The Actual Parts Doctrine and Shortcircuit Arguments

Thomas Holden

in The Architecture of Matter

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263264
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601743 | DOI:
 The Actual Parts Doctrine and Shortcircuit Arguments

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According to the actual parts doctrine, all the parts into which a material body can be divided exist as so many independent beings. Various early modern philosophers argued that this entails that bodies have a determinate number of parts, and thus that infinite divisibility entails a completely given ‘actual infinity’ of parts rather than an ever‐increasable ‘potential infinity’. Some further argued that, since all the parts are given, ultimate parts or atoms must be given. Assesses these arguments and compares them with other early modern arguments for a determinate number of parts and for atomism.

Keywords: actual infinity; actual parts; atomism; atoms; early modern; infinite divisibility; potential infinity

Chapter.  16086 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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