Monism: The Justification Argument

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The replacement argument aims to show that monism is impossible to maintain, opening the way for pluralism as a viable metaphysical account of objects and their parts. To evaluate it we first check that the argument is valid and its premises legitimate. After that we must make sure that the argument does indeed indicate pluralism as the reasonable successor, and not other perhaps more radical views. I will conclude that the argument does from a standpoint of common sense point to pluralism as the most viable successor, however is by no means secure in this position. Monism is the doctrine that objects are essentially identical to the sum of their parts. This view is perhaps the most immediately attractive viewpoint to take when considering…show more content…
Pluralists may ask here to account for how and why we can refer to objects like cars as persisting. Chisholm suggests that we can loosely accept an object as persisting if the part that is lost, gained, or replaced creates an object that stands in for what the original object might do1. This is a good step for the mereological essentialist: it can now model common sense as well as pluralism. The mereological essentialist can argue that pluralism shows no reason for why objects should exist over their constituent parts, and persist when their parts change. The pluralist can, however, claim that the mereological essentialist is missing the point. The pluralist can put forward that material constitution simply can not be fully indicative of object identity. On some levels identity seems plainly irreducible to material constitution. Imagine we now take apart our car and thrown all the pieces in a pile. The parts are still there, but it is obviously false to claim that the car is. So structure seems to be one factor separate from parts that is important to an objects identity. The mereological essentialist can feasibly reply to this by saying that structure is something that can be put…show more content…
Pluralism affirms both premise A and premise B, therefore it must deny premise C for the conclusion to be false. Pluralism argues that objects do exist outside their combination of parts. Nagasena might argue this is absurd — how are objects represented by their material constitutions if they exist outside of the combination of their parts? The pluralist argues that objects can exist outside their parts, and does this by saying that objects can depend on their material composition while still being distinct. A car depends on its parts to be a car, but this does not make it identical to its parts. David Wiggins claims that objects should be treated with a predicative ‘is’, rather than a constitutive2. This means that when we say “A is a tree, therefore A is identical with a tree”, our ‘is’ does not imply that A is materially composed in such a way that it is a tree, therefore identical to a tree. Rather, we are saying that ‘is’ indicates that A and ‘being a tree’ are factually connected. This is a plausible way out of Nagasena’s theory, and objects may indeed exist. This path at the least demonstrates a

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