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  • Print publication year: 1994
  • Online publication date: May 2010

Appendix A - Chisholm's definition of organic unity


I wish to consider briefly Chisholm's attempt to define an organic unity. One merit of his approach is that it does not make use of the notion of a “sum” of values. In Brentano and Intrinsic Value, he offers the following definitions:

(D1) P is a part of Q = Df Q is necessarily such that (a) if it obtains then P obtains, and (b) whoever conceives Q conceives P.

(D2) Some of the goodness of G is defeated by W = Df. B is a good part of W and better than W; and if Whas a bad part that is worse than W, then that bad part is part of G.

(D3) Some of the badness of B is defeated by W-Df B is a bad part of W and worse than W; and if W has a good part that is better than W, then that good part is a part of B.

Given the definition of a part in (D1), every state of affairs is a part of itself. Thus, in (D2) and (D3) we should take the definition of “part” to refer to “proper parts.”,P is a proper part of Q if and only if P is a part of Q and Q is not a part of P.

The defeat of goodness can be illustrated by pleasure in the bad. Consider the state of affairs, Smith's being pleased that Jones is suffering.

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Intrinsic Value
  • Online ISBN: 9780511663802
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