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The Architecture of MatterGalileo to Kant$
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Thomas Holden

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263264

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199263264.001.0001

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The Actual Parts Doctrine and Shortcircuit Arguments

The Actual Parts Doctrine and Shortcircuit Arguments

(p.132) 3 The Actual Parts Doctrine and Shortcircuit Arguments
The Architecture of Matter

Thomas Holden (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

According to the actual parts doctrine, all the parts into which a material body can be divided exist as so many independent beings. Various early modern philosophers argued that this entails that bodies have a determinate number of parts, and thus that infinite divisibility entails a completely given ‘actual infinity’ of parts rather than an ever‐increasable ‘potential infinity’. Some further argued that, since all the parts are given, ultimate parts or atoms must be given. Assesses these arguments and compares them with other early modern arguments for a determinate number of parts and for atomism.

Keywords:   actual infinity, actual parts, atomism, atoms, early modern, infinite divisibility, potential infinity

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