Sider (Four-dimensionalism 2001; Philos Stud 114:135–146, 2003; Nous 43:557–567, 2009) has developed an influential argument against indeterminacy in existence. In what follows, I argue that the defender of metaphysical forms of indeterminate existence has a unique way of responding to Sider’s argument. The response I’ll offer is interesting not only for its applicability to Sider’s argument, but also for its broader implications; responding to Sider helps to show both how we should think about precisification in the context of metaphysical indeterminacy (...) and how we should understand commitment to metaphysically indeterminate existence. And if I’m right that metaphysical indeterminacy can allow for indeterminate existence in a way that semantic indeterminacy can’t, indeterminate existence might actually give us a reason to accept metaphysical indeterminacy (rather than a reason to reject it, as is commonly assumed). (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for a new way of characterizing ontological emergence. I appeal to recent discussions in meta-ontology regarding fundamentality and dependence, and show how emergence can be simply and straightforwardly characterized using these notions. I then argue that many of the standard problems for emergence do not apply to this account: given a clearly specified meta-ontological background, emergence becomes much easier to explicate. If my arguments are successful, they show both a helpful way of thinking about emergence (...) and the potential utility of discussions in meta-ontology when applied to first-order metaphysics. (shrink)
Many of us are tempted by the thought that the future is open, whereas the past is not. The future might unfold one way, or it might unfold another; but the past, having occurred, is now settled. In previous work we presented an account of what openness consists in: roughly, that the openness of the future is a matter of it being metaphysically indeterminate how things will turn out to be. We were previously concerned merely with presenting the view and (...) exploring its consequences; we did not attempt to argue for it over rival accounts. That is what we will aim to do in this paper. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a framework for understanding ontic vagueness. The project of the paper is two-fold. I first outline a definitional account of ontic vagueness – one that I think is an improvement on previous attempts because it remains neutral on other, independent metaphysical issues. I then develop one potential manifestation of that basic definitional structure. This is a more robust (and much less neutral) account which gives a fully classical explication of ontic vagueness via modal concepts. The (...) overarching aim is to systematically investigate the puzzling question of what exactly it could be for the world itself to be vague. (shrink)
abstract In this paper I develop a characterization of disability according to which disability is in no way a sub-optimal feature. I argue, however, that this conception of disability is compatible with the idea that having a disability is, at least in a restricted sense, a harm. I then go on to argue that construing disability in this way avoids many of the common objections levelled at accounts which claim that disability is not a negative feature.
In this paper I argue that Gareth Evans’ famous proof of the impossibility of de re indeterminate identity fails on a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of the determinacy operators. I attempt to motivate a counterpart-theoretic reading of the determinacy operators and then show that, understood counterpart-theoretically, Evans’ argument is straightforwardly invalid.
In this paper we aim to disentangle the thesis that the future is open from theses that often get associated or even conflated with it. In particular, we argue that the open future thesis is compatible with both the unrestricted principle of bivalence and determinism with respect to the laws of nature. We also argue that whether or not the future (and indeed the past) is open has no consequences as to the existence of (past and) future ontology.
We discuss arguments against the thesis that the world itself can be vague. The first section of the paper distinguishes dialectically effective from ineffective arguments against metaphysical vagueness. The second section constructs an argument against metaphysical vagueness that promises to be of the dialectically effective sort: an argument against objects with vague parts. Firstly, cases of vague parthood commit one to cases of vague identity. But we argue that Evans' famous argument against will not on its own enable one to (...) complete the reductio in the present context. We provide a metaphysical premise that would complete the reductio, but note that it seems deniable. We conclude by drawing general morals from our case study. (shrink)
This thesis is a systematic investigation of whether there might be conceptual room for the idea that the world itself might be vague, independently of how we describe it. This idea – the existence of so-called ontic vagueness – has generally been extremely unpopular in the literature; my thesis thus seeks to evaluate whether this ‘negative press’ is justified. I start by giving a working definition and semantics for ontic vagueness, and then attempt to show that there are no conclusive (...) arguments that rule out vagueness of this kind. I subsequently establish what type of arguments I think would be most effective in establishing ontic vagueness and provide some arguments of this form. I then highlight a potential worry for this type of argument, but argue that it can be circumvented. Finally, I consider the main ways that the opponent of ontic vagueness would be likely resist the arguments I have offered, and argue that these strategies of response are methodologically problematic. I conclude by claiming that ontic vagueness is a perfectly plausible ontological commitment. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Trenton Merricks's (2005) paper ‘Composition and Vagueness’. I argue that Merricks's paper faces the following difficulty: he claims to provide independent motivation for denying one of the premisses of the Lewis-Sider vagueness argument for unrestricted composition, but the alleged motivation he provides begs the question.
In recent literature on vagueness, writers have noted that more ‘plentiful’ theories of properties – those that postulate genuine properties corresponding to the classically vague predicates like ‘bald’ and ‘heap’ – appear straightforwardly committed to ontic vagueness. In this paper, however, I will argue that worries of ontic vagueness are not specific to ‘plentiful’ accounts of properties. The classically ‘sparse’ theories of properties – Universals and tropes – will, I contend, be subject to similar difficulties.