SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Entanglement and Composition
(Metaphysics and Ontology, )

A In the last decades, mereological nihilism, the claim that there is no occurrence of proper parenthood relation, has gained traction within the metaphysical debate. Enthusiastic nihilists abound (Dorr 2002, Dorr and Rosen 2000, Sider 2013), and the view, once discarded as way far too metaphysically queer, has obtained full philosophical legitimacy. Notwithstanding this new nihilistic reinassance, not all that glitters is gold and there are still many challenges that a nihilist has to meet. Famously, the phenomenon of quantum entanglement has been considered to pose a serious threat to nihilism, many arguments have been levelled to this extent (Calosi and Tarozzi 2014, Healey 1991 and 2013, Morganti 2009, Schaffer 2007 and 2010, Teller 1986). In a recent paper, Andrew Brenner (2018) argues that all these arguments fail, for they do not manage to show (i) that a nihilist account of entanglement is impossible or even (ii) that a compositionalist one is preferable. In order to do that, he proposes a nihilist account of entanglement which is purported to meet the extant challenges. In this paper, I shall present a refinement of Brenner_s proposal. In particular, I will show that there are really two strategies at the nihilist_s disposal. Too bad for her, none of them is successful. While I agree with Brenner, to the extent that a nihilist account of entanglement is possible, I will argue contra him that a compositionalist one fares better in all the relevant aspects, as it is simpler and has more explanatory power. More in detail, I will show that starting from mere mereological composition, one can build new kinds of composition, fully definable in term of the former, which allow to provide a better explanation of the phenomenon. As Katherine Hawley put it, given two metaphysical theories both compatible with the empirical data, one may explain these better, or might be better integrated with other well confirmed theories (Hawley 2006, pp.456-457). While many marriages are possible, not all of them are made in heaven. The one between mereological nihilism and entanglement is definitely made in hell.

Chair: Bogdan Dumitrescu
Time: 10:00-10:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.003
Remark: (Online Talk)

Alessandro Cecconi 
(University of Geneva , )



Testability and Meaning deco