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Metaphysica

International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics

Managing Editor: Koridze, Georg

Ed. by Hüntelmann, Rafael / Meixner, Uwe / Tegtmeier, Erwin

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1874-6373
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How (Not) To Argue Against Vague Object

Ali Abasnezhad
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  • Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus, E370–1866 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 Canada
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Published Online: 2016-09-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0015

Abstract

In a series of papers, Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams have developed a theory of metaphysical vagueness in which they argue for legitimacy of vague object and indeterminate identity. In his recent paper, Ken Akiba raises two objections against Barnes-Williams theory, concluding that it is ill-conceived and wrong-headed. In one objection, he argues that the theory implies indeterminate identity between referentially determinate objects to which λ-abstraction is applicable, and hence Evans’ argument ultimately goes through. In the other, he objects that Barnes-Williams theory also fails to block Salmon’s argument. This paper discusses the two objections. It argues that there are legitimate reasons for rejecting both, and hence to revive Barnes-Williams theory. Furthermore, it is shown that the objections, while unsuccessful, are helpful in revealing the limitations of Barnes-Williams theory.

Keywords: metaphysical vagueness; vague object; indeterminate identity; Evans’; argument; Salmon’s argument

References

  • Abasnezhad, A., and D. Hosseini. 2014. “Vagueness in the World; a Supervaluationist Approach.” In Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness, edited by K. Akiba and A. Abasnezhad, 239–56. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Akiba, K. 2015. “Referential Indeterminacy with an Ontic Source? – A Criticism of Williams’s Defense of Vague Objects.” Metaphysica 16:167–78.Google Scholar

  • Barnes, E., and R. Williams. 2009. “Vague Parts and Vague Identity.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90:176–87.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Barnes, E., and R. Williams. 2011. “A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.” In Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 6, edited by K. Bennett and D. Zimmerman, 103–48. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Evans, G. 1978. “Can There Be Vague Objects?” Analysis 38:208.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Fine, K. 1975. “Vagueness, Truth and Logic.” Synthese 54:235–59.Google Scholar

  • Lewis, D. 1988. “Vague Identity: Evans Misunderstood.” Analysis 48:128–30.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Parsons, T., and P. Woodruff. 1995. “Worldly indeterminacy of identity.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95:171–191.Crossref

  • Parsons, T. 2000. Indeterminate Identity: Metaphysics and Semantics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Salmon, N. 1981. Reference and Essence. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

  • Williams, R. 2008a. “Multiple Actualities and Ontically Vague Identity.” The Philosophical Quarterly 58:134–54.Google Scholar

  • Williams, R. 2008b. “Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.” Philosophy Compass 3:763–88.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Williamson, T. 1994. Vagueness. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Wilson, J. 2013. “A Determinable-Based Account of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.” Inquiry 56:359–85.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2016-09-09

Published in Print: 2016-09-01


Citation Information: Metaphysica, Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 195–205, ISSN (Online) 1874-6373, ISSN (Print) 1437-2053, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mp-2016-0015.

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