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Article

Volume 54 • Number 1

January 2017



 

 

Mereological Nihilism and the Problem of Emergence


by David Cornell

Abstract

Mereological nihilism is the view that there are no composite objects; everything in existence is mereologically simple. The view is subject to a number of difficulties, one of which concerns what I call the problem of emergence. Very briefly, the problem is that nihilism seems to be incompatible with emergent properties; it seems to rule out their very possibility. This is a problem because there are good independent reasons to believe that emergent properties are possible. This paper provides a solution to the problem. I will show that nihilism and emergence are perfectly compatible, providing one accepts a novel understanding of how objects can instantiate properties: what I call irreducibly collective instantiation.


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ISSN: 2152-1123