Carrara, Massimiliano - Martino, Enrico (2008) On the ontological commitment to mereology. In: eidos Metaphysics Conference, 15-18 July 2008, Geneva, Switzerland. (Inedito)
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In Parts of Classes  David Lewis argues that, like logic, but unlike set theory, mereology is “ontologically innocent”. Prima facie, Lewis’ innocence thesis seems to be ambiguous. On one side, he seems to argue that, given certain objects Xs, referring to their sum is ontologically innocent because there is not a new entity as referent of the expression “the sum of the Xs”. So, talking of the sum of the Xs would simply be a different way of talking of the Xs, looking at them as a whole. However, on the other side, Lewis’ innocence is not understood as a mere linguistic use, where sums are not reified. He himself claims that the innocence of mereology is different from that of plural reference, where the reference to some objects does not require the existence of a single entity picking up them in a whole. In the case of plural quantification “we have many things, in no way do we mention one thing that is the many taken together”. Instead, in the mereological case: “we have many things, we do mention one thing that is the many taken together, but this one thing is nothing different from the many” (, 87). But, due to the fact that Lewis explicitly uses sums as outright objects, we think that Lewis’ innocence thesis cannot be understood but in the sense that, even if the sum of the Xs is a well determined object, distinct from the Xs, the existence of such an object is to be necessarily accepted from whom which has already accepted the existence of the Xs. In other words, committing oneself to the existence of the Xs would be an implicit commitment to some other entities and – among them – the sum of the Xs. On the other hand, the existence of the set of the Xs would not be implicitly guaranteed by the existence of the Xs.
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