Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology

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Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one popular objection to mereological nihilism, one which contends that mereological nihilism is objectionable insofar as it is incompatible with the existence of people, is untenable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464–485
Number of pages22
JournalPhilosophical Quarterly
Issue number268
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

User-Defined Keywords

  • composition
  • mereology
  • mereological nihilism
  • personal identity
  • personal ontology
  • substance dualism


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