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  1. People and places.John Horden & Dan López de Sa - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Several authors have argued that socially significant places such as countries, cities and establishments are immaterial objects, despite their being spatially located. In contrast, we aim to defend a reductive materialist view of such entities, which identifies them with their physical territories or premises. Accordingly, these are all material objects; typically, aggregates of land and infrastructure. Admittedly, our terms for these entities may also sometimes be used to denote their associated groups of people. But as long as countries, cities and (...)
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  2. When do parts form wholes? Integrated information as the restriction on mereological composition.Kelvin J. McQueen & Naotsugu Tsuchiya - forthcoming - Neuroscience of Consciousness.
    Under what conditions are material objects, such as particles, parts of a whole object? This is the composition question and is a longstanding open question in philosophy. Existing attempts to specify a non-trivial restriction on composition tend to be vague and face serious counterexamples. Consequently, two extreme answers have become mainstream: composition (the forming of a whole by its parts) happens under no or all conditions. In this paper, we provide a self-contained introduction to the integrated information theory of consciousness (...)
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  3. The Epistemic Consequences of Paradox.Bryan Frances - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    By pooling together exhaustive analyses of certain philosophical paradoxes, we can prove a series of fascinating results regarding philosophical progress, agreement on substantive philosophical claims, knockdown arguments in philosophy, the wisdom of philosophical belief, the epistemic status of metaphysics, and the power of philosophy to refute common sense. As examples, this Element examines the Sorites Paradox, the Liar Paradox, and the Problem of the Many – although many other paradoxes can do the trick too.
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  4. Coincident Objects and The Grounding Problem.Ataollah Hashemi - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Investigations at University of Tabriz 16 (41):164-173.
    Pluralists believe in the occurrence of numerically distinct spatiotemporal coincident objects. They argue that there are coincident objects that share all physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations; nevertheless, they differ in terms of modal and some other profiles. Appealing to the grounding problem according to which nothing can ground the modal differences between coincident objects, monists reject the occurrence of coincident objects. In the first part of this paper, I attempt to show that the dispute between monists and pluralists cannot (...)
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  5. Thought and Talk in a Generous World.Alexander Sandgren - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    The problem of the many seems to problematize the platitude that we can think about particular things in the world. How is it that, given how very many cat-like candidates there are, we often manage to think and talk about a particular cat? I argue that this challenge stems from an under-examined assumption about the relationship between metaphysics and intentionality. I explore and develop a way of characterizing what it is to think and talk about the world, according to which (...)
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  6. Philosophical proofs against common sense.Bryan Frances - 2021 - Analysis 81 (1):18-26.
    Many philosophers are sceptical about the power of philosophy to refute commonsensical claims. They look at the famous attempts and judge them inconclusive. I prove that, even if those famous attempts are failures, there are alternative successful philosophical proofs against commonsensical claims. After presenting the proofs I briefly comment on their significance.
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  7. Metaphysics, bullshit, and the analysis of philosophical problems.Bryan Frances - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):11541-11554.
    Although metaphysics has made an impressive comeback over the past half century, there are still a great many philosophers today who think it is bullshit, under numerous precisifications of ‘That’s just bullshit’ so that it’s a negative assessment and doesn’t apply to most philosophy. One encounters this attitude countless times in casual conversations, social media, and occasionally in print. Is it true?
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  8. Models as Hypostatizations: The Case of Supervaluationism in Semantics.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2021 - In Alejandro Cassini & Juan Redmond (eds.), Models and Idealizations in Science: Artifactual and Fictional Approaches. Springer Verlag. pp. 179-197.
    Manuel García Carpintero defends a form of antirealism for the explicit talk and thought both about fictional entities and scientific models: a version of StephenYablo’s figuralist brand of factionalism. He argues that, in contrast with pretense-theoretic fictionalist proposals, on his view, utterances in those discourses are straightforward assertions with straightforward truth-conditions, involving a particular kind of metaphors or figurative manner. But given that the relevant metaphors are all but “dead”, this might suggest that the view is after all realist, committed (...)
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  9. Many problems of the many.Hao Hong - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3101-3116.
    David Lewis offers two solutions to the problem of the many, one of which relies on supervaluationism and the other on the notion of “almost-identity” for the most part. In this paper, I argue that Lewis’ other metaphysical views constitute reasons to prefer his second solution to the first one. Specifically, Lewis’ theory of propositions and his counterpart theory give rise to two similar problems of the many, which I call “the problem of many propositions” and “the problem of many (...)
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  10. Double-counting and the problem of the many.David Liebesman - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (1):209-234.
    There is a defeasible constraint against double counting. When I count colours, for instance, I can’t freely count both a colour and its shades. Once we properly grasp this constraint, we can solve the problem of the many. Unlike other solutions, this solution requires us to reject neither our counting judgments, nor the metaphysical principles that seemingly conflict with them. The key is recognizing that the judgments and principles are compatible due to the targeted effects of the defeasible constraint.
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  11. Thinking about many.James Openshaw - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2863-2882.
    The notorious problem of the many makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that almost coincident with any ordinary object are a vast number of near-indiscernible objects. As Unger was aware in his presentation of the problem, this abundance raises a concern as to how—and even whether—we achieve singular thought about ordinary objects. This paper presents, clarifies, and defends a view which reconciles a plenitudinous conception of ordinary objects with our having singular thoughts about those objects. Indeed, this strategy has (...)
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  12. Many, but one.Evan T. Woods - 2019 - Synthese 198 (Suppl 18):4609-4626.
    The problem of the many threatens to show that, in general, there are far more ordinary objects than you might have thought. I present and motivate a solution to this problem using many-one identity. According to this solution, the many things that seem to have what it takes to be, say, a cat, are collectively identical to that single cat.
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  13. What are Tropes, Fundamentally? A Formal Ontological Account.Jani Hakkarainen - 2018 - Acta Philosophica Fennica 94:129-159.
    In this paper, I elaborate on the Strong Nuclear Theory (SNT) of tropes and substances, which I have defended elsewhere, using my metatheory about formal ontology and especially fundamental ontological form. According to my metatheory, for an entity to have an ontological form is for it to be a relatum of a formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. The full fundamental ontological form is generically identical to a simple formal ontological relation or relations jointly in an order. (...)
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  14. Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles about Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):842-868.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the solutions to the new (...)
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  15. La Multiplicidad de los Entes según Tomás de Aquino.Fernando Riofrío Zúñiga - 2017 - Saarbrüken, Germany: Editorial Académica Española. OmniScriptum.
    These PhD Dissertation published as a book is a research on Metaphysics about the problem of Multiplicity explained by its principles on the grounds of Aristotle's Metaphysics focused on substance and metaphysical thought of Aquinas. According to Aquinas the multitude of forms are the cause of multiplicity of beings. Super Boethium De Trinitate has an importan treatment of matter and form as causes of substantial identity, of substance's non-being and something else and be a this. Therefore the multiplicity of beings (...)
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  16. Ontology, Composition, Quantification and Action.Bryan Frances - 2016 - Analysis 76 (2):137-142.
    The literature on material composition has largely ignored the composition of actions and events. I argue that this is a mistake. I present a set of individually plausible yet jointly inconsistent claims regarding the connection between quantification and existence, the composition of physical entities and the logical forms of action sentences.
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  17. Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction?David Liebesman - 2016 - Synthese 193 (1):185-203.
    Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction? My answer is no. I motivate this answer in two ways. First, I argue against Chierchia’s recent attempt to explain the distinction in terms of vagueness. Second, I give a more general argument that no such account will succeed.
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  18. Multiple Constitution.Nicholas K. Jones - 2015 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 9. Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press UK. pp. 217-261.
    This paper outlines a novel solution to the problem of the many and a conception of ordinary objects that implies it. The solution is that many collections of particles can simultaneously constitute a single object. The proposed conception of ordinary objects maintains that they are fundamentally subjects of change: the changes an object is able to survive explain its constitution.
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  19. Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Dana Zemack.
    One of the central questions of material-object metaphysics is which highly visible objects there are right before our eyes. Daniel Z. Korman defends a conservative view, according to which our ordinary, natural judgments about which objects there are are more or less correct. He begins with an overview of the arguments that have led people away from the conservative view, into revisionary views according to which there are far more objects than we ordinarily take there to be or far fewer. (...)
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  20. Almost One, Overlap and Function.C. S. Sutton - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):45-52.
    In David Lewis’s famous ‘Many, but Almost One’, he argues that when objects of the same kind share most of their parts, they can be counted as one. I argue that mereological overlap does not do the trick. A better candidate is overlap in function. Although mereological overlap often goes hand-in-hand with functional overlap, a functional approach is more accurate in cases in which mereology and function are teased apart. A functional approach also solves a version of the problem of (...)
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  21. Derivative Properties and the Too Many Thinkers Problem.Joungbin Lim - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (2):369-380.
    The central objection to the constitution view is the too many thinkers problem - if the animal that constitutes you thinks and you are not it, then there are two thinkers within the region you occupy. Lynne Rudder Baker claims that the animal thinks only derivatively, in virtue of constituting the person that thinks nonderivatively, and this leads to a solution to the too many thinkers problem. This paper offers two objections to Baker’s solution. First, the idea of derivative/ nonderivative (...)
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  22. Lewis vs Lewis on the problem of the many.Dan López de Sa - 2014 - Synthese 191 (6):1105-1117.
    Consider a cat on a mat. On the one hand, there seems to be just one cat, but on the other there seem to be many things with as good a claim as anything in the vicinity to being a cat. Hence, the problem of the many. In his ‘Many, but Almost One,’ David Lewis offered two solutions. According to the first, only one of the many is indeed a cat, although it is indeterminate exactly which one. According to the (...)
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  23. Indeterminate Comprehension.Jonathan A. Simon - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):39-48.
    Can we solve the Problem of the Many, and give a general account of the indeterminacy in definite descriptions that give rise to it, by appealing to metaphysically indeterminate entities? I argue that we cannot. I identify a feature common to the relevant class of definite descriptions, and derive a contradiction from the claim that each such description is satisfied by a metaphysically indeterminate entity.
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  24. The problem of the many.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016.
    As anyone who has flown out of a cloud knows, the boundaries of a cloud are a lot less sharp up close than they can appear on the ground. Even when it seems clearly true that there is one, sharply bounded, cloud up there, really there are thousands of water droplets that are neither determinately part of the cloud, nor determinately outside it. Consider any object that consists of the core of the cloud, plus an arbitrary selection of these droplets. (...)
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  25. Solitude without Souls: Why Peter Unger hasn’t Established Substance Dualism.Will Bynoe & Nicholas K. Jones - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (1):109-125.
    Unger has recently argued that if you are the only thinking and experiencing subject in your chair, then you are not a material object. This leads Unger to endorse a version of Substance Dualism according to which we are immaterial souls. This paper argues that this is an overreaction. We argue that the specifically Dualist elements of Unger’s view play no role in his response to the problem; only the view’s structure is required, and that is available to Unger’s opponents. (...)
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  26. Introduction: Vagueness and Ontology.Geert Keil - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):149-164.
    The article introduces a special issue of the journal _Metaphysica_ on vagueness and ontology. The conventional view has it that all vagueness is semantic or representational. Russell, Dummett, Evans and Lewis, inter alia, have argued that the notion of “ontic” or “metaphysical” vagueness is not even intelligible. In recent years, a growing minority of philosophers have tried to make sense of the notion and have spelled it out in various ways. The article gives an overview and relates the idea of (...)
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  27. Reasoning Without the Principle of Sufficient Reason.Shieva Kleinschmidt - 2013 - In Tyron Goldschmidt (ed.), The Philosophy of Existence: Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing? Routledge. pp. 64-79.
    According to Principles of Sufficient Reason, every truth (in some relevant group) has an explanation. One of the most popular defenses of Principles of Sufficient Reason has been the presupposition of reason defense, which takes endorsement of the defended PSR to play a crucial role in our theory selection. According to recent presentations of this defense, our method of theory selection often depends on the assumption that, if a given proposition is true, then it has an explanation, and this will (...)
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  28. What are natural kinds?1.Katherine Hawley & Alexander Bird - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):205-221.
    We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
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  29. Ordinary objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  30. The Exclusion Problem Meets the Problem of Many Causes.Matthew C. Haug - 2010 - Erkenntnis 73 (1):55-65.
    In this paper I develop a novel response to the exclusion problem. I argue that the nature of the events in the causally complete physical domain raises the “problem of many causes”: there will typically be countless simultaneous low-level physical events in that domain that are causally sufficient for any given high-level physical event. This shows that even reductive physicalists must admit that the version of the exclusion principle used to pose the exclusion problem against non-reductive physicalism is too strong. (...)
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  31. Too Many Cats: The Problem of the Many and the Metaphysics of Vagueness.Nicholas K. Jones - 2010 - Dissertation, Birkbeck, University of London
    Unger’s Problem of the Many seems to show that the familiar macroscopic world is much stranger than it appears. From plausible theses about the boundaries of or- dinary objects, Unger drew the conclusion that wherever there seems to be just one cat, cloud, table, human, or thinker, really there are many millions; and likewise for any other familiar kind of individual. In Lewis’s hands, this puzzle was subtly altered by an appeal to vagueness or indeterminacy about the the boundaries of (...)
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  32. Parts and wholes.Kris McDaniel - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (5):412-425.
    Philosophical questions concerning parts and wholes have received a tremendous amount of the attention of contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In what follows, I discuss some of the central questions. The questions to be discussed are: how general is parthood? Are there different kinds of parthood or ways to be a part? Can two things be composed of the same parts? When does composition occur? Can material objects gain or lose parts? What is the logical form of the parthood relation enjoyed by (...)
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  33. 1. the problem of the many.Thomas Sattig - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 5:145.
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  34. Indeterminate truth.Patrick Greenough - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):213-241.
    In §2-4, I survey three extant ways of making sense of indeterminate truth and find each of them wanting. All the later sections of the paper are concerned with showing that the most promising way of making sense of indeterminate truth is via either a theory of truthmaker gaps or via a theory of truthmaking gaps. The first intimations of a truthmaker–truthmaking gap theory of indeterminacy are to be found in Quine (1981). In §5, we see how Quine proposes to (...)
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  35. Is the Problem of the Many a Problem in Metaphysics?Dan López de Sa - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):746-752.
    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 (...)
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  36. A new problem of the many.Neil McKinnon - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):80-97.
    Peter Unger's 'problem of the many' has elicited many responses over the past quarter of a century. Here I present a new problem of the many. This new problem, I claim, is resistant to the solutions cunently on offer for Unger's problem.
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  37. Endurantism, diachronic vagueness and the problem of the many.By Kristie Miller - 2008 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2):242–253.
    A plausible desideratum for an account of the nature of objects, at, and across time, is that it accommodate the phenomenon of vagueness without locating vagueness in the world. A series of arguments have attempted to show that while universalist perdurantism – which combines a perdurantist account of persistence with an unrestricted mereological account of composition – meets this desideratum, endurantist accounts do not. If endurantists reject unrestricted composition then they must hold that vagueness is ontological. But if they embrace (...)
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  38. The problem of the many minds.Bradley Monton & Sanford Goldberg - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (4):463-470.
    It is argued that, given certain reasonable premises, an infinite number of qualitatively identical but numerically distinct minds exist per functioning brain. The three main premises are (1) mental properties supervene on brain properties; (2) the universe is composed of particles with nonzero extension; and (3) each particle is composed of continuum-many point-sized bits of particle-stuff, and these points of particle-stuff persist through time.
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  39. An argument for the many.Robert Williams - 2006 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):411-419.
    If one believes that vagueness is an exclusively representational phenomenon, one faces the problem of the many. In the vicinity of Kilimanjaro, there are many many ‘mountain candidates’ all, apparently, with more-or-less equal claim to be mountains. David Lewis has defended a radical claim: that all the billions of mountain candidates are mountains. This paper argues that the supervaluationist about vagueness should adopt Lewis’ proposal, on pain of losing their best explanation of the seductiveness of the sorites.
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  40. Dion, theon, and the many-thinkers problem.Michael B. Burke - 2004 - Analysis 64 (3):242–250.
    Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? In Burke 1994, employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defended a surprising position last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. This paper defends that position against objections by Stone, Carter, Olson, and others. Most notably, it offers a novel, conservative solution (...)
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  41. The Mental Problems of the Many.Peter Unger - 2004 - In Dean W. Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Vol. 1. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 195-222.
  42. Is My Head a Person?Michael B. Burke - 2003 - In Klaus Petrus (ed.), On Human Persons. Heusenstamm Nr Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag. pp. 107-125.
    It is hard to see why the head and other brain-containing parts of a person are not themselves persons, or at least thinking, conscious beings. Some theorists have sought to reconcile us to the existence of thinking person-parts. Others have sought to avoid them but have relied on radical theories at odds with the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. This paper offers a novel, conservative solution, one on which the heads and other brain-containing parts of persons do exist (...)
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  43. Maximality and consciousness.Trenton Merricks - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1):150-158.
    Being conscious is intrinsic. Suppose P, a conscious human being, “shrinks” by losing an atom from her left index finger. Suppose that at the very first instant at which P has lost that atom, the atoms that then compose her remain just as they were immediately before “the loss.” This implies—assuming MS for reductio—that, just as those atoms compose a conscious object after the loss, so they composed a conscious object before the loss. Name that latter object ‘the atom-complement’.
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  44. Many many problems.Brian Weatherson - 2003 - Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):481–501.
    Recently four different papers have suggested that the supervaluational solution to the Problem of the Many is flawed. Stephen Schiffer (1998, 2000a, 2000b) has argued that the theory cannot account for reports of speech involving vague singular terms. Vann McGee and Brian McLaughlin (2000) say that theory cannot, yet, account for vague singular beliefs. Neil McKinnon (2002) has argued that we cannot provide a plausible theory of when precisifications are acceptable, which the supervaluational theory needs. And Roy Sorensen (2000) argues (...)
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  45. Objects and Persons. [REVIEW]Michael B. Burker - 2002 - Philosophical Review 111 (4):586-588.
    Over the last two or three decades, puzzles concerning vagueness, identity, and material constitution have led an increasing number of ontologists to “eliminate” at least some of the objects of folk ontology. In the book here reviewed, Trenton Merricks proposes to eliminate any and all material objects that lack nonredundant causal powers. The objects found lacking include statues, baseballs, planets, and all other inanimate macroscopica, including the masses and conjunctive objects favored by some other eliminativists. The objects found to possess (...)
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  46. Passage, Persistence and Precision.Neil McKinnon - 2002 - Dissertation, Monash University
    Time passes, and the inexorability of its passing has deep emotional significance. One of the main themes of this thesis involves an investigation into the metaphysical nature of the passage of time. What sort of metaphysical account of passage should be given? And do our emotional responses to temporal passage have metaphysical implications? The other main theme of the thesis is the issue of the metaphysics of persistence. When a thing is present at more than one time, what is the (...)
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  47. Supervaluations and the problem of the many.Neil McKinnon - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):320-339.
    Supervaluational treatments of vagueness are currently quite popular among those who regard vagueness as a thoroughly semantic phenomenon. Peter Unger's 'problem of the many' may be regarded as arising from the vagueness of our ordinary physical-object terms, so it is not surprising that supervaluational solutions to Unger's problem have been offered. I argue that supervaluations do not afford an adequate solution to the problem of the many. Moreover, the considerations I raise against the supervaluational solution tell also against the solution (...)
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  48. The Ontology of Material Objects.Eric T. Olson - 2002 - Philosophical Books 43 (4):292-299.
    [First paragraph] For a long time philosophers thought material objects were unproblematic. Or nearly so. There may have been a problem about what a material object is: a substance, a bundle of tropes, a compound of substratum and universals, a collection of sense-data, or what have you. But once that was settled there were supposed to be no further metaphysical problems about material objects. This illusion has now largely been dispelled. No one can get a Ph.D. in philosophy nowadays without (...)
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  49. The Thesis of Vague Objects and Unger's Problem of the Many.David B. Hershenov - 2001 - Philosophical Papers 30 (1):57-67.
    Although the predominant view is that vagueness is due to our language being imprecise, the alternative idea that objects themselves do not have determinate borders has received an occasional hearing. But what has failed to be appreciated is how this idea can avoid a puzzle Peter Unger named “The Problem of the Many.”[i].
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  50. A materialist metaphysics of the human person.Hud Hudson - 2001 - Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
    Introduction In the first four chapters of this book, I develop and defend a monistic account of human persons according to which human persons are highly ...
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