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9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects

[denial that there are such things as unified objects]

30 ideas
Everything gives way, and nothing stands fast [Heraclitus]
There is no coming-to-be of anything, but only mixing and separating [Aristotle on Empedocles]
If we see everything as separate, we can then give no account of it [Plato]
Why are being terrestrial and a biped combined in the definition of man, but being literate and musical aren't? [Aristotle]
Fluidity is basic, and we divide into bodies according to our needs [Leibniz]
We imagine that time is passing when we view something unchanging, and this gives rise to the idea that it has identity [PG on Hume]
Experience gives us relations between experiences (e.g. of a plant), but the 'identity' is added by the mind [PG on Hume]
Maybe there are only subjects, and 'objects' result from relations between subjects [Nietzsche]
Counting needs unities, but that doesn't mean they exist; we borrowed it from the concept of 'I' [Nietzsche]
In language we treat 'ego' as a substance, and it is thus that we create the concept 'thing' [Nietzsche]
A 'thing' is simply carved out of reality for human purposes [James]
We should abandon absolute identity, confining it to within some category [Hawthorne on Geach]
The good criticism of substance by Humeans also loses them the vital concept of a thing [Harré/Madden]
Nihilism says composition between single things is impossible [Inwagen]
If there are no tables, but tables are things arranged tablewise, the denial of tables is a contradiction [Liggins on Inwagen]
We could refer to tables as 'xs that are arranged tablewise' [Inwagen]
Actions by artefacts and natural bodies are disguised cooperations, so we don't need them [Inwagen]
Objects need conventions for their matter, their temporal possibility, and their spatial possibility [Jubien]
Basically, the world doesn't have ready-made 'objects'; we carve objects any way we like [Jubien]
Conventionalists see the world as an amorphous lump without identities, but are we part of the lump? [Lowe]
Merricks agrees that there are no composite objects, but offers a different semantics [Liggins on Merricks]
The 'folk' way of carving up the world is not intrinsically better than quite arbitrary ways [Merricks]
If atoms 'arranged baseballwise' break a window, that analytically entails that a baseball did it [Thomasson on Merricks]
Overdetermination: the atoms do all the causing, so the baseball causes no breakage [Merricks]
Physics seems to imply that we must give up self-subsistent individuals [Ladyman/Ross]
There is no single view of individuals, because different sciences operate on different scales [Ladyman/Ross]
There are no cats in quantum theory, and no mountains in astrophysics [Ladyman/Ross]
Ordinary objects are rejected, to avoid contradictions, or for greater economy in thought [Thomasson]
To individuate people we need conventions, but conventions are made up by people [Thomasson]
Eliminativists haven't found existence conditions for chairs, beyond those of the word 'chair' [Thomasson]