A defense of indeterminate distinctness

Synthese 191 (15):3557-3573 (2014)
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On the one hand, philosophers have presented numerous apparent examples of indeterminate individuation, i.e., examples in which two things are neither determinately identical nor determinately distinct. On the other hand, some have argued against even the coherence of the very idea of indeterminate individuation. This paper defends the possibility of indeterminate individuation against Evans’s argument and some other arguments. The Determinacy of Identity—the thesis that identical things are determinately identical—is distinguished from the Determinacy of Distinctness—the thesis that distinct things are determinately distinct. It is argued that while the first thesis holds universally and there is no case of indeterminate identity, there are reasons to think that the second thesis does not hold universally, and that there are cases of indeterminate distinctness.



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Ken Akiba
Virginia Commonwealth University

References found in this work

Vagueness, truth and logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
Reference and Generality.P. T. Geach - 1962 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
Reference and Essence.Nathan U. Salmon - 1981 - Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Identity and necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1971 - In Milton Karl Munitz (ed.), Identity and Individuation. New York: New York University Press. pp. 135-164.

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