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103 found
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  1. Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness.Kenneth Silver - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-14.
    The Causal Exclusion Problem is raised in many domains, including in the metaphysics of macroscopic objects. If there is a complete explanation of macroscopic effects in terms of the microscopic entities that compose macroscopic objects, then the efficacy of the macroscopic will be threatened with exclusion. I argue that we can avoid the problem if we accept that macroscopic objects are ontically vague. Then, it is indeterminate which collection of microscopic entities compose them, and so information about microscopic entities is (...)
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  2. How Many there Are Isn’t.Jonah P. B. Goldwater - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):1037-1057.
    A world where there exists n concrete things is a count-determinate world. The orthodox view is count-determinacy is necessary; if to be is to be the value of a variable and the domain of quantification is enumerable, count-determinacy follows. Yet I argue how many there are can be indeterminate; count-indeterminacy is metaphysically possible and even likely actual. Notably, my argument includes rebuttals of Evans’ reductio of indeterminate identity and the Lewis/Sider ‘argument from vagueness’. Count-indeterminacy should therefore be recognized as another (...)
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  3. Ontic Indeterminacy: Chinese Madhyamaka in the Contemporary Context.Chien-Hsing Ho - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):419-433.
    A number of analytical philosophers have recently endorsed the view that the world itself is indeterminate in some respect. Intriguingly, ideas similar to the view are expressed by thinkers from Chinese Madhyamaka Buddhism, which may shed light on the current discussion of worldly indeterminacy. Using as a basis Chinese Madhyamaka thought, together with Jessica Wilson’s account of indeterminacy, I develop an ontological conception of indeterminacy, termed ontic indeterminacy, which centres on two complementary ideas—conclusive indeterminability and provisional determinability. I show that (...)
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  4. Vague Existence.Alessandro Torza - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10.
    Ted Sider has famously argued that existence, in the unrestricted sense of ontology, cannot be vague, as long as vagueness is modeled by means of precisifications. The first section of Chapter 9 exposes some controversial assumptions underlying Sider’s alleged reductio of vague existence. The upshot of the discussion is that, although existence cannot be vague, it can be super-vague, i.e. higher-order vague, for all orders. The second section develops and defends a novel framework, dubbed negative supervaluationary semantics, which makes room (...)
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  5. A Note on a Remark of Evans.Wolfgang Barz - 2016 - Polish Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):7-15.
    In his seminal paper, ‘Can There Be Vague Objects?’ (1978), Gareth Evans advanced an argument purporting to prove that the idea of indeterminate identity is incoherent. Aware that his argument was incomplete as it stands, Evans added a remark at the end of his paper, in which he explained how the original argument needed to be modified to arrive at an explicit contradiction. This paper aims to develop a modified version of Evans’ original argument, which I argue is more promising (...)
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  6. Referential Indeterminacy with an Ontic Source? – A Criticism of Williams’s Defense of Vague Objects.Ken Akiba - 2015 - Metaphysica 16 (2).
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  7. Austere Realism: Contextual Semantics Meets Minimal Ontology, by Terence Horgan and Matjaž Potrč.Justin Khoo - 2015 - Mind 124 (496):1292-1299.
    Review of Horgan and Potrc (2008). I discuss both their linguistic and ontological theses.
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  8. Aristotelian Finitism.Tamer Nawar - 2015 - Synthese 192 (8):2345-2360.
    It is widely known that Aristotle rules out the existence of actual infinities but allows for potential infinities. However, precisely why Aristotle should deny the existence of actual infinities remains somewhat obscure and has received relatively little attention in the secondary literature. In this paper I investigate the motivations of Aristotle’s finitism and offer a careful examination of some of the arguments considered by Aristotle both in favour of and against the existence of actual infinities. I argue that Aristotle has (...)
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  9. Vague Objects with Sharp Boundaries.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):29-39.
    In this article I shall consider two seemingly contradictory claims: first, the claim that everybody who thinks that there are ordinary objects has to accept that they are vague, and second, the claim that everybody has to accept the existence of sharp boundaries to ordinary objects. The purpose of this article is of course not to defend a contradiction. Indeed, there is no contradiction because the two claims do not concern the same ‘everybody’. The first claim, that all ordinary objects (...)
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  10. Metaphysical Indeterminacy, Properties, and Quantum Theory.Alisa Bokulich - 2014 - Res Philosophica 91 (3):449-475.
    It has frequently been suggested that quantum mechanics may provide a genuine case of ontic vagueness or metaphysical indeterminacy. However, discussions of quantum theory in the vagueness literature are often cursory and, as I shall argue, have in some respects been misguided. Hitherto much of the debate over ontic vagueness and quantum theory has centered on the “indeterminate identity” construal of ontic vagueness, and whether the quantum phenomenon of entanglement produces particles whose identity is indeterminate. I argue that this way (...)
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  11. Nauseating Flux: Iris Murdoch on Sartre and Heraclitus.David Robjant - 2014 - European Journal of Philosophy 22 (4):633-652.
    I observe Iris Murdoch's distinctive use of the word ‘flux’ in discussion of Sartre's Nausea and show that her usage is persuasive and revolutionary, first as Sartre exegesis, second as Heraclitus exegesis, and throughout as a contribution to the philosophy of language. Murdoch's usage of ‘flux’ frames a comparison of Sartre's Roquentin with other figures who have had similarly flowing experience but without nausea. Roquentin's plight is shown to be ‘a philosopher's plight’ precipitated by a defective theory of descriptive success. (...)
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  12. 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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  13. Against the Modal Argument.Christopher S. Gifford - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (3):627-646.
    The relationship between alethic modality and indeterminacy is yet to be clarified. A modal argument—an argument that appeals to alethic modality—against vague objects given by Joseph Moore offers a potential clarification of the relationship; it is proposed that there are cases for which the following holds: if it is indeterminate whether A = B then it is possible that it is determinate that A = B. However, the argument faces three problems. The problems remove the argument’s threat against vague objects (...)
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  14. Moral Dilemmas and Vagueness.Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (2):207-222.
    In this paper we point out some interesting structural similarities between vagueness and moral dilemmas as well as between some of the proposed solutions to both problems. Moral dilemma involves a situation with opposed obligations that cannot all be satisfied. Transvaluationism as an approach to vagueness makes three claims concerning the nature of vagueness: (1) it involves incompatibility between mutually unsatisfiable requirements, (2) the underlying requirements retain their normative power even when they happen to be overruled, and (3) this incompatibility (...)
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  15. Interrelations and Dissimilarities Between Distinct Approaches to Ontic Vagueness.Marc Andree Weber - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):181-195.
    This paper outlines the often striking parallels of various approaches to ontic vagueness, as well as their even more striking differences. Though circling around the same idea, some of these approaches were developed to solve quite diverse theoretical problems and encounter different challenges. In addition to these difficulties, the frequently disregarded epistemological problems of all theories of ontic vagueness turn out to be even more serious under critical scrutiny. The same holds for the difficulties of deciding, for every case of (...)
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  16. Vague Composition Without Vague Existence.Chad Carmichael - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):315-327.
    David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there is an object, (...)
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  17. Vague Objects Without Ontically Indeterminate Identity.Elisa Paganini - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):351-362.
    The supporter of vague objects has been long challenged by the following ‘Argument from Identity’: 1) if there are vague objects, then there is ontically indeterminate identity; 2) there is no ontically indeterminate identity; therefore, 3) there are no vague objects. Some supporters of vague objects have argued that 1) is false. Noonan (Analysis 68: 174–176, 2008) grants that 1) does not hold in general, but claims that ontically indeterminate identity is indeed implied by the assumption that there are vague (...)
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  18. Quantum Mechanics and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.George Darby - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2):227-245.
    There has been recent interest in formulating theories of non-representational indeterminacy. The aim of this paper is to clarify the relevance of quantum mechanics to this project. Quantum-mechanical examples of vague objects have been offered by various authors, displaying indeterminate identity, in the face of the famous Evans argument that such an idea is incoherent. It has also been suggested that the quantum-mechanical treatment of state-dependent properties exhibits metaphysical indeterminacy. In both cases it is important to consider the details of (...)
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  19. The Argument From Vagueness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
    A presentation of the Lewis-Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition and possible responses.
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  20. Deep Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Bradford Skow - 2010 - Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):851 - 858.
    A recent theory of metaphysical indeterminacy says that metaphysical indeterminacy is multiple actuality: there is metaphysical indeterminacy when there are many 'complete precisifications of reality'. But it is possible for there to be metaphysical indeterminacy even when it is impossible to precisify reality completely. The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics illustrates this possibility. So this theory of metaphysical indeterminacy is not adequate.
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  21. On the Sharpness and Bias of Quantum Effects.Paul Busch - 2009 - Foundations of Physics 39 (7):712-730.
    The question of quantifying the sharpness (or unsharpness) of a quantum mechanical effect is investigated. Apart from sharpness, another property, bias, is found to be relevant for the joint measurability or coexistence of two effects. Measures of bias will be defined and examples given.
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  22. Mereological Vagueness and Existential Vagueness.Maureen Donnelly - 2009 - Synthese 168 (1):53 - 79.
    It is often assumed that indeterminacy in mereological relations—in particular, indeterminacy in which collections of objects have fusions—leads immediately to indeterminacy in what objects there are in the world. This assumption is generally taken as a reason for rejecting mereological vagueness. The purpose of this paper is to examine the link between mereological vagueness and existential vagueness. I hope to show that the connection between the two forms of vagueness is not nearly so clear-cut as has been supposed.
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  23. Against Vague and Unnatural Existence: Reply to Liebesman and Eklund.Theodore Sider - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):557 - 567.
    In "Sider on Existence" (Noužs, 2007), David Liebesman and Matti Eklund argue that my "indeterminacy argument", according to which quantifiers are never vague, clashes with my "naturalness argument", according to which quantifiers "carve at the joints". There is, I argue, no outright inconsistency. But Liebesman and Eklund have shown that my arguments are not as independent as it may have appeared. The best defense of the indeterminacy argument is via the naturalness argument.
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  24. Vagueness, Logic, and Ontology.Achille C. Varzi - 2009 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Arguing About Language. Routledge. pp. 135-154.
    Remember the story of the most-most? It’s the story of that club in New York where people are the most of every type. There is the hairiest bald man and the baldest hairy man; the shortest giant and the tallest dwarf; the smartest idiot and the stupidest wise man. They are all there, including honest thieves and crippled acrobats. On Saturday night they have a party, eat, drink, dance. Then they have a contest. “And if you can tell the hairiest (...)
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  25. There Are Vague Objects (in Any Sense in Which There Are Ordinary Objects).Jiri Benovsky - 2008 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 1 (3):1-4.
    Ordinary objects are vague, because either (i) composition is restricted, or (ii) there really are no such objects (but we still want to talk about them), or (iii) because such objects are not metaphysically (independently of us) distinguishable from other 'extra-ordinary' objects. In any sense in which there are ordinary objects, they are vague.
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  26. Deconstructing Ontological Vagueness.Matti Eklund - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):117-140.
    I will here present a number of problems concerning the idea that there is ontological vagueness, and the related claim that appeal to this idea can help solve some vagueness-related problems. A theme underlying the discussion will be the distinction between vagueness specifically and indeterminacy more generally (and, relatedly, the distinction between ontological vagueness and ontological indeterminacy). Even if the world is somehow ontologically indeterminate it by no means follows that it is, properly speaking, ontologically vague.1..
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  27. A Modal Argument Against Vague Objects.Joseph G. Moore - 2008 - Philosophers' Imprint 8:1-17.
    There has been much discussion of whether there could be objects A and B that are “individuatively vague” in the following way: object A and object B neither determinately stand in the relation of identity to one another, nor do they determinately fail to stand in this relation. If there are objects of this type, then we would have a genuine case of metaphysical vagueness, or “vagueness-in-the-world.” The possibility of vague objects in this sense strikes many as incoherent. The possibility’s (...)
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  28. Does Ontic Indeterminacy in Boundaries Entail Ontic Indeterminacy in Identity?H. W. Noonan - 2008 - Analysis 68 (2):174-176.
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  29. Does Ontic Indeterminacy in Boundaries Entail Ontic Indeterminacy in Identity?Harold W. Noonan - 2008 - Analysis 68 (2):174-176.
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  30. Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...)
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  31. Vagueness and Arbitrariness: Merricks on Composition.Elizabeth Barnes - 2007 - Mind 116 (461):105-113.
    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.
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  32. Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Arguments that ordinary inanimate objects such as tables and chairs, sticks and stones, simply do not exist have become increasingly common and increasingly prominent. Some are based on demands for parsimony or for a non-arbitrary answer to the special composition question; others arise from prohibitions against causal redundancy, ontological vagueness, or co-location; and others still come from worries that a common sense ontology would be a rival to a scientific one. Until now, little has been done to address these arguments (...)
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  33. Is 'Everything' Precise?Dan López de Sa - 2006 - Dialectica 60 (4):397–409.
    There are certain metaphysically interesting arguments ‘from vagueness’, for unrestricted mereological composition and for four-dimensionalism, which involve a claim to the effect that idioms for unrestricted quantification are precise. An elaboration of Lewis’ argument for this claim, which assumes the view of vagueness as semantic indecision, is presented. It is argued that the argument also works according to other views on the nature of vagueness, which also require for an expression to be vague that there are different admissible alternatives of (...)
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  34. 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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  35. On Evans's Vague Object From Set Theoretic Viewpoint.Shunsuke Yatabe & Hiroyuki Inaoka - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):423-434.
    Gareth Evans proved that if two objects are indeterminately equal then they are different in reality. He insisted that this contradicts the assumption that there can be vague objects. However we show the consistency between Evans's proof and the existence of vague objects within classical logic. We formalize Evans's proof in a set theory without the axiom of extensionality, and we define a set to be vague if it violates extensionality with respect to some other set. There exist models of (...)
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  36. Vagueness in Sparseness: A Study in Property Ontology.Elizabeth Barnes - 2005 - Analysis 65 (4):315–321.
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  37. Identity, Vagueness, and Modality.E. J. Lowe - 2005 - In José Luis Bermúdez (ed.), Thought, Reference, and Experience: Themes From the Philosophy of Gareth Evans. Clarendon Press.
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  38. A Plea for Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem About Vague Composition and Vague Existence?Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2005 - Journal of Philosophy 102 (8):381-421.
    Orthodoxy has it that mereological composition can never be a vague matter, for if it were, then existence would sometimes be a vague matter too, and that's impossible. I accept that vague composition implies vague existence, but deny that either is impossible. In this paper I develop degree-theoretic versions of quantified modal logic and of mereology, and combine them in a framework that allows us to make clear sense of vague composition and vague existence, and the relationships between them.
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  39. Vagueness in the World.Ken Akiba - 2004 - Noûs 38 (3):407–429.
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  40. Borderline Simple or Extremely Simple.Katherine Hawley - 2004 - The Monist 87 (3):385-404.
    In his Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen distinguishes two questions about parthood. What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for some things jointly to compose a whole? What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for a thing to have proper parts? The first of these, the Special Composition Question (SCQ), has been widely discussed, and David Lewis has argued that an important constraint on any answer to the SCQ is that it should not permit borderline cases of composition. This is (...)
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  41. Vague Objects and Existence.P. X. Monaghan - 2004 - Metaphysica 5 (1):59-66.
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  42. Are There Vague Objects?H. W. Noonan - 2004 - Analysis 64 (2):131-134.
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  43. Are There Vague Objects?Harold W. Noonan - 2004 - Analysis 64 (2):131-134.
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  44. Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide.Nicholas J. J. Smith & Gideon Rosen - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):185 – 198.
    This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself--as opposed to merely in our representations of the world--against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague properties and relations ; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague objects (...)
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  45. Review of Objects and Persons, by Trenton Merricks. [REVIEW]Lynne Rudder Baker - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (4):597 – 598.
    Book Information Objects and Persons. Objects and Persons Trenton Merricks . Oxford: Clarendon Press , 2001 , pp. xii + 203 , £30 ( cloth ), £14.99 ( paper ) . By Trenton Merricks. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Pp. xii + 203. £30 (cloth:), £14.99 (paper:).
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  46. Granular Partitions and Vagueness.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - In Chris Welty & Barry Smith (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). New York, USA: ACM Press. pp. 309-320.
    There are some who defend a view of vagueness according to which there are intrinsically vague objects or attributes in reality. Here, in contrast, we defend a view of vagueness as a semantic property of names and predicates. All entities are crisp, on this view, but there are, for each vague name, multiple portions of reality that are equally good candidates for being its referent, and, for each vague predicate, multiple classes of objects that are equally good candidates for being (...)
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  47. The Crooked Path From Vagueness to Four-Dimensionalism.Kathrin Koslicki - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):107 - 134.
    In his excellent recent book, Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Sider, 2001), Theodore Sider defends a version of four-dimensionalism which he calls the ‘stage-theory’: according to this view, ordinary persisting objects are analyzed as being identical to momentary stages; they persist by having temporal counterparts at other times. Despite all of its many significant virtues, however, Sider’s case for four-dimensionalism is troubling in certain crucial respects, both philosophically and meta-philosophically. My purpose in this paper is to show that, (...)
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  48. Vague Simples.Neil McKinnon - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):394–397.
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  49. Against Vague Existence.Theodore Sider - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):135 - 146.
    In my book Four-dimensionalism (chapter 4, section 9), I argued that fourdimensionalism – the doctrine of temporal parts – follows from several other premises, chief among which is the premise that existence is never vague. Kathrin Koslicki (preceding article) claims that the argument fails since its crucial premise is unsupported, and is dialectically inappropriate to assume in the context of arguing for four-dimensionalism. Since the relationship between four-dimensionalism and the non-vagueness of existence is not perfectly transparent, I think the argument (...)
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  50. Vagueness in Reality.Timothy Williamson - 2003 - In Michael J. Loux & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    When I take off my glasses, the world looks blurred. When I put them back on, it looks sharpedged. I do not think that the world really was blurred; I know that what changed was my relation to the distant physical objects ahead, not those objects themselves. I am more inclined to believe that the world really is and was sharp-edged. Is that belief any more reasonable than the belief that the world really is and was blurred? I see more (...)
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