- The aim of the paper is to discuss some recent variants of familiar puzzles concerning the relations of parts to wholes put forward by Trenton Merricks and Eric Olson.
- The argument is put forward that so long as the familiar distinction between ‘loose and popular’ and ‘strict and philosophical’ senses of identity claims is accepted the paradoxical conclusions at which Merricks and Olson arrive can be resisted.
- It is not denied that accepting the distinction between ‘loose and popular’ and ‘strict and philosophical’ senses of identity claims is itself a departure from common-sense, but it is argued that it is the smallest such departure available to us.
- In two recent, very stimulating, papers Eric Olson (19951) and Trenton Merricks (1998a2) have revived a familiar puzzle about the relationship of parts to wholes and drawn some startling conclusions from it.
- In what follows I assess their arguments.
- My conclusion will be that they can be resisted, but not so easily as might at first be thought, and only at a price.
Footnote 1: Footnote 2:
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