© 2014

Mereology and the Sciences

Parts and Wholes in the Contemporary Scientific Context

  • Claudio Calosi
  • Pierluigi Graziani

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 371)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Physics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-3
    2. Claudio Calosi, Gino Tarozzi
      Pages 53-84
    3. Vincenzo Fano, Pierluigi Graziani
      Pages 85-99
  3. Mathematics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-103
    2. Cristina Coppola, Giangiacomo Gerla
      Pages 105-122
    3. Rafał Gruszczyński, Andrzej Pietruszczak
      Pages 123-140
  4. Natural Sciences

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-162
    2. Jean-Pierre Llored, Rom Harré
      Pages 189-212
  5. Computer Sciences and Engineering

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 359-378

About this book


This volume is  the first systematic and thorough attempt to investigate the relation and the possible applications of mereology to contemporary science. It gathers contributions from leading scholars in the field and covers a wide range of scientific theories and practices such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering. Throughout the volume, a variety of foundational issues are investigated both from the formal and the empirical point of view.

The first section looks at the topic as it applies to physics. The section addresses questions of persistence and composition within quantum and relativistic physics and concludes by scrutinizing the possibility to capture continuity of motion as described by our best physical theories within gunky spacetimes.

The second part tackles mathematics and shows how to provide a foundation for point-free geometry of space switching to fuzzy-logic. The relation  between mereological sums and set-theoretic suprema is investigated and issues about different mereological perspectives such as classical and natural Mereology are thoroughly discussed.

The third section in the volume looks at natural science. Several questions from biology, medicine and chemistry are investigated. From the perspective of biology, there is an attempt to provide axioms for inferring statements about parthood between two biological entities from statements about their spatial relation. From the perspective of chemistry, it is argued that classical mereological frameworks are not adequate to capture the practices of chemistry in that they consider neither temporal nor modal parameters.

The final part introduces computer science and engineering. A new formal mereological framework in which an indeterminate relation of parthood is taken as a primitive notion is constructed and then applied to a wide variety of disciplines from robotics to knowledge engineering. A formal framework for discrete mereotopology and its applications is developed and finally, the importance of mereology for the relatively new science of domain engineering is also discussed.


Formal and Material Ontology Mereology and Biology Mereology and Chemistry Mereology and Engineering Mereology and Mathematics Mereology and Physics Mereology in Computer Science Metaphysics of Science Philosophical Foundations of Science

Editors and affiliations

  • Claudio Calosi
    • 1
  • Pierluigi Graziani
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Basic Sciences and FoundationsUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Department of Basic Sciences and FoundationsUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly

About the editors

Claudio Calosi is currently a post-doc at University of Urbino. He has been Visiting Research Scholar at University of Pittsburgh, University of California at Irvine and New York University. His main research interests are philosophy of science and analytic metaphysics and he has published extensively on both in journals such as Synthese, Foundations of Physics, Topoi to mention a few.

Pierluigi Graziani received his Ph.D from University of Rome La Sapienza and is currently a post-doc at University of Urbino. His works spans from mathematical logic, especially proof theory, to history and philosophy of mathematics. He has been editor of different volumes and published in different distinguished journals.

Bibliographic information