Against the very notion of a formal part: A response to Kathrin Koslicki




In her 2008 book The Structure of Objects, Kathrin Koslicki defends an Aristotelian mereological theory to describe the nature of composite objects. This theory has at its heart the idea that composite objects are fusions of material and formal parts, that is, it is a kind of neo-hylomorphism. The main motivation behind the adoption of this thesis is the rejection of certain compositional theories, especially mereological universalism defended by David Lewis (1986 and 1991). However, I shall argue that none of Koslicki’s arguments are sufficient to establish the postulation of formal parts. The reason for this is that the motivation that lead her to a commitment to such entities are not only unjustified, but it is also possible to solve the problems that she raises without appealing to the very notion of formal parts.



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