Is composition identity?
- 48 Downloads
Say that some things compose something, if the latter is a whole, fusion, or mereological sum of the former. Then the thesis that composition is identity holds that the composition relation is a kind of identity relation, a plural cousin of singular identity. On this thesis, any things that compose a whole (taken together) are identical with the whole. This article argues that the thesis is incoherent. To do so, the article formulates the thesis in a plural language, a symbolic language that includes counterparts of plural constructions of natural languages, and shows that it implies that nothing has a proper part. Then the article argues that the thesis, as its proponents take it, is incoherent because they take it to imply or presuppose that some things have proper parts.
KeywordsComposition Identity Plural logic Mereology Composition as identity Many-one identity Eleatic monism Mereological sum Fusion Part/whole Part-whole triviality
The work for this article was supported in part by a SSHRC Insight Grant [Grant No. 435-2014-0592], which is hereby gratefully acknowledged. I presented its previous versions in the Mereology and Identity Workshop and at Nihon University. I would like to thank G. Lando, M. Carrara, and T. Iida for the invitations and the audiences for their comments and discussions. I would also like to thank two anonymous referees for Synthese for helpful comments on the penultimate version, P. Hovda for discussions on topics of this article, and Y. El Gebali and E. Darnell for editorial assistance. The penultimate version of this article was written while I was visiting Hokkaido University as a visiting scholar in 2018. I am grateful to T. Yamada and K. Sano for their invitation and hospitality during the visit. Needless to say, I am solely responsible for any errors and infelicities in this article.
- Cotnoir, A. J. (2014). Composition as identity: Framing the debate. In Cotnoir and Baxter (2014), pp. 3–23.Google Scholar
- Cotnoir, A. J., & Baxter, D. (Eds.). (2014). Composition as identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Dorr, C. (2005). What we disagree about when we disagree about ontology. In M. Kalderon (Ed.), Fictionalism in metaphysics (pp. 234–286). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Frege, G. (1979). Posthumous writings (H. Hermes, F. Kambartel, & F. Kaulbach, Eds.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Hovda, P. (2014). Logical considerations on composition as identity. In Cotnoir and Baxter (2014), pp. 192–210.Google Scholar
- Lewis, D. (1991). Parts of classes. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Linnebo, Ø. (2017). Plural quantification. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2017 Ed.), https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/plural-quant/. Accessed 1 May 2018.
- Plato. (1992). The Theaetetus of Plato (M. J. Levett, Trans.). Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.Google Scholar
- Plato. (1996). Parmenides (M. L. Gill, P. Ryan, Trans.). Indianapolis, IN: Hackett.Google Scholar
- Sider, T. (2013). Against parthood. In K. Bennett & D. W. Zimmerman (Eds.), Oxford studies in metaphysics (Vol. 8, pp. 237–293). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Sider, T. (2014). Consequences of collapse. In Cotnoir and Baxter (2014), pp. 211–221.Google Scholar
- Tarski, A. (1929). Les fondaments de la géométrie des corps. Księga Pamiątkowa Pierwszego Polskiego Zjazdu Matematycznego (supplement to Annales de la Société Polonaise de Mathématique), 7, 29–33. Translated as “Foundations of the geometry of solids” in Tarski (1983): 24–29.Google Scholar
- Tarski, A. (1983). Logic, semantics, metamathematics (2nd ed.). Indiana: Hackett.Google Scholar
- van Inwagen, P. (1990). Material beings. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Yi, B.-U. (2002). Understanding the many. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Yi, B.-U. (2014). Is there a plural object? In Cotnoir and Baxter (2014), pp. 169–191.Google Scholar
- Yi, B.-U. (2018a). White horse paradox and semantics of Chinese nouns. In B. Mou (Ed.), Philosophy of language, Chinese language, Chinese philosophy (pp. 49–68). Leiden, Holland: Brill.Google Scholar
- Yi, B.-U. (2018b). Two syllogisms in the Mozi: Chinese logic and language. Review of Symbolic Logic. https://doi.org/10.1017/s1755020317000302.
- Yi, B.-U. (Forthcoming). Plural arithmetic. In B. Kim & R. Ramanujam (Eds.), Proceedings of the 14th and 15th Asian logic conferences. Singapore & Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific.Google Scholar