Decidability of mereological theories

Hsing-chien Tsai



Mereological theories are theories based on a binary predicate ‘being a part of’. It is believed that such a predicate must at least define a partial ordering. A mereological theory can be obtained by adding on top of the basic axioms of partial orderings some of the other axioms posited based on pertinent philosophical insights. Though mereological theories have aroused quite a few philosophers’ interest recently, not much has been said about their meta-logical properties. In this paper, I will look into whether those theories are decidable or not. Besides, since theories of Boolean algebras are in some sense upper bounds of mereological theories which can be found in the literature, I shall also make some observations about the possibility of getting mereological theories beyond Boolean algebras.


mereology; mereological theories; part-whole relation; decidability; undecidability

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