The conceptual tool of part-whole relations resolves a paradox: it allows for something to be viewed as both ‘one’ and ‘many’ at the same time. On the one hand, it enables us to analyse one thing as more than one by decomposing it into parts. On the other hand, it allows us to view many things as one if we posit a single whole that they are parts of. Both analytic steps facilitate generalisations: wholes that appear distinct may turn out to be similar by sharing some of their parts, and assemblages of different things may form wholes that are in some respects alike.
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