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Concepts without boundaries

In Rosanna Keefe & Peter Smith (eds.), Vagueness: A Reader. MIT Press. pp. 186-205 (1996)

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  1. On Evans's Vague Object From Set Theoretic Viewpoint.Shunsuke Yatabe & Hiroyuki Inaoka - 2006 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):423-434.
    Gareth Evans proved that if two objects are indeterminately equal then they are different in reality. He insisted that this contradicts the assumption that there can be vague objects. However we show the consistency between Evans's proof and the existence of vague objects within classical logic. We formalize Evans's proof in a set theory without the axiom of extensionality, and we define a set to be vague if it violates extensionality with respect to some other set. There exist models of (...)
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  • Supervaluationism and Its Logics.Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - Mind 116 (463):633-676.
    What sort of logic do we get if we adopt a supervaluational semantics for vagueness? As it turns out, the answer depends crucially on how the standard notion of validity as truth preservation is recasted. There are several ways of doing that within a supervaluational framework, the main alternative being between “global” construals (e.g., an argument is valid iff it preserves truth-under-all-precisifications) and “local” construals (an argument is valid iff, under all precisifications, it preserves truth). The former alternative is by (...)
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  • The Structure and Extension of (Proto)Type Concepts: Husserl’s Correlationist Approach.Hamid Taieb - 2021 - History and Philosophy of Logic 43 (2):129-142.
    This paper aims to reassess a notion in the works of the later Husserl that is both historically important and philosophically insightful, but remains understudied, namely, that of type. In opposition to a standard reading which treats Husserl’s type presentations as pre-conceptual habits, this paper argues that these representations are a specific kind of concept. More precisely, it shows that Husserl’s account of type presentations is akin to the contemporary prototype theory of concepts. This is historically important, since the predecessor (...)
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  • The No-Proposition View of Vagueness.Paula Sweeney - 2016 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2):179-195.
    This paper proposes a novel method of identifying the nature of vague sentences and a novel solution to the sorites paradox. The theory is motivated by patterns of use that language users display when using vague predicates. Identifying a coherent cause of this behaviour provides us with a theory of vague sentences that is behaviour- rather than paradox-led. The theory also provides a solution to the sorites paradox and is therefore more explanatory than other available theories of vagueness.
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  • Sharp Boundaries for Blobs.Roy A. Sorensen - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 91 (3):275-295.
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  • Vagueness in Context.Stewart Shapiro - 2006 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press UK.
    Stewart Shapiro's aim in Vagueness in Context is to develop both a philosophical and a formal, model-theoretic account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary with such contextual factors as the comparison class and paradigm cases. A person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall with respect to professional basketball players. The main feature (...)
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  • Vagueness, Open-Texture, and Retrievability.Stewart Shapiro - 2013 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 56 (2-3):307-326.
    Just about every theorist holds that vague terms are context-sensitive to some extent. What counts as ?tall?, ?rich?, and ?bald? depends on the ambient comparison class, paradigm cases, and/or the like. To take a stock example, a given person might be tall with respect to European entrepreneurs and downright short with respect to professional basketball players. It is also generally agreed that vagueness remains even after comparison class, paradigm cases, etc. are fixed, and so this context sensitivity does not solve (...)
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  • Contextualism About Vagueness and Higher-Order Vagueness.Patrick Greenough - 2005 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):167–190.
    To get to grips with what Shapiro does and can say about higher-order vagueness, it is first necessary to thoroughly review and evaluate his conception of (first-order) vagueness, a conception which is both rich and suggestive but, as it turns out, not so easy to stabilise. In Sections I–IV, his basic position on vagueness (see Shapiro [2003]) is outlined and assessed. As we go along, I offer some suggestions for improvement. In Sections V–VI, I review two key paradoxes of higher-order (...)
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  • Lessons for Vagueness From Scrambled Sorites.Mark Sainsbury - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):225-237.
    Vagueness demands many boundaries. Each is permissible, in that a thinker may without error use it to distinguish objects, though none is mandatory. This is revealed by a thought experiment—scrambled sorites—in which objects from a sorites series are presented in a random order, and subjects are required to make their judgments without access to any previous objects or their judgments concerning them.
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  • Vague Representation.Agustín Rayo - 2008 - Mind 117 (466):329-373.
    The goal of this paper is to develop a theory of content for vague language. My proposal is based on the following three theses: (1) language-mastery is not rulebased— it involves a certain kind of decision-making; (2) a theory of content is to be thought of instrumentally—it is a tool for making sense of our linguistic practice; and (3) linguistic contents are only locally defined—they are only defined relative to suitably constrained sets of possibilities. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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  • Borderline Cases and Bivalence.Diana Raffman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (1):1-31.
    It is generally agreed that vague predicates like ‘red’, ‘rich’, ‘tall’, and ‘bald’, have borderline cases of application. For instance, a cloth patch whose color lies midway between a definite red and a definite orange is a borderline case for ‘red’, and an American man five feet eleven inches in height is (arguably) a borderline case for ‘tall’. The proper analysis of borderline cases is a matter of dispute, but most theorists of vagueness agree at least in the thought that (...)
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  • Transvaluationism, Common Sense and Indirect Correspondence.Matjaž Potrč - 2002 - Acta Analytica 17 (2):101-119.
    The problem of reconciling the philosophical denial of ontological vagueness with common-sense beliefs positing vague objects, properties and relations is addressed. This project arises for any view denying ontological vagueness but is especially pressing for transvaluationism, which claims that ontological vagueness is impossible. The idea that truth, for vague discourse and vague thought-content, is an indirect form of language-thought correspondence is invoked and applied. It is pointed out that supervaluationism provides one way, but not necessarily the only way, of implementing (...)
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  • Concepts, Meanings and Truth: First Nature, Second Nature and Hard Work.Paul M. Pietroski - 2010 - Mind and Language 25 (3):247-278.
    I argue that linguistic meanings are instructions to build monadic concepts that lie between lexicalizable concepts and truth-evaluable judgments. In acquiring words, humans use concepts of various adicities to introduce concepts that can be fetched and systematically combined via certain conjunctive operations, which require monadic inputs. These concepts do not have Tarskian satisfaction conditions. But they provide bases for refinements and elaborations that can yield truth-evaluable judgments. Constructing mental sentences that are true or false requires cognitive work, not just an (...)
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  • Tolerance and Higher-Order Vagueness.Peter Pagin - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3727-3760.
    The idea of higher-order vagueness is usually associated with conceptions of vagueness that focus on the existence of borderline cases. What sense can be made of it within a conception of vagueness that focuses on tolerance instead? A proposal is offered here. It involves understanding ‘definitely’ not as a sentence operator but as a predicate modifier, and more precisely as an intensifier, that is, an operator that shifts the predicate extension along a scale. This idea is combined with the author’s (...)
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  • The Quietist’s Gambit.Ricardo Mena - 2018 - Crítica. Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofía 50 (149):3-30.
    In this paper I develop a semantic theory of vagueness that is immune to worries regarding the use of precise mathematical tools. I call this view semantic quietism. This view has the advantage of being clearly compatible with the phenomenon of vagueness. The cost is that it cannot capture every robust semantic fact.
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  • Instrumentos, Artefactos y Contexto.Ricardo Mena - 2018 - Análisis Filosófico 38 (1):83-102.
    It is notoriously difficult to model the range of application of vague predicates relative to a suitable sorites series. In this paper I offer some critical remarks against an interesting view that has received little attention in the literature. According to it, the sharp cut-offs we find in our semantic models are just artifacts of the theory, and, as such, they are harmless. At the end I discuss a contextualist view that, at a cost, may be able to get around (...)
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  • 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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  • Vagueness and Language Clusters.Rosanna Keefe - 1998 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (4):611 – 620.
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  • Implicit Comparatives and the Sorites.John-Michael Kuczynski - 2006 - History and Philosophy of Logic 27 (1):1-8.
    A person with one dollar is poor. If a person with n dollars is poor, then so is a person with n + 1 dollars. Therefore, a person with a billion dollars is poor. True premises, valid reasoning, a false a conclusion. This is an instance of the Sorites-paradox. (There are infinitely many such paradoxes. A man with an IQ of 1 is unintelligent. If a man with an IQ of n is unintelligent, so is a man with an IQ (...)
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  • Vagueness, Interpretation, and the Law.Ólafur Páll Jónsson - 2009 - Legal Theory 15 (3):193.
    It is widely accepted that vagueness in law calls for a specific interpretation of the law—interpretation that changes the meaning of the law and makes it more precise. According to this view, vagueness causes gaps in the law, and the role of legal interpretation in the case of vagueness is to fill such gaps. I argue that this view is mistaken and defend the thesis that vagueness in law calls only for an application of the law to the case at (...)
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  • Bipolar Disorder: Horgan on Vagueness and Incoherence.Gerald Hull - 2005 - Synthese 143 (3):351-369.
    . According to Horgans transvaluationist approach, the robustness that characterizes vague terms is inherently incoherent. He analyzes that robustness into two conceptual poles, individualistic and collectivistic, and ascribes the incoherence to the former. However, he claims vague terms remain useful nonetheless, because the collectivistic pole can be realized with a suitable non-classical logic and can quarantine the incoherence arising out of the individualistic pole. I argue, on the contrary, that the nonclassical logic fails to resolve the difficulty and that the (...)
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  • Epistemicism, Paradox, and Conditional Obligation.Ivan Hu - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2123-2139.
    Stewart Shapiro has objected to the epistemicist theory of vagueness on grounds that it gives counterintuitive predictions about cases involving conditional obligation. This paper details a response on the epistemicist’s behalf. I first argue that Shapiro’s own presentation of the objection is unsuccessful as an argument against epistemicism. I then reconstruct and offer two alternative arguments inspired by Shapiro’s considerations, and argue that these fail too, given the information-sensitive nature of conditional obligations.
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  • Tolerance Effect in Categorisation with Vague Predicates.Minyao Huang - 2013 - Pragmatics and Cognition 21 (2):340-358.
    Vagueness is understood as the problem of associating imprecise application criteria with ordinary predicates such as ‘bald’ or ‘blue’. It is often construed as due to one’s tolerance to a minute difference in forming a verdict on the application of a vague predicate. This paper reports an experiment conducted to test the effect of tolerance, using as paradigm categorisation tasks performed with respect to transitional series, e.g., a series of tomatoes from red to orange. The findings suggest a negative effect (...)
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  • Transvaluationism About Vagueness: A Progress Report.Terry Horgan - 2010 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (1):67-94.
    The philosophical account of vagueness I call "transvaluationism" makes three fundamental claims. First, vagueness is logically incoherent in a certain way: it essentially involves mutually unsatisfiable requirements that govern vague language, vague thought-content, and putative vague objects and properties. Second, vagueness in language and thought (i.e., semantic vagueness) is a genuine phenomenon despite possessing this form of incoherence—and is viable, legitimate, and indeed indispensable. Third, vagueness as a feature of objects, properties, or relations (i.e., ontological vagueness) is impossible, because of (...)
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  • A Novel Category of Vague Abstracta.Jeffrey Goodman - 2007 - Metaphysica 8 (1):79-96.
    Much attention has been given to the question of ontic vagueness, and the issues usually center around whether certain paradigmatically concrete entities – cats, clouds, mountains, etc. – are vague in the sense of having indeterminate spatial boundaries. In this paper, however, I wish to focus on a way in which some abstracta seem to be locationally vague. To begin, I will briefly cover some territory already covered regarding certain types of “traditional” abstracta and the ways they are currently alleged (...)
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  • What Vagueness Consists In.Matti Eklund - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):27-60.
    The main question of the paper is that ofwhat vagueness consists in. This question must be distinguished from other questions about vagueness discussed in the literature. It is argued that familiar accounts of vagueness for general reasons failto answer the question ofwhat vagueness consists in. A positive view is defended, according to which, roughly, the vagueness of an expression consists in it being part ofsemantic competence to accept a tolerance principle for the expression. Since tolerance principles are inconsistent, this is (...)
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  • What Verities May Be.Igor Douven & Lieven Decock - 2017 - Mind 126 (502):386-428.
    Edgington has proposed a solution to the sorites paradox in terms of ‘verities’, which she defines as degrees of closeness to clear truth. Central to her solution is the assumption that verities are formally probabilities. She is silent on what verities might derive from and on why they should be probabilities. This paper places Edgington’s solution in the framework of a spatial approach to conceptualization, arguing that verities may be conceived of as deriving from how our concepts relate to each (...)
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  • Vagueness: A Conceptual Spaces Approach.Igor Douven, Lieven Decock, Richard Dietz & Paul Égré - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (1):137-160.
    The conceptual spaces approach has recently emerged as a novel account of concepts. Its guiding idea is that concepts can be represented geometrically, by means of metrical spaces. While it is generally recognized that many of our concepts are vague, the question of how to model vagueness in the conceptual spaces approach has not been addressed so far, even though the answer is far from straightforward. The present paper aims to fill this lacuna.
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  • Strict Finitism, Feasibility, and the Sorites.Walter Dean - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic 11 (2):295-346.
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  • The Metaphysical Implications of the Moral Significance of Consciousness.Brian Cutter - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):103-130.
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  • Meaning is Normative: A Response to Hattiangadi. [REVIEW]James Connelly - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):55-71.
    Against a broad consensus within contemporary analytic philosophy, Hattiangadi (Mind and Language 21(2):220–240, 2006 , 2007 ) has recently argued that linguistic meaning is not normative, at least not in the sense of being prescriptive. She maintains, more specifically, that standard claims to the effect that meaning is normative are usually ambiguous between two readings: one, which she calls Prescriptivity , and another, which she calls Correctness . According to Hattiangadi, though meaning is normative in the uncontroversial sense specified in (...)
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  • Fundamental Nomic Vagueness.Eddy Keming Chen - 2022 - Philosophical Review 131 (1):1-49.
    If there are fundamental laws of nature, can they fail to be exact? In this paper, I consider the possibility that some fundamental laws are vague. I call this phenomenon 'fundamental nomic vagueness.' I characterize fundamental nomic vagueness as the existence of borderline lawful worlds and the presence of several other accompanying features. Under certain assumptions, such vagueness prevents the fundamental physical theory from being completely expressible in the mathematical language. Moreover, I suggest that such vagueness can be regarded as (...)
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  • A Normatively Neutral Definition of Paternalism.Emma C. Bullock - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258):1-21.
    In this paper, I argue that a definition of paternalism must meet certain methodological constraints. Given the failings of descriptivist and normatively charged definitions of paternalism, I argue that we have good reason to pursue a normatively neutral definition. Archard's 1990 definition is one such account. It is for this reason that I return to Archard's account with a critical eye. I argue that Archard's account is extensionally inadequate, failing to capture some cases which are clear instances of paternalism. I (...)
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  • I—Columnar Higher-Order Vagueness, or Vagueness is Higher-Order Vagueness.Susanne Bobzien - 2015 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):61-87.
    Most descriptions of higher-order vagueness in terms of traditional modal logic generate so-called higher-order vagueness paradoxes. The one that doesn't is problematic otherwise. Consequently, the present trend is toward more complex, non-standard theories. However, there is no need for this.In this paper I introduce a theory of higher-order vagueness that is paradox-free and can be expressed in the first-order extension of a normal modal system that is complete with respect to single-domain Kripke-frame semantics. This is the system QS4M+BF+FIN. It corresponds (...)
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  • Higher-Order Vagueness and Borderline Nestings: A Persistent Confusion.Susanne Bobzien - 2013 - Analytic Philosophy 54 (1):1-43.
    ABSTRACT: This paper argues that the so-called paradoxes of higher-order vagueness are the result of a confusion between higher-order vagueness and the distribution of the objects of a Sorites series into extensionally non-overlapping non-empty classes.
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  • 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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  • The Problem of Ethical Vagueness for Expressivism.Nicholas Baima - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):593-605.
    Ethical vagueness has garnered little attention. This is rather surprising since many philosophers have remarked that the science of ethics lacks the precision that other fields of inquiry have. Of the few philosophers who have discussed ethical vagueness the majority have focused on the implications of vagueness for moral realism. Because the relevance of ethical vagueness for other metaethical positions has been underexplored, my aim in this paper is to investigate the ramifications of ethical vagueness for expressivism. Ultimately, I shall (...)
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  • VIII—Vagueness at Every Order.Andrew Bacon - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):165-201.
    There are some properties, like being bald, for which it is vague where the boundary between the things that have it and the things that do not lies. A number of arguments threaten to show that such properties can still be associated with determinate and knowable boundaries: not between the things that have it and those that don’t, but between the things such that it is borderline at some order whether they have it and the things for which it is (...)
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  • Context-Sensitivity.Tom Donaldson & Ernie Lepore - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York, NY, USA: Routledge. pp. 116 - 131.
    This article is a survey of the literature on context sensitivity in the philosophy of language.
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  • Vagueness as Arbitrariness: Outline of a Theory of Vagueness.Sagid Salles - 2021 - Springer.
    This book proposes a new solution to the problem of vagueness. There are several different ways of addressing this problem and no clear agreement on which one is correct. The author proposes that it should be understood as the problem of explaining vague predicates in a way that systematizes six intuitions about the phenomenon and satisfies three criteria of adequacy for an ideal theory of vagueness. The third criterion, which is called the “criterion of precisification”, is the most controversial one. (...)
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  • Applied Ethics Series (Center for Applied Ethics and Philosophy).Jacob Blair - 2011
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  • Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness.K. Akiba (ed.) - 2014 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    This unique anthology of new, contributed essays offers a range of perspectives on various aspects of ontic vagueness. It seeks to answer core questions pertaining to onticism, the view that vagueness exists in the world itself. The questions to be addressed include whether vague objects must have vague identity, and whether ontic vagueness has a distinctive logic, one that is not shared by semantic or epistemic vagueness. The essays in this volume explain the motivations behind onticism, such as the plausibility (...)
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  • Vagueness: A Guide.Giuseppina Ronzitti (ed.) - 2011 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer Verlag.
    This volume analyzes and studies how vagueness occurs and matters as a specific problem in the context of theories that are primarily about something else.
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  • Vagueness.Roy Sorensen - 1997 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.
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  • Strange Kinds, Familiar Kinds, and the Charge of Arbitrariness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics:119-144.
    Particularists in material-object metaphysics hold that our intuitive judgments about which kinds of things there are and are not are largely correct. One common argument against particularism is the argument from arbitrariness, which turns on the claim that there is no ontologically significant difference between certain of the familiar kinds that we intuitively judge to exist (snowballs, islands, statues, solar systems) and certain of the strange kinds that we intuitively judge not to exist (snowdiscalls, incars, gollyswoggles, the fusion of the (...)
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  • Extensions in Flux : An Essay on Vagueness and Context Sensitivity.Jonas Åkerman - 2009 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    The extensions of vague predicates like ‘is bald’, ‘is tall’, and ‘is a heap’ apparently lack sharp boundaries, and this makes such predicates susceptible to soritical reasoning, i.e. reasoning that leads to some version of the notorious sorites paradox. This essay is concerned with a certain kind of theory of vagueness, according to which the symptoms and puzzles of vagueness should be accounted for in terms of a particular species of context sensitivity exhibited by vague expressions. The basic idea is (...)
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  • Vagueness and Meaning.Roy T. Cook - 2011 - In Giuseppina Ronzitti (ed.), Vagueness: A Guide. Springer Verlag. pp. 83--106.
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  • Castles Built on Clouds: Vague Identity and Vague Objects.Benjamin L. Curtis & Harold W. Noonan - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Springer. pp. 305-326.
    Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...)
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  • The Concept of Testimony.Nicola Mößner - 2011 - In Christoph Jäger & Winfried Löffler (eds.), Epistemology: Contexts, Values, Disagreement, Papers of the 34. International Wittgenstein Symposium. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 207-209.
    Many contributors of the debate about knowledge by testimony concentrate on the problem of justification. In my paper I will stress a different point – the concept of testimony itself. As a starting point I will use the definitional proposal of Jennifer Lackey. She holds that the concept of testimony should be regarded as entailing two aspects – one corresponding to the speaker, the other one to the hearer. I will adopt the assumption that we need to deal with both (...)
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  • Against the Unrestricted Applicability of Disjunction Elimination.Marcel Jahn - 2017 - Rerum Causae 9 (2):92-111.
    In this paper, I argue that the disjunction elimination rule presupposes the principle that a true disjunction contains at least one true disjunct. However, in some contexts such as supervaluationism or quantum logic, we have good reasons to reject this principle. Hence, disjunction elimination is restricted in at least one respect: it is not applicable to disjunctions for which this principle does not hold. The insight that disjunction elimination presupposes the principle that a true disjunction contains at least one true (...)
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