Is the Problem of the Many a Problem in Metaphysics?

Noûs 42 (4):746-752 (2008)
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 hand, both Kilimanjaro(+) and Kilimanjaro(–)—and indeed many other similar things—seem to have an equal claim to be a mountain: all of them exhibit the grounds for something being a mountain—like being an elevation of the earth’s surface rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level,1 or whathaveyou—; and there seems to be nothing in the vicinity with a better claim. Hence, the problem of the many
Keywords vagueness  problem of the many
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0068.2008.00699.x
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References found in this work BETA
Peter Unger (1980). The Problem of the Many. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):411-468.
Theodore Sider (2001). Maximality and Intrinsic Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):357 - 364.
Brian Weatherson (2003). Many Many Problems. Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):481–501.
Robert Williams (2006). An Argument for the Many. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (1):411-419.
Vann McGee (1997). Kilimanjaro. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 27 (sup1):141-163.

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