Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy 2022-23: Session 12

The Special Composition Question: An Analysis of Carmichael’s Commonsense Account

Marta Campdelacreu

University of Barcelona


17 February 2023, 16:00 (Lisbon Time – WET)

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)


Abstract: This is Peter van Inwagen’s well-known Special Composition Question: when do some things compose something? Recently, Carmichael has proposed and defended an appealing new answer which, unlike the current most popular answers, agrees with common sense regarding composition. Moreover, he claims, it helps to solve the puzzle of The Ship of Theseus and the puzzle of Dion and Theon. In this talk, I will argue that Carmichael’s proposal includes an unjustified and arbitrary distinction between the relation that common sense bears to objects and the relation that it bears to events. Moreover, I will also argue that, against what he claims, his proposal does not help to solve the puzzles mentioned before.