Chapter

Substance Stressed

John Heil

in The Universe As We Find It

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596201
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741876 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596201.003.0003
Substance Stressed

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Chapter 2 includes an argument aimed at showing that substances as I think property bearers must be simple. This chapter offers a second consideration favoring the simplicity of substances based on a traditional characterization of substances as non-dependent entities. An entity made up of substances depends on the substances that make it up, so would not, on such a view, count as a substance. Substantial parts of objects are distinguished from properties, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, from spatial and temporal parts. The chapter includes a discussion of the possibility of substantial complexity ‘all the way down’, and the question whether the universe could contain an infinite number of substances — an infinite number of electrons, for instance. The implications of particle entanglement in quantum physics are discussed in light of the possibility that entanglement yields new simple emergent substances in which constituent particles ‘lose their identity’ as substances.

Keywords: substance; property; simple; substantial part; spatial part; temporal part; infinity; quantum; entanglement; emergence

Chapter.  7470 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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