Supervaluationism, Indirect Speech Reports, and Demonstratives

In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and clouds: vagueness, its nature, and its logic. New York: Oxford University Press (2010)
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Can supervaluationism successfully handle indirect speech reports? This chapter considers, and rejects, Schiffer’s claim that they cannot. One alleged problem with indirect speech reports is that the truth of “Carla said that Bob is tall” implausibly requires that Carla said all of a huge number of precise things (i.e. that Bob was over n feet tall, for values of n corresponding to precisifications of “tall”). The paper shows why the supervaluationist is not committed to this. Vague singular terms are no particular problem for supervaluationism within indirect speech reports, it is argued, but there remain some issues surrounding certain vague demonstratives. The supervaluationist has good responses available, however, and any remaining questions face all theories of vagueness and are more appropriately addressed within a theory of demonstratives rather than a theory of vagueness.

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Rosanna Keefe
University of Sheffield


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