Composition, identity, and emergence
Keywords, composition as identity, emergence, mereological nihilism
AbstractComposition as Identity (CAI) is the thesis that a whole is, strictly and literally, identical to its parts, considered collectively. McDaniel  argues against CAI in that it prohibits emergent properties. Recently Sider  exploited the resources of plural logic and extensional mereology to undermine McDaniel’s argument. He shows that CAI identifies extensionally equivalent pluralities – he calls it the Collapse Principle (CP) – and then shows how this identification rescues CAI from the emergentist argument. In this paper I first give a new generalized version of both the arguments. It is more general in that it does not presuppose an atomistic mereology. I then go on to argue that the consequences of CP are rather radical. It entails mereological nihilism, the view that there are only mereological atoms. I finally show that, given a mild assumption about property instantiation, namely that there are no un-instantiated properties, this argument entails that CAI and emergent properties are incompatible after all.
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