Worldly Indeterminacy: A Rough Guide

In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. pp. 196-209 (2004)
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Abstract

This paper defends the idea that there might be vagueness or indeterminacy in the world itself---as opposed to merely in our representations of the world---against the charges of incoherence and unintelligibility. First we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *properties and relations*; we show that this idea is already implied by certain well-understood views concerning the semantics of vague predicates (most notably the fuzzy view). Next we consider the idea that the world might contain vague *objects*; we argue that an object is indeterminate in a certain respect (colour, size, etc.) just in case it is a borderline case of a maximally specific colour (size, etc.) property. Finally we consider the idea that the *world as a whole* might be indeterminate; we argue that the world is indeterminate just in case it lacks a determinate division into determinate objects.

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Author Profiles

Nicholas J. J. Smith
University of Sydney
Gideon Rosen
Princeton University

Citations of this work

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