The naive conception of material objects: a defense

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Title: The naive conception of material objects: a defense
Author: Korman, Daniel Z.
Abstract: I defend a naive conception of material objects , according to which there are such things as stones , statues , cats and their tails , but no "strange fusions" of such things as my nose and the Eiffel Tower . Virtually everyone in the literature rejects the naive conception in favor of some revisionary theory of material objects . Eliminativists (e .g . , Unger , van Inwagen , Merricks ) deny that there are such things as statues and stones and , in some cases , cats as well . Universalists (e .g . , Lewis , Rea , Sider ) hold that for any objects you like - -even my nose and the Eiffel Tower - -there is a single object composed of those objects . These revisionary theories are manifestly counterintuitive , but there are powerful arguments for preferring them to the naive conception . The first part of the dissertation is devoted to showing how these arguments can be resisted . First , I assess the charge that , given the correctness of the naive conception , it would have been a miraculous stroke of luck for us to have hit upon the privileged conceptual scheme . Second , I examine the Lewis -Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted mereological composition , Third , I show that the grounding problem for coincident modally discernible objects can be solved . Fourth , show that the causal exclusion argument as applied to ordinary objects can be resisted without either systematic overdetermination or epiphenomena . In the second part of the dissertation , I argue that the prima facie conflict between revisionary theories and our ordinary discourse , beliefs , and intuitions about material objects proves to be an insurmountable problem for those theories . First , I argue that existing attempts to reconcile revisionary theories of material objects with folk discourse are unsatisfactory , Second , I provide a perspicuous statement of the "challenge from folk belief" and argue that the standard strategies for meeting the challenge are unsatisfactory .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3489
Date: 2008-08-28

Citation

The naive conception of material objects: a defense. Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /3489 .

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