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Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Volume 1$
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Robert Pasnau

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199661848

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199661848.001.0001

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Some Twelfth-Century Reflections on Mereological Essentialism

Some Twelfth-Century Reflections on Mereological Essentialism

(p.83) Some Twelfth-Century Reflections on Mereological Essentialism
Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, Volume 1

Andrew Arlig

Oxford University Press

Peter Abelard held two views that imply a form of Mereological Essentialism: first, a thing is nothing other than all its parts taken together and second, no thing has more parts at one time than it does at another. This paper situates Abelard’s theses within their historical context. The paper first examines Boethius’s suggestive remarks about the dependence of the whole upon its parts and it highlights several of the choices that were open to twelfth-century students of Boethius’s mereology. Then there is a brief survey of Abelard’s understanding of Mereological Essentialism. Finally, the paper examines some of the more interesting challenges to Mereological Essentialism that were posed by Abelard’s contemporaries. The paper focuses in particular on a set of fragments that have been attributed to the school of Joscelin of Soissons.

Keywords:   Abelard, Boethius, Joscelin of Soissons, Mereological Essentialism, mereology, parts and wholes

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