MoL-2023-10: Unraveling vagueness: Exploring its puzzles, its nature, and their interplay

MoL-2023-10: Kooiman, Isa Anne (2023) Unraveling vagueness: Exploring its puzzles, its nature, and their interplay. [Report]

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This thesis is an investigation into the nature of vagueness, the problems to which it gives rise, and the interplay between these two issues. The two main problems to which vagueness gives rise are the Problem of the Many and the Sorites paradox. The Problem of the Many is generally considered to be a problem specific to objects, arising from their (apparent) vague spatial boundary. The Sorites paradox, while often presented as a paradox concerning vague concepts, is a puzzle for any phenomenon involving vagueness, thereby including the (apparent) vague spatial boundary of objects. As both, distinct, problems potentially arise from the (apparent) vague boundary of objects, this prompts the question of what the relation is between the two puzzles involving vagueness. Considering the absence of this question in the vast collection of literature on vagueness, providing an answer to this question is one of the main aims of this thesis. Surprisingly, this thesis shows that the Sorites paradox and the Problem of the Many are in fact mutually exclusive. In doing so, this thesis provides a novel suggestion of the essential feature that underlies the Sorites paradox and the Problem of the Many, thereby arguing against the generally accepted understanding of both puzzles. Moreover, this thesis provides new insights into how our adopted ontology, and thereby the nature of vagueness, is intertwined with the two puzzles, thereby clarifying the existing literature on vagueness and the solutions to the two puzzles. Finally, this thesis contributes to the debate on the nature of vagueness by (i) providing new insight into the relation between the different kinds of vagueness, (ii) providing an argument establishing that ordinary objects must be vague objects, (iii) discussing the notion of vague identity, and (iii) providing an argument showing that the existence of vague objects does not have to give rise to the vague existence of objects.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2023-10
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2023
Subjects: Logic
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2023 13:01
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2023 13:01

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