mereology, the term gunk applies to any whole whose parts all have further proper parts. That is, a gunky object is not made of indivisible "atoms". In contrast, an "atomic" individual is entirely decomposable into atoms.
If point-sized objects are always simple, then a gunky object does not have any point-sized parts. By usual accounts of gunk, such as
Alfred Tarski's in 1929, three-dimensional gunky objects also do not have other degenerate parts shaped like one-dimensional curves or two-dimensional surfaces. (See also " Whitehead's point-free geometry".)
Gunk is an important test case for accounts of the composition of material objects: for instance, Ted Sider has challenged
Peter van Inwagen's account of composition because it is inconsistent with the possibility of gunk. Sider's argument also applies to a simpler view than van Inwagen's: mereological "nihilism", the view that only material simples exist. If nihilism is necessarily true, then gunk is impossible. But, as Sider argues, because gunk is both conceivable and possible, nihilism is false, or at best a contingent truth.
Gunk has also played an important role in the history of
topology(Zimmerman 1996a) and in recent debates concerning change, contact, and the structure of physical space. The composition of space and the composition of material objects are related by "receptacles" - regions of space that could harbour a material object. (The term receptacles was coined by Richard Cartwright (Cartwright 1975).) It seems reasonable to assume that if space is gunky, a receptacle is gunky and then a material object is possibly gunky.
The term was first used by
David Lewisin his work "Parts of Classes" (1991) and "Nominalistic Set Theory" (1970). Dean W. Zimmerman defends the possibility of atomless gunk (1996b). See also Hud Hudson (2007).
* Cartwright, Richard, 1975, "Scattered Objects", in
Keith Lehrer, ed., "Analysis and Metaphysics" (Dordrecht: Reidel, 1975), pp. 153-171. Reprinted in "Philosophical Essays", pp. 171-186.
* Hud Hudson, 2007. "Simples and Gunk", "Philosophy Compass" 2 (2), pp. 291–302.
* Lewis, David, 1970. “Nominalistic Set Theory”, "Noûs" 4, pp. 225-40.
* Lewis, David, 1991. "Parts of Classes", Cambridge: Basil Blackwell.
* Sider, Ted, 1993. "Van Inwagen and the Possibility of Gunk", "Analysis". 53(4): 285-289.
* Tarski, Alfred, 1929. "Foundations of the Geometry of Solids."
* Zimmerman, Dean W., 1996a. "Indivisible Parts and Extended Objects: Some Philosophical Episodes from Topology’s Prehistory." "Monist" 79(1). 148–180.
* Zimmerman, Dean W., 1996b. "Could Extended Objects Be Made Out of Simple Parts? An Argument for 'Atomless Gunk'", "Philosophy and Phenomenological Research" 56: 1-29.
* [http://tedsider.org/papers/gunk.pdf Sider's "Van Inwagen and the Possibility of Gunk".]
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gunk up — [phrasal verb] gunk up (something) or gunk (something) up US, informal : to cause (something) to be dirty, sticky, or greasy Don t gunk up your hair with a lot of styling products. The mechanism gets gunked up if you don t clean it regularly … Useful english dictionary
gunk — n. any thick gooey and messy substance. [informal] Syn: goo, gook, guck, muck, ooze, sludge, slime. [WordNet 1.5] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
gunk — 1949, viscous substance, Amer.Eng., apparently from Gunk, trademark for a thick liquid soap patented 1932 by A.F. Curran Co. of Malden, Mass … Etymology dictionary
gunk — ► NOUN informal ▪ unpleasantly sticky or messy matter. ORIGIN the proprietary name of a US detergent … English terms dictionary
gunk — ☆ gunk [guŋk ] n. [< ? G(OO) + (J)UNK] Slang any oily, viscous, or thick, messy substance gunky adj … English World dictionary
gunk — [garjk] 1. n. any nasty, messy stuff. □ What is this gunk on the counter? □ Get this gunk up off the floor before it dries. 2. n. glue sniffed as a drug. (Drugs.) □ This kid is high on gunk. □ … Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions
gunk — gunk1 [ gʌŋk ] noun uncount INFORMAL any soft sticky or dirty substance ╾ gunk|y adjective gunk gunk 2 [ gʌŋk ] verb transitive AMERICAN INFORMAL be gunked up (with something) to be blocked or covered with a dirty sticky substance … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
gunk — [[t]gʌŋk[/t]] n. Slang. any sticky or greasy residue or accumulation • Etymology: 1932, amer.; orig. a trademark name for a degreasing solvent gunk′y, adj. gunk•i•er, gunk•i•est … From formal English to slang
gunk — gunk1 [gʌŋk] n [U] AmE informal [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: Gunk, a trademark for a type of soap] any substance that is dirty, sticky, or unpleasant British Equivalent: gunge >gunky adj gunk 2 gunk2 v be gunked up (with sth) AmE informal to be… … Dictionary of contemporary English
gunk — be·gunk; gunk; … English syllables