Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author Vs Author
Simons, P. Wiggins Vs Simons, P. Simons I 216
Superposition/Simons: it is not just a pragmatic resistance that lets us assume that two objects cannot be superposed and yet have no common part. Simons: nevertheless pro,
WigginsVsSuperposition/WigginsVsSimons: he makes this clear in the following principle:
Principle/Wiggins: A and a real part or component B of a third thing C, where A unequal C and A ≠ B and where no part or component of A is a part or component of B or of C, cannot completely occupy the same space at the same time.
Simons: where does this lead?
rta: be the container from a to t. This means that space can become the object of timeless operators and predicates of extensional mereology.
Frame of Reference: we assume it as fixed, so that identity of spaces can be determined. Then we can apply all axioms of CEM (Extensional Mereology), also the Sum-Axiom and the SSP are not contradictory. (…+…)
I 217
SimonsVsWiggins: that does not seem particularly frightening. It even seems to be able to be amplified. For example, we can assume a Strong Supplement Principle (SSP) that is relativized to times: (…+…) SimonsVsCoincidence Principle: if it were correct, it would establish a very close conceptual link between mereological relations and spatial relations between continuants.
Simons pro Wiggins: in any case we can agree that "space" can only be mapped by reference to its occupants. ((s) >no "empty space").
Thus, the conceptual utility of the part-whole relations between continuants will consist in their necessity for the formation of spatial concepts.
Coincidence Principle/Simons: it is neat and it provides a seductive simplification.
SimonsVsCoincidence Principle/SimonsVsWiggins: one pays too high a price.
I 218
But with his rejection we must also reject one of the premises, WP, PP or SSP. Which one? I would reject SSP (see below). But first we want to test WP against a hypothetical counter-example from Sharvy.
I 220
WigginsVsSuperposition/Simons: his argument for WP goes like this: Suppose A and B were distinct and at the same place at the same time. Then they cannot be distinguished by location. Then they have to be distinguished by their properties.
Problem: no space region (volume) can be described simultaneously by different predicates (be it color, form, texture etc.).
(s) It cannot be spherical and cube-shaped at the same time).
I 221
Simons: the latter may be true, but that does not speak against the possibility of a perfect mixture, because its qualities do not have to be those of its ingredients in isolation, which is proved by the imperfect mixtures every day. ((s) Contradiction to above I 218: there mixture of compound is distinguished by the fact that the properties of the ingredients are largely preserved in the mixture.)
Superposition/Simons: Assuming that it would be possible that the occupation of space by a mass would be a gradual matter, then it would be possible that different masses occupy the same region
Simons: although the occupation would have different intensity distributions.
Simons: if this were the case, Wiggins' principle would be wrong and then we would have to doubt its necessity.

Wiggins I
D. Wiggins
Essays on Identity and Substance Oxford 2016

Wiggins II
David Wiggins
"The De Re ’Must’: A Note on the Logical Form of Essentialist Claims"
Truth and Meaning, G. Evans/J. McDowell Oxford 1976

Simons I
P. Simons
Parts. A Study in Ontology Oxford New York 1987