Parts and Wholes
Lowe (E.J.)
Source: Lowe (E.J.) - More Kinds of Being: Chapter 7
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. It is often said that certain 'wholes' are 'greater than the sum of their parts'. Since it is not entirely clear what 'greater than' is supposed to mean in this context, I would prefer simply to say that some wholes are distinct from the sum of their parts - or, more accurately, distinct from any sum of their proper parts, since we may need to allow that there is more than one way of individuating a thing's 'parts' and hence, perhaps, no such thing as the sum of its parts.
  2. But this is not true, it seems, of all wholes. By a 'whole', I should explain, I just mean a thing which has proper parts, or is 'composite', and I shall restrict my attention almost entirely to concrete wholes. (Henceforth, I shall drop the qualification 'proper' to avoid prolixity and so should be understood to be using the term 'part' in a sense in which it is not the case that any thing is, trivially, a part of itself.)
  3. I shall begin by defending the claims that I have just made. Later. I shall go on to examine their implications for the views of certain other philosophers, in particular those who adhere to a relativist conception at identity.
  4. Consider again our old friend, Tibbles the cat1. Tibbles2 is a composite thing: he certainly has parts. Tibbles3's tail - call it 'Tail' - is a part of Tibbles4. But is there an object which is, so to speak, Tibbles5 minus Tail? I rather think there is and that this object is also a part of Tibbles6, albeit a very large part. …


See "Lowe (E.J.) - Parts and Wholes" for an earlier attempt.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 4:

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