On being ultimately composed of atoms
- 291 Downloads
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.
KeywordsMereology Parthood Atomism Composition Decomposition Grounding
- Cotnoir, A. J. (2013). Beyond atomism. Thought, 2, 67–72.Google Scholar
- Goodman, N. (1951). The Structure of Appearance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Mostowski, A., & Tarski, A. (1939). Boolesche Ringe mit geordneter Basis. Fundamenta Mathematicae, 32, 69–86. (M. J. Maczynski, Eng. trans. (1979) Boolean rings with an ordered basis. In A. Mostowski, Foundational Studies. Selected Works, vol. II (pp. 75–91). Amsterdam: North-Holland).Google Scholar
- Simons, P. M. (1987). Parts. A Study in Ontology. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Tarski, A. (1935). Zur Grundlegung der Booleschen Algebra. I. Fundamenta Mathematicae, 24, 177–198 (J. H. Woodger, Eng. trans. (1956) On the foundations of Boolean algebra. In Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics. Papers from 1923 to 1938 (pp. 320–341). Oxford: Clarendon Press).Google Scholar
- van Inwagen, P. (1990). Material Beings. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Varzi, A. C. (2015). Mereology. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter edn. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/mereology.