THEIR WHOLE-, PART- AND PSEUDO-ATTRIBUTES
To exist, a whole of things must have at least one real
attribute in addition to its parts.
(See section 1.3.2.)
Not only should such an attribute not be a pseudo-attribute, it should also
be an attribute of the whole itself rather than of one or more
(or even all) of its component parts.
(It may be a derelativized relation
So far as such a whole-attribute is a prerequisite for the existence of
the whole, it must be logically independent of the part-attributes.
In other words, a whole is a gestalt, that is, a unit with
attributes in addition to and not derivable from its parts in summation.
It is in this literal sense that a whole is 'greater' than the sum of its
If whole-attributes could be derived from part-attributes,
every set or 'sum' of concrete individuals could pop up as an
entity, since one can always conceive of a physical attribute
which would correspond to the 'sum' of the part-attributes.
Thus, the volume of the whole, which is the total of the
volumes of its parts, would be a characteristic of the whole,
however far separated from one another its parts. Another such
'improper' whole-attribute would be the one relating to the
average value of its component parts.
The difference between attributes of a (whole) thing and attributes of its
parts is often crucial and has but too often been blurred, for example, in
discussions on individuation and identity
Somebody who has brown hair first and grey hair later in life does
not have any different property at all later on.
Instead, such a person('s body) has a component part
or parts (the person's hair) which were brown first and grey
later on. It is this part or these parts which change properties.
Strictly speaking, a whole consisting of several phenomenal
parts actually never has any color of its own. If it is said
to be parti-colored or to have one or more colors, these colors
are the qualia, qualities or attributes of its parts. Only if
all parts have, or seem to have, the same color, may this color,
for the sake of convenience, be attributed to the whole
consisting of these parts.
Now, some predicate expressions precisely refer to the having
of parts with certain characteristics or of a certain kind. In
the above example one might come up with having brown hair (or
<-- has brown hair>) and having grey hair as predicate
terms designating a property of somebody considered as a whole.
Such predicate expressions have to be devised in an
objectualist ontology which cannot handle
the part-whole relation very well.
attributivist standpoint, however, it is
evident that such constructions are completely artificial and do not
denote any real attribute of the whole itself.
Particularly notorious expressions of this ilk are being cordate
and being renate, because they happen to have the same extension,
so far as known.
Cordateness is having a heart; renateness is having kidneys.
As hearts and kidneys are organs or parts of the animal
beings which have them, to say that an animal being is 'cordate' or
'renate' is nothing else than to say that it has parts of a
certain type. Such expressions could be constructed for any type
of having parts, for example, for a table which would be
'legged' or 'four-legged'.
But of course, this in no way forces us to accept attributes like
'leggedness', 'four-leggedness' or, for that matter, quadrupedality as
Cordateness is having a heart, not the property of having a
particular part which is a heart or which has the property of
being a heart (provided there is such a unitary factual
attribute). If it were a question of having one particular
thing which is a heart, there would be as many cordateness
properties as there are hearts and mammals. Each such property
would, then, be a haecceity predicate of the mammal concerned,
that is, a predicate which no other thing has or can have as
well. To avoid this consequence the predicate being a heart must
be brought in, or a combination of predicates necessary to keep
the same total meaning of (being a) heart. Cordateness is then
the property of having something as a part that is a heart.
'Cordateness' and also 'renateness' are therefore pseudo-attributes.
It is easy to understand why they are not synonyms in spite of
cordate and renate being true of the same things: being a
heart is just not the same as being a kidney, even tho one might have
thought that having a heart amounts to the same as having a kidney.
The ontological heartiness of logicians with
kidneys has allowed some theoreticians to array their body of
thought with the most fancy of predicate terms, also where the
structure of wholes and parts is concerned. From a constructional
point of view, however, it remains important that attributes
of parts (such as being a heart) can be clearly and distinctly
told apart from attributes of the whole (other than
pseudo-predicates such as being cordate or having a heart). It
is on this distinction that the existence of wholes or gestalts
depends. Without the recognition of this distinction one will
never gain a full insight into the configuration of these wholes.