Causal essentialism and mereological monism

Aaron Segal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Several philosophers have recently defended Causal Essentialism-the view that every property confers causal powers, and whatever powers it confers, it confers essentially. I argue that on the face of it, Causal Essentialism implies a form of Monism, and in particular, the thesis I call 'Mereological Monism': that there is some concretum that is a part of every concretum. However, there are three escape routes, three views which are such that if one of them is true, Causal Essentialism does not imply any form of Monism at all. I survey the costs associated with taking these escape routes along with the costs associated with accepting Mereological Monism.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)227-255
Number of pages29
JournalPhilosophical Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements I would like to thank Alvin Plantinga, Jonathan Schaffer, Peter van Inwagen, and an anonymous referee for very helpful comments on earlier drafts. Work on this project was supported in part by the Analytic Theology Summer Stipend Program, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and the Center for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. I am very grateful for their support.


  • Causal essentialism
  • Monism
  • Necessary connections
  • Null individual
  • Patchwork
  • Weak supplementation


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