Single Idea 15440

[catalogued under 9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts]

Full Idea

A whole is an extra item in our ontology only in the minimal sense that it is not identical to any of its proper parts; but it is not distinct from them either, so when we believe in the parts it is no extra burden to believe in the whole.

Gist of Idea

A whole is distinct from its parts, but is not a further addition in ontology


David Lewis (Against Structural Universals [1986], 'The pictorial')

Book Reference

Lewis,David: 'Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology' [CUP 1999], p.91

A Reaction

A little confusing, to be 'not identical' and yet 'not different'. As Lewis says elsewhere, the whole is one, and the parts are not. A crux. Essentialism implies a sort of holism, that parts with a structure constitute a new thing.