Volume 15, 2008
Coincidence and the Semantic Solution
Many philosophers deny that two different material objects can “coincide”, i.e. share their spatial location and microscopic parts. But, there seems to be a difficulty in identifying these coinciding objects, since we have many kinds of predicates that appear to show differences between them. One prominent strategy to avoid such a difficulty is to argue that such “problematic” predicates merely indicate our ways of describing objects, and thus that any difference between coinciding objects is only apparent. I call this move "the semantic solution". The goal of this paper is to show that the semantic solution is unmotivated. The semantic solution, I argue, must distinguish problematic predicates from ones that indicate genuine properties. But the trouble is that in doing so it brings
massive indeterminacy into our understanding of vast numbers predicates. Furthermore, indeterminacy would be hopelessly massive if every actual material object is made of “atomless gunk”, i.e. matter divisible into proper parts ad infinitum.