Colocated Objects, Tally-Ho: A Solution to the Grounding Problem
Sutton (Catherine S.)
Source: Mind 121, no. 483 (July 2012): 703 –730
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Abstract

  1. Are a statue1 and the lump of clay that constitutes it one object or two? Many philosophers have answered ‘two’ because the lump seems to have properties, such as being able to survive flattening, that the statue2 lacks. This answer faces a serious problem: It seems that nothing grounds the difference in properties between co-located objects. The statue3 and lump are in the same environment and inherit properties from the same composing parts. But it seems that differences in properties should be grounded. For this reason, philosophers including Mark Heller, Dean Zimmerman, Theodore Sider, Trenton Merricks, and Eric Olson have rejected the answer ‘two’.
  2. I offer a solution to the grounding problem to revive the traditional account. I argue that extrinsic relations contribute to the supervenience4 base of many kinds or sorts, and these extrinsic relations ground differences between colocated objects, such as statues5 and lumps of clay, human beings and lumps of tissue, and planets and masses of matter. The same parts can stand in multiple extrinsic relations necessary to compose the member of a kind, and each such relation grounds the existence of a new object and the properties of that object that differ from the properties of other objects that share the same parts.

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