The Jowett Society (Friday - Week 2, HT23)

Philosophical Society

Mereological thinking is typically guided by two different metaphors: building vs. carving. The building picture treats wholes as constructed from fundamental bits; the carving treats wholes as the result of carving some interconnected space. Contemporary metaphysics has been dominated by the building metaphor, but I'll put forward some considerations in favour of the carving picture, and connect it to central notions of naturalness and unity. The main aim of the talk is to investigate how to carve up relational networks in natural ways. Our test case is the space of powers -- a network of manifestation/triggering connections that can be modelled graph-theoretically along the lines of Bird (2007) and Tugby (2013). I’ll show how to identify principles governing ‘carving’ the web into groups of closely connected powers, such that one group can naturally be called ‘part’ of another group, and explore the resulting mereology.

Jowett Society Organising Committee: Imogen Rivers  | Jowett Society Website