Thinking about many

Synthese 199 (1-2):2863-2882 (2020)
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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 independent application in the case of singular thoughts about other putatively ‘abundant’ phenomena, such as locations or lumps of matter. In essence, singular thought-vehicles need not express just one singular content. If there are many objects, one’s singular thought-vehicle may express as many thought-contents.

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Author's Profile

James Openshaw
Centre for Philosophy of Memory, Université Grenoble Alpes

Citations of this work

The problem of the many.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016.
Turning Aboutness About.Alexander Sandgren - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (1):136-155.
Thought and Talk in a Generous World.Alexander Sandgren - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.

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References found in this work

On the Plurality of Worlds.David K. Lewis - 1986 - Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.
The Varieties of Reference.Gareth Evans - 1982 - Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited by John Henry McDowell.
Origins of Objectivity.Tyler Burge - 2010 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reference and Consciousness.John Campbell - 2002 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - New York: Routledge.

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