Vol. 2 No. 1 (2020): Simon Fraser University Undergraduate Journal of Philosophy

Meg Wallace on Individuals in Lump Sum Theory: Creepy-Crawly Creatures Across Worlds

Published 2020-10-21


  • Lump Sum,
  • Modality,
  • Lumpl and Goliath,
  • Humphrey Objection,
  • Description Dependency


Modality research hones in on the questions and puzzles revolving around the nature of individuals, objects, and their identities (over time, too). Most philosophers who attempt to solve those modal puzzles broadly follow one of two lineages: David Lewis’ modal realism, or some version of Ersatzism. This paper explores “Lump Sum” theory, defended by Meg Wallace, and assesses how it stands as a new way (somewhat independent of established Lewisian or Ersatzer traditions) of solving prominent modal puzzles. The first puzzle is of “Lumpl and Goliath”, to which Wallace provides a shortcoming of the Lewisian framework. The second puzzle is Kripke’s “Humphrey Objection” to the apparent “disconnect” between Lewisian counterparts, to which I argue lump sum theory satisfies Kripke’s concern by providing a genuine and interesting connection to other possible people-parts. The last puzzle is on the question of whether an individual like myself could have been an object like an egg. There are different commitments one may invoke in analyzing that modal possibility for an individual, like Haecceitism or a form of essentialism. I argue context and description-dependency are important in answering the question. With that said, I find lump sum theory succeeds in being malleable and neutral as to how we approach the puzzle.