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Plurals and Complexes

Keith Hossack
The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Vol. 51, No. 3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 411-443
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3541772
Page Count: 33
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Plurals and Complexes
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Abstract

Atomism denies that complexes exist. Common-sense metaphysics may posit masses, composite individuals and sets, but atomism says there are only simples. In a singularist logic, it is difficult to make a plausible case for atomism. But we should accept plural logic, and then atomism can paraphrase away apparent reference to complexes. The paraphrases require unfamiliar plural universals, but these are of independent interest; for example, we can identify numbers and sets with plural universals. The atomist paraphrases would fail if plurals presuppose complexes: but an Appendix shows that reference to complexes is not required in the semantics of plurals.

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