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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 2, 1999

Metaphysics

Peter M. Simons
Pages 89-97

Does the Sun Exist?
The Problem of Vague Objects

Here is a dilemma. By robust common sense, the sun exists. Yet the sun is a vague object, lacking exact identity conditions, and therefore by widely accepted standards of objecthood does not exist. What goes for it goes for almost all other material things. Standard solutions to the problem of vagueness for predicates fall flat for vague objects. This paper attempts a theory which accounts for our common beliefs about vague objects by taking them as well-founded phenomena, founded on collections of more exact objects. The key notions allowing us to assign sensible truth-values to propositions about vague objects are those of truth-value density and expected truth-value. These will be illustrated in use.

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