1st Edition

Substance and the Fundamentality of the Familiar A Neo-Aristotelian Mereology

By Ross D. Inman Copyright 2018
    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    318 Pages
    by Routledge

    Substance and the Fundamentality of the Familiar explicates and defends a novel neo-Aristotelian account of the structure of material objects. While there have been numerous treatments of properties, laws, causation, and modality in the neo-Aristotelian metaphysics literature, this book is one of the first full-length treatments of wholes and their parts. Another aim of the book is to further develop the newly revived area concerning the question of fundamental mereology, the question of whether wholes are metaphysically prior to their parts or vice versa. Inman develops a fundamental mereology with a grounding-based conception of the structure and unity of substances at its core, what he calls substantial priority, one that distinctively allows for the fundamentality of ordinary, medium-sized composite objects. He offers both empirical and philosophical considerations against the view that the parts of every composite object are metaphysically prior, in particular the view that ascribes ontological pride of place to the smallest microphysical parts of composite objects, which currently dominates debates in metaphysics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. Ultimately, he demonstrates that substantial priority is well-motivated in virtue of its offering a unified solution to a host of metaphysical problems involving material objects.


    1. Serious Essentialism

    2. Grounding and Essence

    3. Fundamental Mereology and the Priority of Substance

    4. Against Part-Priority

    5. Substantial Priority: Cats, Statues, and Lumps

    6. Substantial Priority: Vagueness, the Many, and Overdetermination

    7. Getting Personal: Substantial Priority and Personal Ontology

    8. Counting the Cost

    9. Substantial Priority and Empirical Inadequacy


    Ross D. Inman is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, USA. He is a former Research Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, Center for Philosophy of Religion and Saint Louis University. He was awarded the 2014 Marc Sanders Prize in Philosophy of Religion. His research has appeared in Philosophical Studies, Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysica, and Philosophia Christi.

    "Ross Inman's book is a fine attempt to pursue afresh the question of what is fundamental in our ontology. The project is ambitious, well thought out, carefully investigated with attention to the detail and mastery of the literature—and the book is very well written . . . Even the reader who might have reasons to disagree with Inman's conclusions will find the book a very worthwhile read, and will have to engage with the many powerful arguments that Inman presents." Anna Marmodoro in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

    "Ross Inman’s book is an excellent new installment in the ongoing renaissance of Aristotelian metaphysics in analytic philosophy . . . Inman demonstrates that neo-Aristotelian hylomorphism has the resources to resolve a number of outstanding problems and paradoxes in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of physics."Robert C. Koons in Philosophia Christi