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Weak Priority Monism: A New Theory of the Fundamental

TAYLOR, JAMIE,NATHAN (2018) Weak Priority Monism: A New Theory of the Fundamental. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In this PhD dissertation, I am defending a new version of Priority Monism, which I call Weak Priority Monism: that the Cosmos is fundamental and is identical to the collective plurality of its proper parts. This distinguishes it from the version of Priority Monism defended by Jonathan Schaffer, in that, unlike him, I accept the thesis composition as identity. I argue that Weak Priority Monism is preferable to Schaffer’s monism as not only can all the arguments for his version of monism be also utilised by the weak priority monist, but they also have two decisive advantages over Schafferian Priority Monism (i.e. what I call Strong Priority Monism). Firstly, they are able to explain how the Cosmos can ground all its proper parts in ‘weak’ junky worlds; and secondly, they have a novel solution to the problem of heterogeneity which is superior to any solution available to Schaffer. In accepting composition as identity, however, Weak Priority Monism is a controversial view. It might be thought, for one, that composition as identity entails that the irreflexivity of grounding/dependence is violated: as if some things are identical to the mereological fusion they are grounded in, then it would seemingly be the case that those things grounded themselves. However, I will show that this is not necessarily the case, and that we can make sense of some plurality of things collectively grounding each of those things in the plurality, without it being the case that each of those things ground themselves. Indeed, as I shall argue, there is still a distinction between the fundamental and derivative, even if turns out that all the proper parts of the Cosmos taken collectively are fundamental. Weak Priority Monism then, as we shall see, is a promising new position on what is fundamental.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:monism; grounding; composition as identity; plural grounding
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:26 Feb 2019 10:52

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