Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Totality, philosophy: is the entirety of the components of a domain. An entity that can be described by specifying the characteristics, properties, rules, possible states, the possible actions, possible changes etc. Statements about totalities are impossible if it is required that the standpoint for these statements would have to be localized both inside and outside of this totality. Since it is impossible to define a totality without a circle and the help of concepts from this totality itself, it is problematic to speak of a totality of the world. See also paradoxes, wholes, set theory, universal class, universal set, mereological sum, systems, exterior/interior.
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Peter van Inwagen on Totality - Dictionary of Arguments

Schwarz I 28ff
Wholes/object/thing/van Inwagen: (1990b)(1) thesis: parts only become an object when it is a living creature. After that, there are people, fish, cats but no computers, walls and bikinis.
Object/thing/Lewis: better answer: two questions:
1. Under what conditions do parts form a whole? Under all! For any thing there is always a thing that they put together (That is the definition of mereological universalism).
2. Which of these aggregates do we count in our everyday world as an independent thing? That we do not consider some aggregates as everyday things does not mean that these aggregates do not exist. (However, they exceed the normal domains of our normal quantifiers). But these limitations vary from culture to culture. It is not reality that is culture-dependent, but the part of reality that has been noticed. (1986e(2), 211-213, 1991:79-81).
, >Part-of-relation, >Temporal parts, >Mereological sum, >Ontology.
LewisVsInwagen/Schwarz: if only living creatures could form real objects, evolution could not begin.
LewisVsInwagen: no criterion for "living creatures" is so precise that it could draw a sharp cut.
Schwarz I 30
Lewis: for him this is no problem: the conventions of the German language do not determine with atomic accuracy to which aggregates "living creatures" applies (1986e(2), 212).
LewisVsInwagen: for him, this explanation is not available: for him, the border between living creatures and non-living creatures is the border between existence and non-existence. If it is vague what a living creature is, then existence is also vague.
Existence/van Inwagen: (1990b(1), Chap. 19): thesis: some things are borderline cases of existence.
LewisVsInwagen: (1991(3), 80f, 1986e(2), 212f): if one already said "there is", then the game is already lost: if one says, "something exists to a lower degree".
Def existence/Lewis: existence simply means to be one of the things that exist.

1. Peter van Inwagen [1990b]: Material Beings. Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press.
2. D. Lewis [1986e]: On the Plurality of Worlds. Malden (Mass.): Blackwell.
3. D. Lewis [1991]: Parts of Classes. Oxford: Blackwell.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Inwagen I
Peter van Inwagen
Metaphysics Fourth Edition

Schw I
W. Schwarz
David Lewis Bielefeld 2005

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