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International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

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Against the Maximality Principle

C. S. Sutton
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  • Department of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, 915 W. Franklin St., Richmond, VA 23284-2025, USA
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Published Online: 2014-10-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0023


To hold that only one conscious thing is sitting in your chair, philosophers have appealed to maximality: If a property M is maximal, then anything that has property M does not have large proper parts that have property M. Philosophers have said that ordinary objects are maximal, including houses, cats, rocks, and have argued by analogy that consciousness is maximal. I argue that the maximality principle mistakenly excludes some members of a kind. Thus, it is not the correct principle to explain why, for example, you are conscious but the proper part that is all-of-you-but-your-arm is not conscious.

Keywords: maximal; maximality; consciousness; supervenience; metaphysics


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Published Online: 2014-10-21

Published in Print: 2014-11-28

Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 15, Issue 2, Pages 381–389, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2014-0023.

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