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.
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.
Akiba, K. 2015. “Referential Indeterminacy with an Ontic Source? – A Criticism of Williams’s Defense of Vague Objects.” Metaphysica 16:167–78.
Barnes, E., and R. Williams. 2009. “Vague Parts and Vague Identity.” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90:176–87.