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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 5, pp 1119–1139 | Cite as

Composition as pattern

  • Steve PetersenEmail author
Article

Abstract

I argue for patternism, a new answer to the question of when some objects compose a whole. None of the standard principles of composition comfortably capture our natural judgments, such as that my cat exists and my table exists, but there is nothing wholly composed of them. Patternism holds, very roughly, that some things compose a whole whenever together they form a “real pattern”. Plausibly we are inclined to acknowledge the existence of my cat and my table but not of their fusion, because the first two have a kind of internal organizational coherence that their putative fusion lacks. Kolmogorov complexity theory supplies the needed rigorous sense of “internal organizational coherence”.

Keywords

Composition Ontology Ordinary objects Pattern Compression Organicism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Karen Bennett, Daniel Dennett, Maureen Donnelly, John Keller, Dan Korman, David Kovacs, Kris McDaniel, Catherine Nolan, James Overton, Lewis Powell, Ken Regan, Barry Smith, Terrance Tomkow, Peter van Inwagen, Dean Zimmerman, the anonymous referees, and others.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyNiagara UniversityNiagara UniversityUSA

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