The Very Idea of Material Constitution
Baker (Lynne Rudder)
Source: Australian National University, Research School of Social Sciences, July, 1999
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. We run into instances of material constitution everywhere we turn. Material constitution is the relation that obtains between an octagonal piece of metal and a Stop sign, between strands of DNA molecules and genes, between pieces of paper and dollar bills, between stones and monuments, between lumps of clay and statues1, between human persons and their bodies; the list is endless. Although there has been a great deal of controversy recently about the nature of material constitution, I want to enter the fray by setting out and defending an explicit definition of what it is for an object x to constitute an object y at time t.

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