Philosophical Studies 147 (2):193 - 211 (2010)

Bryan Pickel
University of Glasgow
I defend the view that ordinary objects like statues are identical to the pieces of matter from which they are made. I argue that ordinary speakers assert sentences such as ‘this statue is a molded piece of clay’. This suggests that speakers believe propositions which entail that ordinary objects such as statues are the pieces matter from which they are made, and therefore pluralism contradicts ordinary beliefs. The dominant response to this argument purports to find an ambiguity in the word ‘is’, such that ‘is’ in these sentences means the same as ‘constitutes or is constituted by’. I will use standard tests for ambiguity to argue that this strategy fails. I then explore and reject other responses to the argument.
Keywords Metaphysics  Problems of constitution  ‘Is’ of constitution  Tests for ambiguity
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Reprint years 2008, 2010
DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9275-4
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References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Literal Meaning.François Recanati - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
Parts: A Study in Ontology.Peter M. Simons - 1987 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ambiguity and Zeugma.Emanuel Viebahn - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):749-762.
Constitution and Identity.John Biro - 2018 - Erkenntnis 83 (6):1127-1138.
Semantic Deflationism Deflated.Mahrad Almotahari - 2019 - Synthese 196 (6):2435-2454.
To Have and to Hold.Tatjana von Solodkoff & Richard Woodward - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):407-427.

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