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Original scientific paper

Temporally Restricted Composition

Mark Steen ; Allegheny College, Meadville, USA

Full text: english pdf 176 Kb

page 431-440

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I develop and defend a novel answer to Peter van Inwagen’s ‘Special Composition Question,’ (SCQ) namely, under what conditions do some things compose and object? My answer is that things will compose an object when and only when they exist simultaneously relative to a reference frame (I call this ‘Temporally Restricted Composition’ or TREC). I then show how this view wards off objections given to ‘Unrestricted Mereology’ (UM). TREC, unlike other theories of Restricted Composition, does not fall prey to worries about vagueness, anthropocentrism, or arbitrariness. TREC also has advantages over all the other answers to the SCQ. TREC is an account an A-theorist anti-Eternalist who wants an unrestricted mereology should accept. I also engage in some conceptual hygiene by showing how UM, as it should be used, should not, in itself, entail or contain a commitment to either Eternalism or Four-Dimensionalism.


Mereology; special composition question; part-whole relation; naturalized metaphyics; composition; special relativity theory

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