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Multiple actualities and ontically vague identity

By J.R.G. Williams

Abstract

Gareth Evans's argument against ontically vague identity has been picked over on many occasions. But extant proposals for blocking the argument do not meet well-motivated general constraints on a successful solution. Moreover, the pivotal position that defending ontically vague identity occupies vis a vis ontic vagueness more generally has not yet been fully appreciated. This paper advocates a way of resisting the Evans argument meeting all the mentioned constraints: if we can find referential indeterminacy in virtue of ontic vagueness, we can get out of the Evans argument while still preserving genuinely ontically vague identity. To show how this approach can vindicate particular cases of ontically vague identity, I develop a framework for describing ontic vagueness in general in terms of multiple actualities. The effect, overall, is to provide a principled and attractive approach to ontically vague identity that is immune from Evansian worries

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:3326

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