Philosophical Studies

, Volume 174, Issue 11, pp 2891–2900 | Cite as

On being ultimately composed of atoms

  • Achille C. VarziEmail author


Mereological atomism is the thesis that everything is ultimately composed of atomic parts, i.e., parts lacking proper parts. Standardly, this thesis is characterized by an axiom that says, more simply, that everything has atomic parts. Anthony Shiver has argued that this characterization is satisfied by models that are not atomistic, and is therefore inadequate. I argue that Shiver’s conclusion can and ought to be resisted, for (i) the models in question are atomistic in the intended sense, and (ii) even though the standard characterization does not say that everything is composed of atoms, it implies so. If there is a sense in which the relevant models are problematic, it lies elsewhere.


Mereology Parthood Atomism Composition Decomposition Grounding 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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