Can a Thing Be Part of Itself?
Why might someone
consider the answer to the titular question to be trivial? Perhaps because
she has read some mereology and understands that mereologists distinguish
between parthood on the one hand and proper parthood
on the other. She understands that, at least when talking in the language
of mereology, a thing is necessarily not a proper part of itself, but
is necessarily a part of itself. Whether the English word “part” expresses
parthood or proper parthood does not seem too important, seeing as either
can be taken as primitive and one defined in terms of the other. Thus,
whether something is part of itself or not is indeed a trivial matter
of definition. If by “part” one means parthood, everything is part of
itself. If by “part” one means proper parthood, nothing is part of itself.