, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 367–379 | Cite as

“No Composition, No Problem: Ordinary Objects as Arrangements”

  • Jonah P. B. GoldwaterEmail author


On the grounds that there are no mereological composites, mereological nihilists deny that ordinary objects (such as tables and chairs) exist. Even if nihilism is true, however, I argue that tables and chairs exist anyway: for I deny that ordinary objects are (identical to) the mereological sums the nihilist rejects. Instead, I argue, ordinary objects have a different nature; they are arrangements, not composites. My argument runs as follows. First, I defend realism about ordinary objects by showing that there is something that plays the role of ordinary objects in perception and discourse, and that ordinary objects are (identical to) whatever plays this role. Next, I argue that it is arrangements that play this role. It follows that ordinary objects exist- even if mereological nihilism is true.


Ordinary objects Composition Mereology Meta-ontology Realism 



Thanks to Cathy Sutton, Matt McGrath, Dan Korman, Tommy Kivatinos, Ben Abelson, and an audience at NYU’s Metaphysics Bootcamp for helpful discussion.

Ethical Statement

This manuscript complies with the ethical responsibilities outlined in the ‘Instructions for Authors’ portion of your website. In particular, this manuscript has not been submitted to more than one journal for simultaneous consideration, it has not been previously published in whole or in part, and it contains no plagiarism or unacknowledged sources. In addition, this work is free from any conflicts of interest (or appearances thereof).


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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