[SydPhil] University of Sydney Postgraduate Colloquium Oct 15

Tama Coutts Iliketora at rocketmail.com
Sat Oct 13 18:27:02 AEDT 2012

Hey All,

The details for our ninth talk of semester two follow. All are welcome.

Speaker: Michael Duncan

The Vagueness Argument for Universalism

what conditions do two or more objects compose something? Strikingly,
many metaphysicians think that the most plausible answer to this is
that composition alwaysoccurs: that is, for any two (non-overlapping) objects there is
something which they compose. This view is known as universalismand it entails the existence of disjoint objects such as the object
composed of the planet Venus and your left shoe. The motivation for
universalism comes largely from an argument due to David Lewis and
Theodore Sider known as the Vagueness
Argument or
the Argument
from Vagueness.
The Vagueness Argument relies on two contentious claims: (1) that
there is no sharp cut-off between cases in which composition occurs
and cases in which it does not; and (2) that composition cannot be
vague because that would require vague existence which (it is
alleged) is impossible. Each of these claims can be (and has been)
contested. I will argue that even if we grant the universalist these
points the argument fails to go through, for its initial premise is
even more contentious and has not been adequately defended.
3pm, Mon Oct 15

Philosophy common-room, quadrangle building, University of Sydney
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