Material Objects and their Parts

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Commonsense appears committed to enduring macroscopic material objects that exclude each other from their precise location at all times. I elaborate a specific version of the commonsense commitment and consider its merits in connection with an important line of objection concerning the relation between material objects and their parts. The central thesis is that amongst persisting macroscopic material objects there are Natural Continuants, NCs, whose unity at a time and over time is entirely independent of our concepts, which occupy their precise spatial location Exclusively at all times, and which ground Artificial Continuants, ACs, by partition, collection, and approximation. I call the position the Natural Continuants View (NCV). §1 offers a provisional characterization. §2 considers a familiar puzzle concerning the idea that material objects may survive the loss of a part in order to provide intuitive motivation for (NCV) and to elaborate its commitments concerning (spatial) parts. The result is an account of the way in which NCs ground ACs by spatial partition. §3 turns to a consideration of collections and assemblages of NCs. §4 concludes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-31
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Natural Continuant (NC), Artificial Continuant (AC), Exclusivity, spatial partition, collection, approximation


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