Philosophers Index Abstract
- The paper is a defence of "the principle of mereological essentialism1".
- The principle may be formulated by saying: "for any whole x, if x has a certain thing y as one of its parts, then y as part of x in every possible world in which x exists."
- The principle is defended against such objections as "but some things survive the less of some of their parts" and "some things are such that they could have had parts other than the ones they do have."
- In the course of the defence, a distinction is made between 'primary objects' and 'non-primary objects'.
- It is contended that whatever can be truly said about the unrealized possibilities of non-primary objects (such things as might be designated by "my automobile") can be formulated more precisely by reference to the unrealized possibilities of primary objects.
- It is argued that the above points throw light, not only upon the theory of possibility, but also upon a number of other fundamental metaphysical problems.
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