A New Problem of the Many
McKinnon (Neil)
Source: The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 230, Special Issue: Existence and Identity (Jan., 2008), pp. 80-97
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction (closing sections)

  1. Unger's problem of the many1 is generated by considerations surrounding vagueness. The problem is that ordinary objects seem to have borderline parts, like the cloud, for example. There are particles for which it at least seems indeterminate whether they are parts of the cloud or not.
  2. I intend to present a new problem of the many2. This new problem does not obviously centre on questions of indeterminate parthood. Moreover, as I shall argue, the new problem is resistant to the usual solutions offered to the standard problem.
  3. Just as the standard problem of the many3 applies to the kinds of things that persist (clouds, people, chairs, etc.), so does the new problem. Accordingly, I shall first formulate the new problem with the assumption that persisting things do so by perduring. I shall then set it against the background of the main rival view, that persisting things do so by enduring

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