CFP: The Monist: Constitution and Composition

Submission deadline: January 31, 2012

Topic areas


96:1 January 2013
Constitution and Composition

Deadline for Submissions: January 31, 2012
Advisory Editors: Randall Dipert, University at Buffalo ([email protected]) and David Hershenov, University at Buffalo ([email protected])

Are objects constituted by other entities of equal size or are they merely composed of smaller objects? Some philosophers have claimed that only a theory of constitution can make sense of the metaphysics of the everyday world of people, rivers, coins, statues and the like. Others maintain that while constitution theories claim to deliver intact the familiar objects of our world, the philosophical costs are too great. The latter group points to puzzles about how objects in a constitution relation could differ in modal properties, persistence conditions, causal powers or cognitive capacities. However, there is the worry that some variants of the just mentioned puzzles will even plague compositional accounts that reject objects in a constitution relation and instead only recognize objects with smaller entities embedded within them. Another concern is that the metaphysics of the everyday world will have to be drastically revised if constitution is abandoned. Principles of composition might result in either a sparse ontology that eliminates many of the familiar objects of the world, or will posit the existence of many brief, scattered and gerrymandered objects that few people have previously recognized. Papers dealing with these or other problems related to the questions of composition and constitution.

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