Precis of Objects and Persons
Merricks (Trenton)
Source: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67(3): 700-703
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction1

  1. There are no statues2 or chairs or rocks or planets. But there are microscopic objects. Let's call them – whatever they may turn out to be – 'atoms'. And although there are no statues3, there are atoms "arranged statuewise4." There are also atoms arranged chairwise, atoms arranged rockwise, and atoms arranged planetwise.
  2. I "eliminate" many familiar composite macroscopic objects. But I say there are atoms arranged as if they composed the eliminated objects. The burden of Chapter One is to show that this "eliminativism" is neither contradictory nor obviously false.
  3. It is not obviously false. At the very least, it can't be refuted by our "seeing and feeling statues5." For atoms arranged statuewise6 do all that statues7 supposedly do, including accounting for all of our visual or tactile "statue8" experiences (pp. 2-3), a point to which I return in Chapter Three.
  4. Atoms arranged statuewise9 can do the work of statues10. Some might object that this is because 'there are statues11' just means that there are atoms arranged statuewise12. If so, eliminativism is contradictory. But – so I argue – this objection is clearly mistaken given what I mean by 'atoms arranged statuewise13'. That atoms are arranged statuewise14 means approximately that, if there were statues15, then those atoms would compose one (pp. 4-8; 12-20). And 'there are statues16' does not mean that there are some atoms that would compose statues17 if there were statues18.
  5. Consider the idea that a statue19 "just is" or "is nothing more than" its atomic parts. Understood one way, this reductionist sentiment supports eliminativism (pp. 11-12). But understood in another – understood as the claim that a statue20 is identical with its constituent atoms – it is a threat. I argue, however, that it is false that a single statue21 could be identical with its many atomic parts (pp. 20-28).



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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