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Illusions of gunk

By J.R.G. Williams

Abstract

The possibility of gunk has been used to argue against mereological nihilism. This paper explores two responses on the part of the microphysical mereological nihilist: (1) the contingency defence, which maintains that nihilism is true of the actual world; but that at other worlds, composition occurs; (2) the impossibility defence, which maintains that nihilism is necessary true, and so gunk worlds are impossible. The former is argued to be ultimately unstable; the latter faces the explanatorily burden of explaining the illusion that gunk is possible. It is argued that we can discharge this burden by focussing on the contingency of the microphysicalist aspect of microphysical mereological nihilism. The upshot is that gunk-based arguments against microphysical mereological nihilism can be resisted

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:3325

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