Actual Parts and Potential Parts

Thomas Holden

in The Architecture of Matter

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780199263264
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601743 | DOI:
 Actual Parts and Potential Parts

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Examines the conflict between the rival metaphysical systems of actual parts and potential parts in early modern philosophy. According to the actual parts system (which foreshadows the ‘doctrine of arbitrary undetached parts’ familiar from current analytic mereology), the parts of material bodies are so many distinct concrete entities. According to the potential parts system, parts are merely potential beings until actualized by division. Despite the historical success of the actual parts system in displacing the received scholastic potential parts view, maintains that the arguments for the rival ontologies are locked in a symmetrical stalemate.

Keywords: actual parts; arbitrary undetached parts; early modern; mereology; potential partsscholastic

Chapter.  22987 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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