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Coincidence as parthood

  • Jean-Baptiste GuillonEmail author
S.I.: Mereology and Identity


There are three families of solutions to the traditional Amputation Paradox: Eliminativism, Contingent Identity Theories, and Theories of Coincident Entities. Theories of Coincident Entities challenge our common understanding of the relation between identity and parthood, since they accept that two things can be mereologically coincident without being identical. The contemporary discussion of the Amputation Paradox tends to mention only one theory of Coincident Entities, namely the Constitution View, which violates the mereological principle of Extensionality. But in fact, there is another theory, namely the Unique Part View, which violates another mereological principle (the Weak Supplementation Principle). In this paper, I argue that the contemporary focus on the Constitution View is unmotivated, at least when we are confronted with the Amputation Paradox, and that a balanced comparison of the two views (as solutions to this specific paradox) should favour the Unique Part View.


Coincident Entities Weak Supplementation Principle Amputation Paradox Material constitution Parthood Extensionality 



I would like to thank Claudine Tiercelin, Eric T. Olson and Uriah Kriegel, whose comments on earlier drafts of this paper were extremely helpful. I would like to thank also audiences at Institut Jean Nicod and at Collège de France, especially Olivier Massin, Frédéric Nef, Ghislain Guigon, Guillaume Bucchioni, Grégoire Lefftz and Alexandre Declos. I am grateful to Daniel De Haan, discussions with whom stimulated my first reflections on this topic. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their comments concerning the earlier versions of the paper. This paper was written during my research position at the Collège de France, chaire de Métaphysique et Philosophie de la Connaissance of Professor Claudine Tiercelin.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.chaire de Métaphysique et Philosophie de la ConnaissanceCollège de FranceParisFrance

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