Philosophical Studies

, Volume 154, Issue 2, pp 241–250 | Cite as

Sider, Hawley, Sider and the Vagueness Argument

  • Nikk Effingham


The Vagueness Argument for universalism only works if you think there is a good reason not to endorse nihilism. Sider’s argument from the possibility of gunk is one of the more popular reasons. Further, Hawley has given an argument for the necessity of everything being either gunky or composed of mereological simples. I argue that Hawley’s argument rests on the same premise as Sider’s argument for the possibility of gunk. Further, I argue that that premise can be used to demonstrate the possibility of simples. Once you stick it all together, you get an absurd consequence. I then survey the possible lessons we could draw from this, arguing that whichever one you take yields an interesting result.


Vagueness Argument Mereology Universalism Unrestricted mereological composition Sider Hawley Mereological simples 


  1. Cameron, R. (2007). The contingency of composition. Philosophical Studies, 136(1), 99–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Greene, B. (1999). The elegant universe. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  3. Hawley, K. (2004). Borderline simple or extremely simple. The Monist, 87(3), 385–404.Google Scholar
  4. Lewis, D. (1986). On the plurality of worlds. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  5. Markosian, N. (1998a). Brutal composition. Philosophical Studies, 92(3), 211–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Markosian, N. (1998b). Simples. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 76, 213–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. McDaniel, K. (2007). Brutal simples. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, III, 233–265.Google Scholar
  8. O’Leary-Hawthorne, J., & Cortens, A. (1995). Towards ontological nihilism. Philosophical Studies, 79(2), 143–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Scala, M. (2002). Homogenous simples. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 64, 393–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Schaffer, J. (2007). From nihilism to monism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 85(2), 175–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Sider, T. (1991). Van Inwagen and the possibility of gunk. Analysis, 53(4), 285–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Sider, T. (2001). Four-dimensionalism. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Skow, B. (2007). Are shapes intrinsic. Philosophical Studies, 133(1), 111–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. van Cleve, J. (2008) The moon and six-pence: A defense of mereological universalism. In T. Sider, J. Hawthorne, D. Zimmerman (Eds.) Contemporary debates in metaphysics (pp. 321–340).Google Scholar
  15. Williams, R. (2006). Illusions of gunk. Philosophical Perspectives, 20(1), 493–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Personalised recommendations