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Philosophy Speakers: How to Identify Wholes with Their Parts

Date & Time:
September 28, 2018 | 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location:
SS 1253
Speaker:
Jonathan D. Payton, University of Calgary

About the Talk

I claim that a whole is identical to its parts. Many philosophers find this claim incredible: it seems that a whole and its parts must be distinct, for the whole is one thing while its parts are many things. Byeong-uk Yi has recently developed a version of this argument which exploits the resources of plural logic. Yi provides logical analyses of the predicates ‘one’ and ‘many’ which seem to show that nothing can satisfy them both. But there are (at least) two senses of the word ‘one’. One of these senses is not captured by Yi’s analysis, and in this sense of the word, it is logically possible for many things to be one. Moreover, we should only believe that a whole is one thing in this sense, not that it is one thing in the sense Yi has analysed. Thus, we can identify wholes with their parts without contradiction.

About the Speaker

Jonathan D. Payton is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary, working under a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. His latest research project focuses on the metaphysics of composite objects, and especially the thesis that wholes are identical to their parts. He also works on metaphysical issues in the philosophy of action, especially the metaphysics of ‘negative’ actions (omissions, refrainments, etc.).

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