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  1. Social Psychology, Phenomenology, and the Indeterminate Content of Unreflective Racial Bias.Alex Madva - 2019 - In Emily S. Lee (ed.), Race as Phenomena: Between Phenomenology and Philosophy of Race. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield International. pp. 87-106.
    Social psychologists often describe “implicit” racial biases as entirely unconscious, and as mere associations between groups and traits, which lack intentional content, e.g., we associate “black” and “athletic” in much the same way we associate “salt” and “pepper.” However, recent empirical evidence consistently suggests that individuals are aware of their implicit biases, albeit in partial, inarticulate, or even distorted ways. Moreover, evidence suggests that implicit biases are not “dumb” semantic associations, but instead reflect our skillful, norm-sensitive, and embodied engagement with (...)
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  2. No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  3. Moderate Holism: Answering to Criticism and Explaining Linguistic Phenomena.Kênio Estrela - 2018 - Fragmentos de Cultura 28 (n.2):258-270.
    In this paper I present a version of meaning holism proposed by Henry Jackman (1999a, 1999b, 2005 and 2015) entitled "moderate holism". I will argue that this moderate version of holism, in addition to responding to much of the criticism attributed to traditional semantic holism (such as translation, disagreement, change of mind and communication), is also extremely useful to explain the occurrence of several, such as vagueness and polysemy.
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  4. Lopsided Lives.Theron Pummer - 2017 - In Mark Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 275-296.
    Intuitively there are many different things that non-derivatively contribute to well-being: pleasure, desire satisfaction, knowledge, friendship, love, rationality, freedom, moral virtue, and appreciation of true beauty. According to pluralism, at least two different types of things non-derivatively contribute to well-being. Lopsided lives score very low in terms of some types of things that putatively non-derivatively contribute to well-being, but very high in terms of other such types of things. I argue that pluralists essentially face a trilemma about lopsided lives: they (...)
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  5. Choreographing the Borderline: Dancing with Kristeva.Joshua M. Hall - 2012 - Philosophy Today 56 (1):49-58.
    In this paper I will investigate Kristeva’s conception of dance in regard to the trope of the borderline. I will begin with her explicit treatments of dance, the earliest of which occurs in Revolution in Poetic Language, in terms of (a) her analogy between poetry and dance as practices erupting on the border of chora and society, (b) her presentation of dance as a phenomenon bordering art and religion in rituals, and (c) her brief remarks on dance gesturality. I will (...)
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  6. The Worseness of Nonexistence.Theron Pummer - 2019 - In Espen Gamlund and Carl Tollef Solberg (ed.), Saving People from the Harm of Death. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 215-228.
    Most believe that it is worse for a person to die than to continue to exist with a good life. At the same time, many believe that it is not worse for a merely possible person never to exist than to exist with a good life. I argue that if the underlying properties that make us the sort of thing we essentially are can come in small degrees, then to maintain this commonly-held pair of beliefs we will have to embrace (...)
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  7. Multiple Reference and Vague Objects.Giovanni Merlo - 2017 - Synthese 194 (7):2645-2666.
    Kilimanjaro is an example of what some philosophers would call a ‘vague object’: it is only roughly 5895 m tall, its weight is not precise and its boundaries are fuzzy because some particles are neither determinately part of it nor determinately not part of it. It has been suggested that this vagueness arises as a result of semantic indecision: it is because we didn’t make up our mind what the expression “Kilimanjaro” applies to that we can truthfully say such things (...)
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  8. A Live Language: Concreteness, Openness, Ambivalence.Hili Razinsky - 2015 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):51-65.
    Wittgenstein has shown that that life, in the sense that applies in the first place to human beings, is inherently linguistic. In this paper, I ask what is involved in language, given that it is thus essential to life, answering that language – or concepts – must be both alive and the ground for life. This is explicated by a Wittgensteinian series of entailments of features. According to the first feature, concepts are not intentional engagements. The second feature brings life (...)
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  9. Response to Eklund.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 6. Oxford University Press.
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  10. Decision-Making Under Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...)
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  11. O konceptualizacji wiedzy nieostrej.Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska - 1996 - Filozofia Nauki 3.
    In the article the problem of imprecise information and concepts is considered. The theory of rough sets and the theory of fuzzy sets are used to provide an original solution to this problem.
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  12. Unscharfe Grenzen im Umwelt- und Technikrecht.Geert Keil & Ralf Poscher (eds.) - 2012 - Nomos.
    Die Beiträge dieses Bandes untersuchen die Logik schwieriger Grenzziehungen im Umwelt- und Technikrecht aus juristischer, philosophischer, sozial- und ingenieurswissenschaftlicher Perspektive. Sie sind aus der interdisziplinären Tagung "Unscharfe Grenzen im Umwelt- und Technikrecht" hervorgegangen, die im März 2011 an der RWTH Aachen stattgefunden hat.
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  13. BEYOND MODES OF OBJECTIVITY.Robert Albin - 2012 - Logos and Episteme (3):361-371.
    ABSTRACT: Frege, and others who followed him, stressed the role of fallibility as a means to defining ‘objectivity.’ By defining objective judgments as fallible, these philosophers contributed to the consolidation of a theory of objectivity which suggested interpreting epistemological, as well as other judgements, as being objective. An important philosophical implication of this theory lies in its disclosure of the interrelations between truth and objectivity. In light of this insight, and based on an analysis of instances of false (epistemological and (...)
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  14. Vaghezza: Confini, Cumuli E Paradossi.Sebastiano Moruzzi - 2012 - Laterza.
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  15. Do Mountains Exist? Towards an Ontology of Landforms.Barry Smith & David Mark - 2003 - Environment and Planning B (Planning and Design) 30 (3):411–427.
    Do mountains exist? The answer to this question is surely: yes. In fact, ‘mountain’ is the example of a kind of geographic feature or thing most commonly cited by English speakers (Mark, et al., 1999; Smith and Mark 2001), and this result may hold across many languages and cultures. But whether they are considered as individuals (tokens) or as kinds (types), mountains do not exist in quite the same unequivocal sense as do such prototypical everyday objects as chairs or people.
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  16. A Critical Examination of Jiri Priban's "Doing What Comes Naturally, or a Walk on the Wild Side? Stanlet Fish's Antifoundationalist Concept of Law, It's Closure and Force".Ross Motabhoy - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Kent
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  17. Indeterminacy and Vagueness: Logic and Metaphysics.Peter Van Inwagen - 2009 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (2):1 - 19.
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  18. Indeterminacy and Normative Silence.J. R. G. Williams - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):217-225.
    This paper examines two puzzles of indeterminacy. The first puzzle concerns the hypothesis that there is a unified phenomenon of indeterminacy. How are we to reconcile this with the apparent diversity of reactions that indeterminacy prompts? The second puzzle focuses narrowly on borderline cases of vague predicates. How are we to account for the lack of theoretical consensus about what the proper reaction to borderline cases is? I suggest (building on work by Maudlin) that the characteristic feature of indeterminacy is (...)
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  19. The Presidential Address: Where Demonstratives Meet Vagueness: Possible Languages.Adam Morton - 1999 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1):1 - 18.
    I present three invented languages, in order to support a claim that vagueness and demonstrativity are related. One of them handles vagueness like English handles demonstratives, the second handles demonstratives like English handles vagueness, and the third combines the resources of the first two. The argument depends on the claim that all three can be learned and used by anyone who can speak English.
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  20. Vagueness, Logic and Use: Four Experimental Studies on Vagueness.Phil Serchuk, Ian Hargreaves & Richard Zach - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):540-573.
    Although arguments for and against competing theories of vagueness often appeal to claims about the use of vague predicates by ordinary speakers, such claims are rarely tested. An exception is Bonini et al. (1999), who report empirical results on the use of vague predicates by Italian speakers, and take the results to count in favor of epistemicism. Yet several methodological difficulties mar their experiments; we outline these problems and devise revised experiments that do not show the same results. We then (...)
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  21. Vagueness in Geography.Achille C. Varzi - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):49–65.
    Some have argued that the vagueness exhibited by geographic names and descriptions such as ‘Albuquerque’, ‘the Outback’, or ‘Mount Everest’ is ultimately ontological: these terms are vague because they refer to vague objects, objects with fuzzy boundaries. I take the opposite stand and hold the view that geographic vagueness is exclusively semantic, or conceptual at large. There is no such thing as a vague mountain. Rather, there are many things where we conceive a mountain to be, each with its precise (...)
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Theories of Vagueness
  1. Being Metaphysically Unsettled: Barnes and Williams on Metaphysical Indeterminacy and Vagueness.Matti Eklund - 2011 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 6:6.
    This chapter discusses the defence of metaphysical indeterminacy by Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams and discusses a classical and bivalent theory of such indeterminacy. Even if metaphysical indeterminacy arguably is intelligible, Barnes and Williams argue in favour of it being so and this faces important problems. As for classical logic and bivalence, the chapter problematizes what exactly is at issue in this debate. Can reality not be adequately described using different languages, some classical and some not? Moreover, it is argued (...)
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  2. Tolerance and the Distributed Sorites.Zach Barnett - 2019 - Synthese 196 (3):1071-1077.
    On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny problem afflicting this approach to vagueness. (...)
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  3. Vagueness as Indecision.J. Robert G. Williams - 2016 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1):285-309.
    This essay explores the thesis that for vague predicates, uncertainty over whether a borderline instance x of red/large/tall/good is to be understood as practical uncertainty over whether to treat x as red/large/tall/good. Expressivist and quasi-realist treatments of vague predicates due to John MacFarlane and Daniel Elstein provide the stalking-horse. It examines the notion of treating/counting a thing as F , and links a central question about our attitudes to vague predications to normative evaluation of plans to treat a thing as (...)
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  4. Philosophical & Jurisprudential Issues of Vagueness.Stephen Schiffer - forthcoming - In Geert Keil & Poscher (ed.), Vagueness and the Law: Philosophical and Legal Approaches. Not yet known.
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  5. Unruly Words: A Study of Vague Language. [REVIEW]Jonas Åkerman - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201403.
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  6. Review of Vagueness.Adam Morton - 1995 - Philosophical Books 36 (4):272-276.
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  7. Metaphysical Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Matti Eklund - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):165-179.
    The topic of this paper is whether there is metaphysical vagueness. It is shown that it is important to distinguish between the general phenomenon of indeterminacy and the more narrow phenomenon of vagueness. Relatedly, it is important to distinguish between metaphysical indeterminacy and metaphysical vagueness. One can wish to allow metaphysical indeterminacy but rule out metaphysical vagueness. As is discussed in the paper, central argument against metaphysical vagueness, like those of Gareth Evans and Mark Sainsbury, would if successful rule out (...)
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  8. Vague Reference and Approximating Judgements.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - Spatial Cognition and Computation 3 (2):137–156.
    We propose a new account of vagueness and approximation in terms of the theory of granular partitions. We distinguish different kinds of crisp and non-crisp granular partitions and we describe the relations between them, concentrating especially on spatial examples. We describe the practice whereby subjects use regular grid-like reference partitions as a means for tempering the vagueness of their judgments, and we demonstrate how the theory of reference partitions can yield a natural account of this practice, which is referred to (...)
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  9. Granular Partitions and Vagueness.Thomas Bittner & Barry Smith - 2003 - In Chris Welty & Barry Smith (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). New York, USA: ACM Press. pp. 309-320.
    There are some who defend a view of vagueness according to which there are intrinsically vague objects or attributes in reality. Here, in contrast, we defend a view of vagueness as a semantic property of names and predicates. All entities are crisp, on this view, but there are, for each vague name, multiple portions of reality that are equally good candidates for being its referent, and, for each vague predicate, multiple classes of objects that are equally good candidates for being (...)
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  10. Aristoteles 2002.Barry Smith - 2003 - In T. Buchheim (ed.), Kann man heute noch etwas anfangen mit Aristoteles? Meiner. pp. 3-38.
    The essay surveys recent developments in ontology and defends a strategy for improvement of ontologies based on ontological realism. As a thought experiment, we consider central theses of Aristotelian metaphysics, and show how they fall short of what we believe to be the requirements of ontology today. Above all, Aristotle provides us with no strategy for the reconciliation of common-sense realism and scientific realism where these diverge. We focus specifically on shortfalls in Aristotle’s treatment of individual accidents, especially in regard (...)
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  11. The Presidential Address: Where Demonstratives Meet Vagueness: Possible Languages.Adam Morton - 1999 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1):1 - 18.
    I present three invented languages, in order to support a claim that vagueness and demonstrativity are related. One of them handles vagueness like English handles demonstratives, the second handles demonstratives like English handles vagueness, and the third combines the resources of the first two. The argument depends on the claim that all three can be learned and used by anyone who can speak English.
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  12. The Logic of Vagueness and the Category of Synechism.Mihai Nadin - 1980 - The Monist 63 (3):351-363.
    In his article “Issues of Pragmaticism” published in 1905, in The Monist, Charles S. Peirce complains that “Logicians have been at fault in giving Vagueness the go-by, so far as not even to analyze it.” That same year, occupying himself with the consequences of “Critical commonsensism,” he affirmed, “I have worked out the logic of vagueness with something like completeness,” a statement that causes the majority of the commentators on his work, including the editors of the Collected Papers to ask (...)
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  13. A Simple Logic for Comparisons and Vagueness.Theodore J. Everett - 2000 - Synthese 123 (2):263-278.
    This article provide an intuitive semantic account of a new logic for comparisons (CL), in which atomic statements are assigned both a classical truth-value and a “how much” value or extension in the range [0, 1]. The truth-value of each comparison is determined by the extensions of its component sentences; the truth-value of each atomic depends on whether its extension matches a separate standard for its predicate; everything else is computed classically. CL is less radical than Casari’s comparative logics, in (...)
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  14. Vagueness And The Sorites Paradox.Kirk Ludwig & Greg Ray - 2002 - Noûs 36 (s16):419-461.
    A sorites argument is a symptom of the vagueness of the predicate with which it is constructed. A vague predicate admits of at least one dimension of variation (and typically more than one) in its intended range along which we are at a loss when to say the predicate ceases to apply, though we start out confident that it does. It is this feature of them that the sorites arguments exploit. Exactly how is part of the subject of this paper. (...)
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  15. Vagueness in Geography.Achille C. Varzi - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):49–65.
    Some have argued that the vagueness exhibited by geographic names and descriptions such as ‘Albuquerque’, ‘the Outback’, or ‘Mount Everest’ is ultimately ontological: these terms are vague because they refer to vague objects, objects with fuzzy boundaries. I take the opposite stand and hold the view that geographic vagueness is exclusively semantic, or conceptual at large. There is no such thing as a vague mountain. Rather, there are many things where we conceive a mountain to be, each with its precise (...)
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Contextual Theories of Vagueness
  1. Vagueness and the Logic of the World.Zack Garrett - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
    In this dissertation, I argue that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon---that properties and objects can be vague---and propose a trivalent theory of vagueness meant to account for the vagueness in the world. In the first half, I argue against the theories that preserve classical logic. These theories include epistemicism, contextualism, and semantic nihilism. My objections to these theories are independent of considerations of the possibility that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon. However, I also argue that these theories are not capable (...)
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  2. Theories of Vagueness and Theories of Law.Alex Silk - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (2):132-152.
    It is common to think that what theory of linguistic vagueness is correct has implications for debates in philosophy of law. I disagree. I argue that the implications of particular theories of vagueness on substantive issues of legal theory and practice are less far-reaching than often thought. I focus on four putative implications discussed in the literature concerning (i) the value of vagueness in the law, (ii) the possibility and value of legal indeterminacy, (iii) the possibility of the rule of (...)
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  3. Une théorie unifiée de la vérité et de la référence.Barry Smith & Berit Brogaard - 2004 - In J. M. Monnoyer (ed.), La Structure du Monde: Objets, Propriétés, États du Choses. Paris: Vrin. pp. 141-184.
    The truthmaker theory rests on the thesis that the link between a true judgment and that in the world to which it corresponds is not a one-to-one but rather a one-to-many relation. An analogous thesis in relation to the link between a singular term and that in the world to which it refers is already widely accepted. This is the thesis to the effect that singular reference is marked by vagueness of a sort that is best understood in supervaluationist terms. (...)
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  4. Vague Disagreements and the Sorites Paradox.Ted Everett - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science 33: On the Sorites Paradox. New York: Springer.
    When you and I seriously argue over whether a man of seventy is old enough to count as an "old man", it seems that we are appealing neither to our own separate standards of oldness nor to a common standard that is already fixed in the language. Instead, it seems that both of us implicitly invoke an ideal, shared standard that has yet to be agreed upon: the place where we ought to draw the line. As with other normative standards, (...)
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  5. 4. Contradictorial Gradualism Vs. Discontinuism: Two Views On Fuzziness And The Transition Problem.Marcelo VÁsconez - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (195).
    The dissertation has two parts, each dealing with a problem, namely: 1) What is the most adequate account of fuzziness -the so-called phenomenon of vagueness?, and 2) what is the most plausible solution to the sorites, or heap paradox? I will try to show that fuzzy properties are those which are gradual, amenable to be possessed in a greater or smaller extent. Acknowledgement of degrees in the instantiation of a property allows for a gradual transition from one opposite to the (...)
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  6. Forced‐March Sorites Arguments and Linguistic Competence.Jonas Åkerman - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):403-426.
    Agent relativists about vagueness (henceforth ‘agent relativists’) hold that whether or not an object x falls in the extension of a vague predicate ‘P’ at a time t depends on the judgemental dispositions of a particular competent agent at t. My aim in this paper is to critically examine arguments that purport to support agent relativism by appealing to data from forced-march Sorites experiments. The most simple and direct versions of such forced-march Sorites arguments rest on the following (implicit) premise: (...)
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  7. Vagueness, Indiscernibility, and Pragmatics: Comments on Burns.Achille C. Varzi - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (S1):49-49.
    In ‘Something to Do with Vagueness ...’, Linda Burns defends an analogy between the informational and the borderline-case variety of vagueness. She argues that the latter is in fact less extraordinary and less disastrous than people in the tradition of Michael Dummett and Crispin Wright have told us. However, her account involves presuppositions that cannot be taken for granted. Here is to take a closer look at some of these presuppositions and argue hat they may—when left unguarded—undermine much of Burns’ (...)
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  8. It’s Chicken and Eggs Again: Vagueness, Quasi-Species, and Evolution.Ludger Jansen - 2006 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 36 (89):71-77.
    Wether the chicken or the egg came first, is not only a mind-boggling but a substantial question. Its answer depends on the biological background theory one assumes. I review recent work on the topic (by Teichmann, Sorensen, Waller and Raatzsch) and resolve some of the disputes between these authors by borrowing from Aristotle the distinction between chicken-producing eggs. I then introduce the concept of a quasi-species to make explicit the vagueness involved in species-terms and prove 13 different priority-claims within a (...)
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  9. Saying More (or Less) Than One Thing.Andrea Iacona - 2010 - In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Oxford University Press.
    In a paper called 'Definiteness and Knowability', Tim Williamson addresses the question whether one must accept that vagueness is an epistemic phenomenon if one adopts classical logic and a disquotational principle for truth. Some have suggested that one must not, hence that classical logic and the disquotational principle may be preserved without endorsing epistemicism. Williamson’s paper, however, finds ‘no plausible way of substantiating that possibility’. Its moral is that ‘either classical logic fails, or the disquotational principle does, or vagueness is (...)
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  10. Review of Vagueness.Adam Morton - 1995 - Philosophical Books 36 (4):272-276.
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  11. Contextualist Theories of Vagueness.Jonas Åkerman - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (7):470-480.
    During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospects of (...)
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  12. Frege on Vagueness and Ordinary Language.Stephen Puryear - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):120-140.
    Frege, we are told, believes that vague predicates have no referent (Bedeutung). But given other things he evidently believes, such a position would seem to commit him to a suspect nihilism according to which assertoric sentences containing vague predicates are neither true nor false. I argue that we have good reason to resist ascribing to Frege the view that vague predicates have no Bedeutung and thus good reason to resist seeing him as committed to the suspect nihilism. In the process, (...)
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  13. Vagueness Intuitions and the Mobility of Cognitive Sortals.Bert Baumgaertner - 2012 - Minds and Machines 22 (3):213-234.
    One feature of vague predicates is that, as far as appearances go, they lack sharp application boundaries. I argue that we would not be able to locate boundaries even if vague predicates had sharp boundaries. I do so by developing an idealized cognitive model of a categorization faculty which has mobile and dynamic sortals (`classes', `concepts' or `categories') and formally prove that the degree of precision with which boundaries of such sortals can be located is inversely constrained by their flexibility. (...)
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  14. Vagueness, Semantics and Psychology.Jonas Åkerman - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):1-5.
    According to extension-shifting theories of vagueness, the extensions of vague predicates have sharp boundaries, which shift as a function of certain psychological factors. Such theories have been claimed to provide an attractive explanation of the appeal of soritical reasoning. I challenge this claim: the demand for such an explanation need not constrain the semantics of vague predicates at all.
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