Is the Problem of the Many a Problem in Metaphysics?

Noûs 42 (4):746-752 (2008)
Kilimanjaro is a paradigmatic mountain, if any is. Consider atom Sparky, which is neither determinately part of Kilimanjaro nor determinately not part of it. Let Kilimanjaro(+) be the body of land constituted, in the way mountains are constituted by their constituent atoms, by the atoms that make up Kilimanjaro together with Sparky, and Kilimanjaro(–) the one constituted by those other than Sparky. On the one hand, there seems to be just one mountain in the vicinity of Kilimanjaro. On the other hand, both Kilimanjaro(+) and Kilimanjaro(–)—and indeed many other similar things—seem to have an equal claim to be a mountain: all of them exhibit the grounds for something being a mountain—like being an elevation of the earth’s surface rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level,1 or whathaveyou—; and there seems to be nothing in the vicinity with a better claim. Hence, the problem of the many
Keywords vagueness  problem of the many
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    References found in this work BETA
    Theodore Sider (2001). Maximality and Intrinsic Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):357 - 364.
    Peter Unger (1980). The Problem of the Many. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):411-468.
    Achille Varzi (2001). Vagueness in Geography. Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):49 – 65.
    Brian Weatherson (2003). Many Many Problems. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):481–501.

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