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Who's afraid of Reverse Mereological Essentialism?

Oderberg, D. S. ORCID: (2023) Who's afraid of Reverse Mereological Essentialism? Philosophical Studies. ISSN 1573-0883

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11098-023-01935-5


Whereas Mereological Essentialism is the thesis that the parts of an object are essential to it, Reverse Mereological Essentialism is the thesis that the whole is essential to its parts. Specifically – since RME is an Aristotelian doctrine – it is a claim not about objects in general but about substances. Here I set out and explain RME as it should be understood from the perspective of the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition, as well as proposing a kind of master argument for believing it. A number of objections (many of which have been raised by Kathrin Koslicki or Robert Koons) are then considered, the replies to which help further to clarify and motivate RME. The final section considers some important questions concerning parts and matter in light of Ross Inman’s recent defence of RME under the guise of what he calls Substantial Priority. Considering these questions further illustrates right and wrong ways of understanding RME. Overall, the case for RME is strong albeit with a number of difficulties that need to be resolved through further investigation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:111064


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