In a recent interview, the historian Niall Ferguson is asked what his thesis is re the 2nd world war, and he says
“That there was no such thing. There were multiple conflicts that we choose to lump together.”
I’m not sure what the point is here: a denial of unrestricted composition over events? I mean, everyone agrees that the 2nd world war was composed of many distinct conflicts, don’t they? Surely we can just lump them together and name that ‘the second world war’. What’s the content of this thesis then?
Other news regarding composition: I’ve just found out that my paper ‘The Contingency of Composition’ will be coming out in a special issue of Philosophical Studies devoted to papers from the 2006 BSPC at WWU. This makes me happy – this was the first paper I wrote whose content didn’t overlap at all with that of my thesis, so getting it published makes me feel all grown up!