Ángelo Briones (IIF/SADAF/CONICET/UBA): Brief commentary on substances and their mereological aspects

28 May, 2021 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

 According to the neo-Aristotelian theory of substance (Fine, 1995; Hoffman, 2012; Lowe, 2001), being a substance consists of being an ontologically independent entity or, at least, being ontologically independent of everything except its parts. Consequently, the neo-Aristotelian theory incurs a bifurcation: the category of substance includes entities independent in every sense and entities dependent on their parts, which goes against the very idea of a category (Toner, 2011). As possibilities to deal with the problem of bifurcation, one can opt for a reductionism of the type that affirms that there are only independent substances in every sense and that they correspond to the fundamental particles of physics (Heil, 2012) or propose a new criterion of substance that avoids incurring in bifurcation, as suggested by Koslicki (2013; 2018). The objective of this work is framed in determining the relevant aspects for the construction of a new substance criterion. For this purpose, substances will be analyzed under a mereological and pluralistic context (Fine, 2012), which will allow establishing that the type of composition through which substantial entities are obtained differs from other types of composition -such as mereological sums- given that the composition of substantial entities is essentially structural: the conditions of existence of the entity require a specific arrangement between its parts. The proposal of structural mereological wholes is based on neo-Aristotelian mereology (Fine, 1999; Koslicki, 2008; Sattig, 2019). (Fine, 1999; Koslicki, 2008; Sattig, 2019).