Blocking the path from vagueness to four dimensionalism

Ratio 18 (3):317–331 (2005)
There is a general form of an argument which I call the ‘argument from vagueness’ which attempts to show that objects persist by perduring, via the claim that vagueness is never ontological in nature and thus that composition is unrestricted. I argue that even if we grant that vagueness is always the result of semantic indeterminacy rather than ontological vagueness, and thus also grant that composition is unrestricted, it does not follow that objects persist by perduring. Unrestricted mereological composition lacks the power to ensure that there exist instantaneous objects that wholly overlap persisting objects at times, and thus lacks the power to ensure that there exists anything that could be called a temporal part. Even if we grant that such instantaneous objects exist, however, I argue that it does not follow that objects perdure. To show this I briefly outline a coherent version of three dimensionalism that grants just such an assumption. Thus considerations pertaining to the nature of vagueness need not lead us inevitably to accept perdurantism.
Keywords vagueness  perdurantism  unrestricted composition  vague existence
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DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2005.00293.x
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Ross Inman (2014). Neo-Aristotelian Plenitude. Philosophical Studies 168 (3):583-597.

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