Simples and gunk
An object is a simple if and only if it has no proper parts. An object is gunk if and only if every proper part of that object itself has a proper part. In my dissertation, I address the following questions. (1) The concepts of simples and gunk presuppose the concept of parthood. What is the status of this concept? his question itself divides into the following: does the concept of parthood have universal applicability, so that, just as every object is self-identical, every object has parts? Finally, is the concept of parthood univocal, or are there different notions of parthood, each of which is defined on distinct ontological categories? I argue that the concept of parthood has univocal. I also argue that there is some evidence that the concept of parthood has universal applicability. (2) I address the Simple Question, which is “under what circumstances is it true of some object that it has no proper parts?” I argue against several popular answers to the Simple Question, such as the view that simples are all and only point-sized objects, and the view that simples are maximally continuous material objects. I defend the Brutal View, which holds that there is no true, finitely expressible, and informative answer to the Simple Question. In short, there is no criterion for being a simple. Along the way, I address the question of whether extended simples, i.e., simples that are extended in space, are possible. I argue that one popular argument against the possibility of extended simples is unsound. (3) I address the question of whether both simples and gunk are possible. I argue that it is metaphysically possible that material objects be composed of gunk.