Volume 27, 2011
Modernization in Times of Globalization II
Simon J. Evnine
Constitution and Composition
Three Approaches to their Relation
Constitution is the relation between something and what it is made of. Composition is the relation between something and its parts. I examine three different approaches to the relation between constitution and composition. One approach, associated with neo-Aristotelians like Mark Johnston and Kathrin Koslicki, identifies constitution with composition. A second, popular with those sympathetic to classical mereology such as Judith Thomson, defines constitution in terms of parthood. A third, advocated strongly by Lynne Baker, takes constitution to be somehow inconsistent with relations of parthood. All of these approaches, I argue, face serious problems. I conclude, tentatively, that constitution and composition have nothing to do with each other.