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Avoiding Ontic Vagueness Essay

  • Submitted by: stephyeah
  • on February 19, 2012
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 2,017 words

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Below is an essay on "Avoiding Ontic Vagueness" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Q5. Avoiding the prospect of ontic vagueness is a key motivation for endorsing unrestricted mereological composition. Discuss with reference to Elder’s “Against universal mereological composition” and Merricks’ “Composition and Vagueness”.

Ontic vagueness entails, among other things, the attribution of degrees of truth to the existence of objects. To avoid the counter-intuitive and strange prospect of ontic vagueness - which will in part be discussed in this essay - some metaphysicians endorse unrestricted (or universal) mereological composition (UMC) - a view which claims that composition always definitely occurs and that, as a result, there is an indeterminate number of composite objects which populate the world. This avoids the problems posed by adherence to ontic vagueness by alleging that any object can and does exist, whether or not its proper parts belonging to intuitively different ontological categories. There are, however, problems which evolve from endorsing an ontology of unrestricted mereological composition, such that it is not clear-cut as to whether it is more or less intuitive to be a restricted compositionist.  

Ontic vagueness is one way of dealing with the perceived vagueness in the world - it asserts that vagueness is not a linguistic phenomenon and cannot be explained by the inadequacy of our understanding.   It holds that vagueness exists in the world. However, rather than simply defining vagueness as the emergence of a number of different precisifications over, say, the compositional boundaries of a mountain, adherents to ontic vagueness claim that the the very existence of objects is a vague notion. In this paper, I will explain why the prospect of having to ascribe gradations of truth to the existence of objects could serve as a motivation for adopting UMC. In doing so, I will examine the arguments of Crawford Elder who opposes unrestricted mereological composition, and Trenton Merricks who argues against vague existence, and their...

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