date added to LUP
2015-03-05 13:24:06
date last changed
2017-09-10 04:03:11
@article{ce147147-aad8-42cd-b123-35ff0d1e5eea,
  abstract     = {David Lewis (Parts of classes, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, 1991, 84) famously argued that mereology is ontologically innocent. Many who have considered this claim believe he was mistaken. Mereology is not innocent, because its acceptance entails the acceptance of sums, new objects that were not previously part of one’s ontology. This argument, the argument from ontological parsimony, has two versions: a qualitative and a quantitative one. I argue that the defender of mereology can neutralize both arguments by holding that, given mereology, a commitment to the parts of an object is not an extra ontological commitment, made in addition to the commitment to the object; and that if the parts of an object are ‘ontologically innocent’, then sums cannot fail to be innocent either.},
  author       = {Smid, Jeroen},
  issn         = {0031-8116},
  keyword      = {Mereology,Parthood,Composition,Ontological Commitment,Ontological Innocence.},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {12},
  pages        = {3253--3271},
  publisher    = {Springer Netherlands},
  series       = {Philosophical Studies},
  title        = {The ontological parsimony of mereology},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11098-015-0468-3},
  volume       = {172},
  year         = {2015},
}