Hwan Ho & Hsuan Chin Lin


An Outline of a Mereology of Universals


Defending a mereology for universals is not something new. However, something has kept philosophers away from developing a classical mereology of universals. Presumably, there are three possible options: (i) one may endorse a non-classical mereology, (ii) one may deny that the composition of universals is mereological, or (iii) one may endorse indiscernible universals. There could be many reasons for this result, and yet here we shall only consider two prominent challenges, one from Armstrong (1997) and the other from Lewis (1986). Roughly, Armstrong argues that conjunctive universals are not mereological sums of universals, and Lewis argues that if a structural universal has parts, then CH4 should have four hydrogen universals as its parts, but this is in conflict with the conception of universals and classical mereology. In what follows, we propose that a classical mereology for universals is able to answer these challenges. Of course, this does not come for free. Our principal differences with other proposals lie in the following two aspects: First of all, we argue that for any universal F, if F is a conjunctive universal or a structural universal, then F is a mereological sum of universals. The difference between a conjunctive universal and a mere sum of universals is due to whether anything instantiating it must instantiate its parts. Secondly, we argue that parts of structural universals need not correspond to the parts of the thing instantiating that universal.

Date / Time / Place

June 22nd / 17:50 / Aula Magna