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Simon Thunder

, Faculty of Arts

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Research Summary

Broadly speaking, I'm researching an area of metaphysics concerning the necessary and sufficient conditions under which some small material objects jointly compose a single larger one, as apparently… read more

Current Research

Broadly speaking, I'm researching an area of metaphysics concerning the necessary and sufficient conditions under which some small material objects jointly compose a single larger one, as apparently occurs when e.g. several bricks are attached together so as to compose a single wall. I defend the position, called mereological nihilism, that there are no conditions under which composition occurs: it's never the case that multiple small objects jointly compose a single larger one. This commits me to denying the existence of composite objects, such as walls, human bodies, planets, atoms, computers, etc., and accepting the existence of only the smallest, most fundamental physical particles, such as quarks.

My research has two main aims: 1) to motivate accepting nihilism in the first place, and 2) to defend nihilism from objections. In particular, I hope to achieve 2) by developing a novel semantic account that will allow me both to hold on to my nihilist ontology and to preserve our intuitive pre-theoretical judgements about the truth of claims such as 'walls exist'.

Department of Philosophy

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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