Ideas of Ryan Wasserman, by Theme

[American, fl. 2009, At Western Washington University.]

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9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 6. Constitution of an Object
Constitution is identity (being in the same place), or it isn't (having different possibilities)
     Full Idea: Some insist that constitution is identity, on the grounds that distinct material objects cannot occupy the same place at the same time. Others argue that constitution is not identity, since the statue and its material differ in important respects.
     From: Ryan Wasserman (Material Constitution [2009], Intro)
     A reaction: The 'important respects' seem to concern possibilities rather than actualities, which is suspicious. It is misleading to think we are dealing with two things and their relation here. Objects must have constitutions; constitutions make objects.
Constitution is not identity, because it is an asymmetric dependence relation
     Full Idea: For those for whom 'constitution is not identity' (the 'constitution view'), constitution is said to be an asymmetric relation, and also a dependence relation (unlike identity).
     From: Ryan Wasserman (Material Constitution [2009], 2)
     A reaction: It seems obvious that constitution is not identity, because there is more to a thing's identity than its mere constitution. But this idea makes it sound as if constitution has nothing to do with identity (chalk and cheese), and that can't be right.
There are three main objections to seeing constitution as different from identity
     Full Idea: The three most common objections to the constitution view are the Impenetrability Objection (two things in one place?), the Extensionality Objection (mereology says wholes are just their parts), and the Grounding Objection (their ground is the same).
     From: Ryan Wasserman (Material Constitution [2009], 2)
     A reaction: [summary] He adds a fourth, that if two things can be in one place, why stop at two? [Among defenders of the Constitution View he lists Baker, Fine, Forbes, Koslicki, Kripke, Lowe, Oderberg, N.Salmon, Shoemaker, Simons and Yablo.]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
The weight of a wall is not the weight of its parts, since that would involve double-counting
     Full Idea: We do not calculate the weight of something by summing the weights of all its parts - weigh bricks and the molecules of a wall and you will get the wrong result, since you have weighed some parts more than once.
     From: Ryan Wasserman (Material Constitution [2009], 2)
     A reaction: In fact the complete inventory of the parts of a thing is irrelevant to almost anything we would like to know about the thing. The parts must be counted at some 'level' of division into parts. An element can belong to many different sets.
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 3. Relative Identity
Relative identity may reject transitivity, but that suggests that it isn't about 'identity'
     Full Idea: If the relative identity theorist denies transitivity (to deal with the Ship of Theseus, for example), this would make us suspect that relativised identity relations are not identity relations, since transitivity seems central to identity.
     From: Ryan Wasserman (Material Constitution [2009], 6)
     A reaction: The problem here, I think, focuses on the meaning of the word 'same'. One change of plank leaves you with the same ship, but that is not transitive. If 'identical' is too pure to give the meaning of 'the same' it's not much use in discussing the world.