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Mereological Triangle


Hans Burkhardt


Pages 352 - 354



The Mereological Triangle was introduced by Hans Burkhardt in 1989 following an idea of Carlos A. Dufour. Fundamental are two distinctions. These are 1) the distinction between two kinds of totalities, a whole (either essential or essential wholes) and an aggregate or heap; 2) the distinction between two kinds of whole, the essential whole and the integral whole.




1Department of Philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians University at Munich



1 Burkhardt, H., (1989), “The Part-Whole Relation in the Philosophy of Leibniz”, in Rescher, N. (ed.) Leibnizian Inquiries. A Group of Essays. Lanham New York London: University Press of America, 171-181.

2 Burkhardt, H.; Degen, W., (1990), “Mereology in Leibniz’s Logic and Philosophy”, Topoi, 9: 3-13.

3 Burkhardt, H.; Dufour, C., (1991), “The History of Part-Whole Relation”, in: Burkhardt, H.; Smith, B. (eds.) Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology, Munich: Philosophia, 663-673.

4 Gerstl, L.; Pribbenow, S., (1993), “Midwinters, End-Games, and Body Parts. A Classification of Part-Whole Relations”, in Guarino, N.; Poli, R. (eds.), International Workshop on Formal Ontology in Conceptual Analysis and Knowledge Representation, LADSEB-CNR International Report 01/93, 251-260. Goclenius, Rudolphus 1613 Lexicon Philosophicum, Frankfurt. Nachdruck Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1980.

5 Leibniz, G. W., (1679), Characteristica geometrica. Hg. v. G. I. Gerhardt, Leibnizens Mathematische Schriften, Vol. 5, Halle, 1849-1863.

6 Libardi, M., (1994), “Application and Limits of Mereology. From the Theory of Parts to the Theory of Wholes”, Axiomathes 1, April 13-54.

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