Linguistic Vague Existence
According to deflationist metaphysicians, the question “how many objects are there?” has an indeterminate answer because of different and equally available linguistic conventions, there not being a single convention better than others. My claim is that such philosophers are entitled to support vague existence for linguistic reasons.
My claim is challenged by a famous argument, first presented by Lewis, then revived by Sider and others, according to which, if the question assumes an unrestricted quantifier ranging over precise concepts, the answer has a definite answer corresponding to the wider domain the quantifier is allowed to range over and the quantifier is therefore not vague.
I argue instead that the extension of a quantifier is not its domain of quantification, but that the existential quantifier is a second-order function applied to first-order functions (using a Fregean assumption), and that any quantifier’s extension is therefore constituted by concepts. Under this assumption, I will claim that quantifiers’ vagueness depends on the equal availability of different concepts as extensions of the existential quantifier.
Date / Time / Place
June 22nd / 17:15 / Aula 0A