© 2012, Victoria Roeck


Both Roderick Chisholm and Dean Zimmerman consider mereological essentialism to accurately describe the relationship between parts and wholes. Chisholm supports mereological essentialism because he believes it solves the paradox of coincidence, while Zimmerman embraces it because he believes it helps him defend dualism and refute materialism. In the first part of this paper, I will prove that neither form of mereological essentialism solves the paradox of coincidence because constitution does not entail identity. I will also prove that only nihilism solves the paradox of coincidence because constitution is impossible. In the second half of my paper, I will prove that Zimmerman’s argument against materialism that assumes mereological essentialism works better if you assume nihilism. I will then prove that nihilism is incompatible with materialism, and a new form of nihilistic dualism is the best way to maintain the existence of each person as one persisting thinker.

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