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Mereological Singularism and Paradox
, S. Shapiro
Published in Springer Science and Business Media B.V.
The primary argument against mereological singularism—the view that definite plural noun phrases like ‘the students’ refer to “set-like entities”—is that it is ultimately incoherent. The most forceful form of this charge is due to Barry Schein, who argues that singularists must accept a certain comprehension principle which entails the existence of things having the contradictory property of being both atomic and non-atomic. The purpose of this paper is to defuse Schein’s argument, by noting three necessary and independently motivated restrictions on the metalinguistic predicates ‘atom’ and ‘non-atom’: both are sort, property, and context-relative. With these restrictions in place, Schein’s problematic assumption becomes evident: his presumed singularist analysis of ‘non-atom’ conflates the metalanguage with the meta-metalanguage, i.e. the language used to talk about the metalanguage. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetErkenntnis
PublisherData powered by TypesetSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.