Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213):481–501 (2003)

Brian Weatherson
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Recently four different papers have suggested that the supervaluational solution to the Problem of the Many is flawed. Stephen Schiffer (1998, 2000a, 2000b) has argued that the theory cannot account for reports of speech involving vague singular terms. Vann McGee and Brian McLaughlin (2000) say that theory cannot, yet, account for vague singular beliefs. Neil McKinnon (2002) has argued that we cannot provide a plausible theory of when precisifications are acceptable, which the supervaluational theory needs. And Roy Sorensen (2000) argues that supervaluationism is inconsistent with a directly referential theory of names. McGee and McLaughlin see the problem they raise as a cause for further research, but the other authors all take the problems they raise to provide sufficient reasons to jettison supervaluationism. I will argue that none of these problems provide such a reason, though the arguments are valuable critiques. In many cases, we must make some adjustments to the supervaluational theory to meet the posed challenges. The goal of this paper is to make those adjustments, and meet the challenges.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9213.00327
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References found in this work BETA

Word and Object.Willard Van Orman Quine - 1960 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
The Logical Basis of Metaphysics.Michael Dummett - 1991 - Harvard University Press.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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Citations of this work BETA

Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Turning Aboutness About.Alexander Sandgren - 2021 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (1):136-155.
The Problem of the Many.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016.

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Supervaluations and the Problem of the Many.Neil McKinnon - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):320-339.


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