According to Lewis, mereology is the general and exhaustive theory of ontological composition (mereological monism), and every contingent feature of the world supervenes upon some fundamental properties instantiated by minimal entities (Humean supervenience). A profound analogy can be drawn between these two basic contentions of his metaphysics, namely that both can be intended as a denial of emergentism. In this essay, we study the relationships between Humean supervenience and two philosophical spin-offs of mereological monism: the possibility of gunk and the thesis of composition as identity. In a gunky scenario, there are no atoms and, thus, some criteria alternative to mereological atomicity must be introduced in order to identify the bearers of fundamental properties; this introduction creates a precedent, which renders the restriction of the additional criteria to gunky scenarios arbitrary. On the other hand, composition as identity either extends the principle of indiscernibility of identicals to composition or is forced to replace indiscernibility with a surrogate; both alternatives lead to the postulation of a symmetric kind of supervenience which, in contrast to Humean supervenience, does not countenance a privileged level. Both gunk and composition as identity, thus, display a tension with Humean supervenience.

Mereological monism and Humean supervenience

LANDO, Giorgio
2016

Abstract

According to Lewis, mereology is the general and exhaustive theory of ontological composition (mereological monism), and every contingent feature of the world supervenes upon some fundamental properties instantiated by minimal entities (Humean supervenience). A profound analogy can be drawn between these two basic contentions of his metaphysics, namely that both can be intended as a denial of emergentism. In this essay, we study the relationships between Humean supervenience and two philosophical spin-offs of mereological monism: the possibility of gunk and the thesis of composition as identity. In a gunky scenario, there are no atoms and, thus, some criteria alternative to mereological atomicity must be introduced in order to identify the bearers of fundamental properties; this introduction creates a precedent, which renders the restriction of the additional criteria to gunky scenarios arbitrary. On the other hand, composition as identity either extends the principle of indiscernibility of identicals to composition or is forced to replace indiscernibility with a surrogate; both alternatives lead to the postulation of a symmetric kind of supervenience which, in contrast to Humean supervenience, does not countenance a privileged level. Both gunk and composition as identity, thus, display a tension with Humean supervenience.
Mereological monism, Humean supervenience, Composition as identity, Gunk, Indiscernibility of identicals, David Lewis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/61540
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