Real Work for Aggregates
Article first published online: 6 DEC 2006
Volume 60, Issue 4, pages 485–503, December 2006
How to Cite
Bigelow, J. and Pargetter, R. (2006), Real Work for Aggregates. Dialectica, 60: 485–503. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2006.01084.x
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 6 DEC 2006
In this paper reasons are given for accepting a paradigmatically ‘metaphysical’ thesis called Unrestricted Mereological Composition, or something close to it. These reasons are drawn from thoroughly empirical considerations that played a significant role in the history of physical sciences, particularly in the emergence of the Newtonian laws of motion. Roughly: this metaphysical thesis is supported by a principle of ‘inference to the best explanation’ of observations of the very same kind that paradigmatically furnish evidence supporting or undermining empirical theories in physics. There are methodological morals in metaphilosophy to be drawn from this historical example – blurring the distinction that has been traditionally drawn between ‘metaphysical’ theses and ‘empirical’ hypotheses.