Advertisement

Metaphysica

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 211–223 | Cite as

Vague Objects and the Problem of the Many

  • Thomas SattigEmail author
Article

Abstract

The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of ordinary objects as material objects with multiple individual forms.

Keywords

Vagueness Indeterminacy Material objects Problem of the many 

Notes

Acknowledgments

For comments on the material presented in this essay, I am indebted to Marta Campdelacreu, Aurélien Darbellay, Katherine Hawley, Geert Keil, Kathrin Koslicki, Dan López de Sa, Christian Nimtz, Roy Sorensen, Achille Varzi, Robbie Williams, and audiences at Humboldt University in Berlin, Bielefeld University and the Third PERSP Metaphysics Workshop in València.

References

  1. Akiba K (2000) Vagueness as a Modality. Philosophical Quarterly 50: 359–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akiba K (2004) Vagueness in the World. Noûs 38: 407–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes EJ (2010) Ontic Vagueness: A Guide for the Perplexed. Noûs 44: 601–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnes EJ, Williams JRG (2009) Vague Parts and Vague Identity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90: 176–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes EJ, Williams JRG (2011) A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 6: 103–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fine K (1975) Vagueness, Truth and Logic. Synthese 30: 265–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Geach P (1962) Reference and Generality. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  8. Heller M (1990) The Ontology of Physical Objects: Four-Dimensional Hunks of Matter. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hudson H (2001) A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.Google Scholar
  10. Koslicki K (2008) The Structure of Objects. Oxford University Press, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lewis D (1993) Many, but Almost One. In: Bacon J (ed) Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays in Honour of D. M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  12. Lowe EJ (1995) The Problem of the Many and the Vagueness of Constitution. Analysis 55: 179–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Markosian N (1998) Brutal Composition. Philosophical Studies 92: 211–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McGee V, McLaughlin B (2000) The Lessons of the Many. Philosophical Topics 28: 129–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. McKinnon N (2002) Supervaluations and the Problem of the Many. Philosophical Quarterly 52: 320–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morreau M (2002) What Vague Objects Are Like. Journal of Philosophy 99: 333–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Parsons T (2000) Indeterminate Identity. Oxford University Press, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rosen G, Smith NJJ (2004) Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide. In: Jackson F, Priest G (eds) Lewisian Themes. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  19. Sattig T (2010) Many as One. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 5: 145–178.Google Scholar
  20. Schaffer J (2009) On What Grounds What. In: Chalmers D, Manley D, Wasserman R (eds) Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  21. Sider T (2001) Maximality and Intrinsic Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63: 357–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sider T (2003) Maximality and Microphysical Supervenience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66: 139–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Smith NJJ (2005) A Plea For Things That Are Not Quite All There: Or, Is There a Problem about Vague Composition and Vague Existence? Journal of Philosophy 102: 381–421.Google Scholar
  24. Unger P (1980) The Problem of the Many. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5: 411–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. van Fraassen B (1966) Singular Terms, Truth-Value Gaps, and Free Logic. Journal of Philosophy 63: 481–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Weatherson B (2009) The Problem of the Many. In: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/.
  27. Weatherson B (2003) Many Many Problems. The Philosophical Quarterly 53: 481– 501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Williams JRG (2008) Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy. Philosophy Compass 3: 763–788.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Williamson T (2003) Vagueness in Reality. In: Loux MJ, Zimmerman DM (eds) Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TübingenTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations