Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 January 2022
It is tempting to reject incrementism on the grounds that new objects may be brought into existence by giving existing objects certain features that are contingent to them. For example, we seem to bring an object into existence by manipulating a wad of clay so that it takes a sundial shape. One argument that supports this criticism of incrementism presumes that things compose objects by virtue of being simply bonded. But while something along these lines may seem plausible as regards composition at a time, it is not promising at all as regards persistence, or composition over time. Another argument presumes that a wide range of count nouns, favored count nouns such as “sundial,” pick out objects – that the features that suffice for some things to fall under some such count noun also suffice for those things to compose an object. It turns out, however, that things that clearly do not compose objects may, together, fall under “sundial,” and the same is likely to be true of other favored count nouns. Instead of rejecting incrementism, I suggest that when we give existing object features that are contingent to them we bring no new objects into the world.