Moral realism and semantic accounts of moral vagueness

Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (3):381-393 (2023)
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Miriam Schoenfield argues that moral realism and moral vagueness imply ontic vagueness. In particular, she argues that neither shifty nor rigid semantic accounts of vagueness can provide a satisfactory explanation of moral vagueness for moral realists. This paper constitutes a response. I argue that Schoenfield's argument against the shifty semantic account presupposes that moral indeterminacies can, in fact, be resolved determinately by crunching through linguistic data. I provide different reasons for rejecting this assumption. Furthermore, I argue that Schoenfield's rejection of the rigid semantic account is based on a presupposition that ultimately implies the very same claim that is under dispute: the vagueness of moral predicates in imperfect languages persists in the perfect language, as well.

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Ali Abasnezhad
Ludwig Maximilians Universit√§t, M√ľnchen


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