Critical Study of Michael Jubien's Ontology, Modality, and the Fallacy of Reference
Sider (Ted)
Source: Nous, 33.2 (June 1999), pp. 284-294
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction (start)

  1. Michael Jubien’s "Jubien (Michael) - Ontology, Modality, and the Fallacy of Reference" is an interesting and lively discussion of those three topics.
  2. In ontology, Jubien defends, to a first approximation, a Quinean conception: a world of objects that may be arbitrarily sliced or summed. Slicing yields temporal parts; summing yields aggregates, or fusions. Jubien is very unQuinean in his explicit Platonism regarding properties and propositions, but concerns about abstracta are peripheral to much of the argumentation in the book. His version of the doctrine that arbitrary mereological sums exist is nonstandard in that he views it as a convention (albeit a useful one) that we treat sums of objects as themselves being objects. Indeed, he views the concept of objecthood itself as being conventional. The world consists fundamentally of stuff, which we divide into things in any way that suits our purposes.
  3. In modality1, Jubien’s views are to a first approximation Chisholmian: he holds the doctrine of mereological essentialism, according to which anything that has a part must have that part essentially. He also appears to hold the related but independent doctrine that if some stuff makes up some object, then, necessarily, if all of that stuff exists, then that object must exist as well (and be made up of that stuff).
  4. The doctrine of mereological essentialism appears to conflict with ordinary modal2 intuitions. Jubien’s diagnosis and rejection of the fallacy of reference is, in part, intended to show that the conflict is only apparent. …

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