A Plea for Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem about Vague Composition and Vague Existence?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Philosophy 102 (8):381-421 (2005)
Although they might not express themselves in quite this way, non-philosophers tend to think that mereological composition is a vague matter : sometimes it occurs, sometimes it does not, and sometimes it sort of occurs. For example, when I am building a boat, at ﬁrst the timbers that I have acquired for the job do not jointly compose an entity; in the end they do—they compose the boat that I have built; and in between they sort of or more or less or to some extent compose an entity, which in turn sort of or more or less or to some extent exists—this entity being the boat I am building. This idea seems innocuous enough. However, the orthodox view amongst philosophers is that composition can never be a vague matter, because vague composition entails vague existence (the common-sense view agrees with this step), and vague existence is impossible if not nonsensical. Let us call the following the ‘orthodox argument’.
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Citations of this work BETA
Daniel Z. Korman (2010). The Argument From Vagueness. Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
Bert Baumgaertner (2012). Vagueness Intuitions and the Mobility of Cognitive Sortals. Minds and Machines 22 (3):213-234.
A. J. Cotnoir (2013). Strange Parts: The Metaphysics of Non‐Classical Mereologies. Philosophy Compass 8 (9):834-845.
Nikk Effingham (2011). Universalism and Classes. Dialectica 65 (3):451-472.
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