Counting and indeterminate identity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Suppose that we repair a wooden ship by replacing its planks one by one with new ones while at the same time reconstructing it using the discarded planks. Some defenders of vague or indeterminate identity claim that: (1) although the reconstructed ship is distinct from the repaired ship, it is indeterminate whether the original ship is the reconstructed ship and indeterminate whether it is the repaired ship, and (2) the indeterminacy is due to the world and not just an imprecision in the language used to describe the situation. I argue that such a description is incoherent. The argument has two features. First, it differs in spirit from Gareth Evans's more general famous proof against the possibility of indeterminate identity. This is because I rely on facts regarding counting and sets. Second, I focus on Terence Parsons's recent defence of indeterminate identity. I argue that his attempts at making sense of counting objects involving indeterminate identities fail on technical and philosophical grounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-50
Number of pages15
JournalMind
Volume112
Issue number445
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Indeterminate
Ship
Plank
Imprecision
Defenders
Gareth Evans
Language
Sensemaking
Repair
Indeterminacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Counting and indeterminate identity. / Pinillos, Nestor.

In: Mind, Vol. 112, No. 445, 2003, p. 36-50.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pinillos, Nestor. / Counting and indeterminate identity. In: Mind. 2003 ; Vol. 112, No. 445. pp. 36-50.
@article{07bdc38bf8e14cba9ea60f684f1c9578,
title = "Counting and indeterminate identity",
abstract = "Suppose that we repair a wooden ship by replacing its planks one by one with new ones while at the same time reconstructing it using the discarded planks. Some defenders of vague or indeterminate identity claim that: (1) although the reconstructed ship is distinct from the repaired ship, it is indeterminate whether the original ship is the reconstructed ship and indeterminate whether it is the repaired ship, and (2) the indeterminacy is due to the world and not just an imprecision in the language used to describe the situation. I argue that such a description is incoherent. The argument has two features. First, it differs in spirit from Gareth Evans's more general famous proof against the possibility of indeterminate identity. This is because I rely on facts regarding counting and sets. Second, I focus on Terence Parsons's recent defence of indeterminate identity. I argue that his attempts at making sense of counting objects involving indeterminate identities fail on technical and philosophical grounds.",
author = "Nestor Pinillos",
year = "2003",
doi = "10.1093/mind/112.445.35",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "112",
pages = "36--50",
journal = "Mind",
issn = "0026-4423",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "445",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Counting and indeterminate identity

AU - Pinillos, Nestor

PY - 2003

Y1 - 2003

N2 - Suppose that we repair a wooden ship by replacing its planks one by one with new ones while at the same time reconstructing it using the discarded planks. Some defenders of vague or indeterminate identity claim that: (1) although the reconstructed ship is distinct from the repaired ship, it is indeterminate whether the original ship is the reconstructed ship and indeterminate whether it is the repaired ship, and (2) the indeterminacy is due to the world and not just an imprecision in the language used to describe the situation. I argue that such a description is incoherent. The argument has two features. First, it differs in spirit from Gareth Evans's more general famous proof against the possibility of indeterminate identity. This is because I rely on facts regarding counting and sets. Second, I focus on Terence Parsons's recent defence of indeterminate identity. I argue that his attempts at making sense of counting objects involving indeterminate identities fail on technical and philosophical grounds.

AB - Suppose that we repair a wooden ship by replacing its planks one by one with new ones while at the same time reconstructing it using the discarded planks. Some defenders of vague or indeterminate identity claim that: (1) although the reconstructed ship is distinct from the repaired ship, it is indeterminate whether the original ship is the reconstructed ship and indeterminate whether it is the repaired ship, and (2) the indeterminacy is due to the world and not just an imprecision in the language used to describe the situation. I argue that such a description is incoherent. The argument has two features. First, it differs in spirit from Gareth Evans's more general famous proof against the possibility of indeterminate identity. This is because I rely on facts regarding counting and sets. Second, I focus on Terence Parsons's recent defence of indeterminate identity. I argue that his attempts at making sense of counting objects involving indeterminate identities fail on technical and philosophical grounds.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=61449325235&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=61449325235&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/mind/112.445.35

DO - 10.1093/mind/112.445.35

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:61449325235

VL - 112

SP - 36

EP - 50

JO - Mind

JF - Mind

SN - 0026-4423

IS - 445

ER -