The Argument from Vagueness

Edited by Daniel Z. Korman (University of California at Santa Barbara)
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  1. The Epistemic Consequences of Paradox.Bryan Frances - 2022 - Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    By pooling together exhaustive analyses of certain philosophical paradoxes, we can prove a series of fascinating results regarding philosophical progress, agreement on substantive philosophical claims, knockdown arguments in philosophy, the wisdom of philosophical belief, the epistemic status of metaphysics, and the power of philosophy to refute common sense. As examples, this Element examines the Sorites Paradox, the Liar Paradox, and the Problem of the Many – although many other paradoxes can do the trick too.
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  2. Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness.Kenneth Silver - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):56-69.
    The Causal Exclusion Problem is raised in many domains, including in the metaphysics of macroscopic objects. If there is a complete explanation of macroscopic effects in terms of the microscopic entities that compose macroscopic objects, then the efficacy of the macroscopic will be threatened with exclusion. I argue that we can avoid the problem if we accept that macroscopic objects are ontically vague. Then, it is indeterminate which collection of microscopic entities compose them, and so information about microscopic entities is (...)
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  3. Skeptik Teizm ve Kötülük: Peter van Inwagen'ın "Minimum-Yok İddiası".Atilla Akalın - 2021 - Theosophia 3 (3):77-90.
    Skeptical theists are seeking for some reasonable solutions to the evidential problem of evil. One of the most fundamental responses of skeptical theism is that the concept of “gratuitous evil”, which cannot be a proof of the absence of God. Therefore, it is not the existence of God that skeptical theism suspects. Instead, skeptical theism contemplates whether the evil in the world really has a “gratuitous” basis. This paper focuses on Peter van Inwagen's “no-minimum claim”. No-minimum claim” stands in opposition (...)
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  4. Expansionism and Mereological Universalism.Giorgio Lando - 2020 - Theoria 86 (2):187-219.
    Mereological universalists, according to whom every plurality of entities has a fusion, usually claim that most quantifications are restricted to ordinary entities. However, there is no evidence that our usual quantifications over ordinary objects are restricted. In this article I explore an alternative way of reconciling Mereological Universalism with our usual quantifications. I resort to a modest form of ontological expansionism and to the so-called interpretational modalities. Quantifications over ordinary objects are the initial stages of the expansion. From these initial (...)
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  5. The Special Composition Question and Natural Fusion.Renato Rocha - 2019 - Proceedings of the 3rd Filomena Workshop.
    Philosophical problems about the part-whole relation have been discussed throughout the history of philosophy, at least since Plato and Aristotle. In contemporary philosophy, the understanding of these issues has benefited from the formal tools of Classical Extensional Mereology. This paper aims is to defend mereological restrictivism against some constraints imposed by the vagueness argument. To achieve this, the paper is divided into three parts. In the first, I introduce the special composition question (hereafter SCQ) as formulated by [Van Inwagen, 1990] (...)
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  6. Against 'Against 'Against Vague Existence''.Roberto Loss - 2018 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 11. Oxford University Press. pp. 278-287.
    Alessandro Torza argues that Ted Sider’s Lewisian argument against vague existence is insufficient to rule out the possibility of what he calls ‘super-vague existence’, that is the idea that existence is higher-order vague, for all orders. In this chapter it is argued that the possibility of super-vague existence is ineffective against the conclusion of Sider’s argument since super-vague existence cannot be consistently claimed to be a kind of linguistic vagueness. Torza’s idea of super-vague existence seems to be better suited to (...)
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  7. Mundos possíveis, propriedades naturais e mereologia.Renato Rocha - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
    I argue in this dissertation that natural properties play a central role in David Lewis' modal realism. To argue in favor of this thesis I present: a bottom-up explanation of a top-down possible world metaphysics; a new definition of natural properties and natural fusion, a new mereological operation. To achieve these aims, in the first chapter, I contextualize the discussion, in the second I resume the discussion about universals in contemporary philosophy and argue that, considering the distinct formulations of the (...)
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  8. The Vagueness Argument Against Abstract Artifacts.Daniel Z. Korman - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):57-71.
    Words, languages, symphonies, fictional characters, games, and recipes are plausibly abstract artifacts— entities that have no spatial location and that are deliberately brought into existence as a result of creative acts. Many accept that composition is unrestricted: for every plurality of material objects, there is a material object that is the sum of those objects. These two views may seem entirely unrelated. I will argue that the most influential argument against restricted composition—the vagueness argument—doubles as an argument that there can (...)
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  9. Vague Composition Without Vague Existence.Chad Carmichael - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):315-327.
    David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there is an object, (...)
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  10. The Argument From Vagueness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
    A presentation of the Lewis-Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition and possible responses.
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  11. Against the Vagueness Argument.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2009 - Philosophia 37 (2):335-340.
    In this paper I offer a counterexample to the so called vagueness argument against restricted composition. This will be done in the lines of a recent suggestion by Trenton Merricks, namely by challenging the claim that there cannot be a sharp cut-off point in a composition sequence. It will be suggested that causal powers which emerge when composition occurs can serve as an indicator of such sharp cut-off points. The main example will be the case of a heap. It seems (...)
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  12. Promiscuous Endurantism and Diachronic Vagueness.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - American Philosophical Quarterly 44 (2):181-189.
    According to a popular line of reasoning, diachronic vagueness creates a problem for the endurantist conception of persistence. Some authors have replied that this line of reasoning is inconclusive, since the endurantist can subscribe to a principle of Diachronic Unrestricted Composition (DUC) that is perfectly parallel to the principle required by the perdurantist’s semantic account. I object that the endurantist should better avoid DUC. And I argue that even DUC, if accepted, would fail to provide the endurantist with the necessary (...)
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  13. Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts.Daniel Nolan - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):716–737.
    There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions. David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts. This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions. However, arguments to Lewis’s and Sider’s conclusions on the basis of considerations (...)
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  14. The Vagueness Argument for Mereological Universalism.Donald Smith - 2006 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (3):357–368.
    In this paper, I critically discuss one of the more influential arguments for mereological universalism, what I will call ‘the Vagueness Argument’. I argue that a premise of the Vagueness Argument is not well supported and that there are at least two good reasons for thinking that the premise in question is false.
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  15. Brutal Composition.Ned Markosian - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211 - 249.
    According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns out that (...)
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