, Volume 20, Issue 2–3, pp 209–227 | Cite as

Structural Universals as Structural Parts: Toward a General Theory of Parthood and Composition

  • Thomas MormannEmail author
Original Paper


David Lewis famously argued against structural universals since they allegedly required what he called a composition “sui generis” that differed from standard mereological composition. In this paper it is shown that, although traditional Boolean mereology does not describe parthood and composition in its full generality, a better and more comprehensive theory is provided by the foundational theory of categories. In this category-theoretical framework a theory of structural universals can be formulated that overcomes the conceptual difficulties that Lewis and his followers regarded as unsurmountable. As a concrete example of structural universals groups are considered in some detail.


Structural mereology Structural parts Structural universals Groups Categories 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Lógica y Filosofía de la CienciaUniversidad del País Vasco, UPV/EHUSan SebastiánSpain

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