How to count clouds


Can identity be vague? More exactly, can there be objects x and y such that it is vague whether x = y, and the vagueness is due to the objects themselves as opposed to vagueness in language used to denote the objects? The question has been extensively discussed since Evans (1978) where it was claimed that an affirmative answer was a necessary condition for the thesis that there could be vague objects. A recent, ingenious argument in Pinillos (2003) seeks to establish the negative and show that it cannot be de re vague whether x = y. The argument depends crucially on count claims concerning objects whose identity conditions are de re vague, and so we must learn how to count such objects — clouds, persons and much else besides. When that has been accomplished we can see a way out of Pinillos’s argument, and claim that de re vague identity remains coherent.



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