Moral Vagueness as Semantic Vagueness

Ethics 129 (4):684-705 (2019)
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Does moral vagueness require ontic vagueness? A central challenge for nonontic treatments of moral vagueness arises from the referential stability of moral terms across small changes in how they are applied: if moral vagueness is not ontic vagueness, it’s hard to explain this referential stability. Pointing to this challenge, Miriam Schoenfield has argued that moral vagueness is ontic vagueness, at least for a moral realist. I disagree. I argue that a moral realist can use a conceptual role semantics for moral terms to give a purely semantic treatment of moral vagueness.

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Rohan Sud
Virginia Tech


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