|The Doctrine of Arbitrary Undetached Parts|
|Van Inwagen (Peter)|
|Source: Van Inwagen - Ontology, Identity and Modality, Part II: Identity, Chapter 5|
|Paper - Abstract|
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For every material object M, if R is the region of space occupied by M at time t, and if sub-R is any occupiable sub-region of R whatever, there exists a material object that occupies the region sub-R at t. (It should be obvious that DAUP, so defined, entails the existence of the northern half of the Eiffel Tower2 and the other items in the above list.) This definition or statement or whatever it is of DAUP has, as I have said, certain imperfections as a statement of the doctrine I wish to describe certain philosophers as holding. One was mentioned in (the previous) footnote. Another is this: there are philosophers who hold what is recognizable as a version of DAUP who would not be willing to admit regions of space into their ontologies. Here is a third: this statement entails that material objects have boundaries so sharp that they occupy regions that are sets of points; and no adherent of DAUP that I know of would accept such a thesis about material objects. But these defects are irrelevant to the points that will be raised in the sequel and I shall not attempt to formulate a statement of DAUP that remedies them. For our purposes, therefore, DAUP may be identified with my imperfect statement of it.
The second of these features calls for a brief comment. A philosopher might hold that, e.g., the northern half of the Eiffel Tower exists, but identify this item in his ontology with some abstract object, such as the pair whose first term is the Eiffel Tower and whose second term is the northern half of the region of space occupied by the Eiffel Tower. (If this idea were to be applied to moving, flexible objects or to objects that grow or shrink, it would have to be radically elaborated; I mean only to provide a vague, general picture of how one might identify parts with abstract objects.) This paper is not addressed to that philosopher's doctrine. It is addressed to DAUP, which holds that, e.g., the northern half of the Eiffel Tower is a concrete material particular in the same sense as that in which the Eiffel Tower itself is a concrete material particular.
Also in "Rea (Michael), Ed. - Material Constitution - A Reader"
Footnote 1: Most footnotes omitted.
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