The Vagueness Argument Against Abstract Artifacts

Philosophical Studies 167 (1):57-71 (2014)
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Abstract

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 be no abstract artifacts. There is no way to resist the vagueness argument against abstract artifacts that does not also undermine the vagueness argument against restricted composition.

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Daniel Z. Korman
University of California at Santa Barbara

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