Results for 'Vagueness (Philosophy)'

238 found
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  1. Vagueness and the Philosophy of Perception.Ryan Perkins - 2012 - Dissertation, University of Oxford
    This dissertation explores several illuminating points of intersection between the philosophy of perception and the philosophy of vagueness. Among other things, I argue: (i) that it is entirely unhelpful to theorize about perception or consciousness using Nagelian "what it's like" talk; (ii) that a popular recent account of perceptual phenomenology (representationalism) conflicts with our best theory of vagueness (supervaluationism); (iii) that there are no vague properties, for Evans-esque reasons; (iv) that it is impossible to insert "determinacy" (...)
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  2. 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 (...)
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  3. The Vagueness of Religious Beliefs.Daniele Bertini - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (2):181-210.
    My paper characterizes religious beliefs in terms of vagueness. I introduce my topic by providing a general overview of my main claims. In the subsequent section, I develop basic distinctions and terminology for handling the notion of religious tradition and capturing vagueness. In the following sections, I make the case for my claim that religious beliefs are vague by developing a general argument from the interconnection between the referential opacity of religious belief content and the long-term communitarian history (...)
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  4. 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 (...)
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  5. Has Vagueness Really No Function in Law?David Lanius - 2013 - Sektionsbeiträge des Achten Internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft Für Analytische Philosophie E.V.
    When the United States Supreme Court used the expression “with all deliberate speed” in the case Brown v. Board of Education, it did so presumably because of its vagueness. Many jurists, economists, linguists, and philosophers accordingly assume that vagueness can be strategically used to one’s advantage. Roy Sorensen has cast doubt on this assumption by strictly differentiating between vagueness and generality. Indeed, most arguments for the value of vagueness go through only when vagueness is confused (...)
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  6. Vagueness, Indiscernibility, and Pragmatics: Comments on Burns.Achille C. Varzi - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (S1):49-62.
    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 (...)
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  7. Locating Vagueness.Trenton Merricks - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (5):221-250.
    The claim that all vagueness must be a feature of language or thought is the current orthodoxy. This is a claim about the “location” of vagueness. “Locating Vagueness” argues that this claim is false, largely by defending the possibility of borderline cases in the absence of language and thought. If the orthodoxy about the location of vagueness is false, then so too is any account of the “nature” of vagueness that implies that orthodoxy. So this (...)
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  8. Vagueness and Normativity.Avram Hiller - 2005 - Dissertation, Duke University
    [Author's note: I am posting this dissertation since it may be of interest to some people working on vagueness and related topics. It does not represent my current views on the topic. I have never attempted to publish any of this work, though I hope some day to return to it.] -/- Philosophers have devoted a lot of attention to vagueness in recent years, but there is still no general consensus about how to resolve the Sorites paradox. Timothy (...)
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    Vagueness and law: philosophical and legal perspectives.Geert Keil & Ralf Poscher - 2016 - In Geert Keil & Ralf Poscher (eds.), Vagueness and Law: Philosophical and Legal Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Vague expressions are omnipresent in natural language. As such, their use in legal texts is virtually inevitable. If a law contains vague terms, the question whether it applies to a particular case often lacks a clear answer. One of the fundamental pillars of the rule of law is legal certainty. The determinacy of the law enables people to use it as a guide and places judges in the position to decide impartially. Vagueness poses a threat to these ideals. In (...)
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  10. Vagueness and Frege.Marian Călborean - 2021 - Romanian Journal of Analytic Philosophy 2:12-44.
    A constant of Frege’s writing is his rejection of indeterminate predicates as found in natural language. This paper follows Frege’s remarks on vagueness from the early "Begriffsschrift” to his mature works, drawing brief parallels with the main contemporary theories of vagueness. I critically examine Frege’s arguments for the inconsistency of natural language and argue that the inability to accommodate vagueness in his mature ontology is mainly due to heuristic rules of thumb which Frege took as essential, not (...)
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  11. Vagueness: Subvaluationism.Pablo Cobreros - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):472-485.
    Supervaluationism is a well known theory of vagueness. Subvaluationism is a less well known theory of vagueness. But these theories cannot be taken apart, for they are in a relation of duality that can be made precise. This paper provides an introduction to the subvaluationist theory of vagueness in connection to its dual, supervaluationism. A survey on the supervaluationist theory can be found in the Compass paper of Keefe (2008); our presentation of the theory in this paper (...)
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  12. Real Vagueness.Vincent C. Müller - 1997 - In Georg Meggle (ed.), Analyomen 2: Perspectives in analytical philosophy. de Gruyter. pp. 398-403.
    The nature of vagueness is investigated via a preliminary definition and a discussion of the classical sorites paradox ; this is carried further by asking for the origins of vagueness and a critique of several attempts to remove it from language. It is shown that such attempts are ill motivated and doomed for failure since vagueness is not just a matter of ignorance but firmly grounded in epistemic and metaphysical facts. Finally, the philosophical interest of real (...) is illustrated by the concept of “natural kind”, which is essential to realism/anti-realism debates. (shrink)
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  13. Vague Value.Tom Dougherty - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):352-372.
    You are morally permitted to save your friend at the expense of a few strangers, but not at the expense of very many. However, there seems no number of strangers that marks a precise upper bound here. Consequently, there are borderline cases of groups at the expense of which you are permitted to save your friend. This essay discusses the question of what explains ethical vagueness like this, arguing that there are interesting metaethical consequences of various explanations.
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  14. Vagueness.Varol Akman - 2006 - In A. C. Grayling, Andrew Pyle & Naomi Goulder (eds.), The Continuum encyclopedia of British philosophy. Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum. pp. 3260-3261.
    Vagueness, 'the quality or condition of being vague' (OED), has kept philosophers busy since ancient times. This article gives a concise account of vagueness.
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  15. Persistence, Vagueness, and Location.Antony Eagle - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (10):507-532.
    This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on material objects. These views, (...)
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  16. Vagueness : a statistical epistemicist approach.Jiri Benovsky - 2011 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):97-112.
    There are three main traditional accounts of vagueness : one takes it as a genuinely metaphysical phenomenon, one takes it as a phenomenon of ignorance, and one takes it as a linguistic or conceptual phenomenon. In this paper I first very briefly present these views, especially the epistemicist and supervaluationist strategies, and shortly point to some well-known problems that the views carry. I then examine a 'statistical epistemicist' account of vagueness that is designed to avoid precisely these problems (...)
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  17. Ontic vagueness and metaphysical indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for (...)
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  18. 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 (...)
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  19. The value of vague ideas in the development of the periodic system of chemical elements.Vogt Thomas - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10587-10614.
    The exploration of chemical periodicity over the past 250 years led to the development of the Periodic System of Elements and demonstrates the value of vague ideas that ignored early scientific anomalies and instead allowed for extended periods of normal science where new methodologies and concepts are developed. The basic chemical element provides this exploration with direction and explanation and has shown to be a central and historically adaptable concept for a theory of matter far from the reductionist frontier. This (...)
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  20. Vague Singulars, Semantic Indecision, and the Metaphysics of Persons.Donald P. Smith - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3):569-585.
    Composite materialism, as I will understand it, is the view that human persons are composite material objects. This paper develops and investigates an argument, The Vague Singulars Argument, for the falsity of composite materialism. We shall see that cogent or not, the Vague Singulars Argument has philosophically significant ramifications.
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  21. Why the Vagueness Paradox is Amazing.Bryan Frances - 2018 - Think 17 (50):27-38.
    One of the hardest problems in philosophy, one that has been around for over two thousand years without generating any significant consensus on its solution, involves the concept of vagueness: a word or concept that doesn't have a perfectly precise meaning. There is an argument that seems to show that the word or concept simply must have a perfectly precise meaning, as violently counterintuitive as that is. Unfortunately, the argument is usually so compressed that it is difficult to (...)
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  22. 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 (the phenomenon that paradigmatically rears its head in sorites reasoning). 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 (...)
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  23. Deconstructing Ontological Vagueness.Matti Eklund - 2008 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (1):117-140.
    I will here present a number of problems concerning the idea that there is ontological vagueness, and the related claim that appeal to this idea can help solve some vagueness-related problems. A theme underlying the discussion will be the distinction between vagueness specifically and indeterminacy more generally (and, relatedly, the distinction between ontological vagueness and ontological indeterminacy). Even if the world is somehow ontologically indeterminate it by no means follows that it is, properly speaking, ontologically vague.1..
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  24. That There Might Be Vague Objects (So Far as Concerns Logic).Richard Heck - 1998 - The Monist 81 (1):277-99.
    Gareth Evans has argued that the existence of vague objects is logically precluded: The assumption that it is indeterminate whether some object a is identical to some object b leads to contradiction. I argue in reply that, although this is true—I thus defend Evans's argument, as he presents it—the existence of vague objects is not thereby precluded. An 'Indefinitist' need only hold that it is not logically required that every identity statement must have a determinate truth-value, not that some such (...)
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  25. Vagueness and Discourse Dynamics.Sam Carter - 2022 - In Daniel Altshuler (ed.), Linguistics Meets Philosophy. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
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  26. The Nature and Value of Vagueness in the Law.Hrafn Ásgeirsson - 2020 - Oxford: Hart Publishing.
    Sample chapter from H. Asgeirsson, The Nature and Value of Vagueness in the Law (Hart Publishing, 2020), in which I present and partially defend a version of what has come to be called the communicative-content theory of law. Book abstract: Lawmaking is – paradigmatically – a type of speech act: people make law by saying things. It is natural to think, therefore, that the content of the law is determined by what lawmakers communicate. However, what they communicate is sometimes (...)
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  27. Quantifier Variance, Vague Existence, and Metaphysical Vagueness.Rohan Sud - 2023 - Journal of Philosophy 120 (4):173-219.
    This paper asks: Is the quantifier variantist committed to metaphysical vagueness? My investigation of this question goes via a study of vague existence. I’ll argue that the quantifier variantist is committed to vague existence and that the vague existence posited by the variantist requires a puzzling sort of metaphysical vagueness. Specifically, I distinguish between (what I call) positive and negative metaphysical vagueness. Positive metaphysical vagueness is (roughly) the claim that there is vagueness in the world; (...)
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  28. Imprecise Probability and Higher Order Vagueness.Susanne Rinard - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (2):257-273.
    There is a trade-off between specificity and accuracy in existing models of belief. Descriptions of agents in the tripartite model, which recognizes only three doxastic attitudes—belief, disbelief, and suspension of judgment—are typically accurate, but not sufficiently specific. The orthodox Bayesian model, which requires real-valued credences, is perfectly specific, but often inaccurate: we often lack precise credences. I argue, first, that a popular attempt to fix the Bayesian model by using sets of functions is also inaccurate, since it requires us to (...)
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  29. Causal Exclusion and Ontic Vagueness.Kenneth Silver - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (1):56-69.
    The Causal Exclusion Problem is raised in many domains, including in the metaphysics of macroscopic objects. If there is a complete explanation of macroscopic effects in terms of the microscopic entities that compose macroscopic objects, then the efficacy of the macroscopic will be threatened with exclusion. I argue that we can avoid the problem if we accept that macroscopic objects are ontically vague. Then, it is indeterminate which collection of microscopic entities compose them, and so information about microscopic entities is (...)
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  30. The Argument from Vagueness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (10):891-901.
    A presentation of the Lewis-Sider argument from vagueness for unrestricted composition and possible responses.
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  31. Some Remarks on Russell's Account of Vagueness.Alan Schwerin - 1999 - Contemporary Philosophy 3: 52 - 57.
    According to Russell, the notation in Principia Mathematica has been designed to avoid the vagueness endemic to our natural language. But what does Russell think vagueness is? My argument is an attempt to show that his views on vagueness evolved and that the final conception he adopts is not coherent. Three phases of his conception of vagueness are identified, the most significant being the view that he articulates on vagueness in his 1923 address to the (...)
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  32. Vagueness and Intuitionistic Logic.Ian Rumfitt - forthcoming - In Alexander Miller (ed.), Language, Logic,and Mathematics: Themes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright. Oxford University Press.
    In his essay ‘“Wang’s Paradox”’, Crispin Wright proposes a solution to the Sorites Paradox (in particular, the form of it he calls the ‘Paradox of Sharp Boundaries’) that involves adopting intuitionistic logic when reasoning with vague predicates. He does not give a semantic theory which accounts for the validity of intuitionistic logic (and the invalidity of stronger logics) in that area. The present essay tentatively makes good the deficiency. By applying a theorem of Tarski, it shows that intuitionistic logic is (...)
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  33. 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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  34. Higher Order Vagueness.Marcia Ricci Pinheiro - 2018 - International Journal of Advances in Philosophy 2 (2):38-43.
    A discussion on this so debatable and debated concept, Higher Order Vagueness. After going through the issues that make Higher Order Vagueness an object of scientific attention, we conclude that vagueness is undesirable in logical systems but desirable in language, and the Semiotics Universe splits into three other universes inside of the universe of the Computer Science Systems. We create a new way of addressing problems with sigmatoids, and define vagueness in an almost mathematical fashion.
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  35. Vagueness, conditionals and probability.Robert Williams - 2009 - Erkenntnis 70 (2):151 - 171.
    This paper explores the interaction of well-motivated (if controversial) principles governing the probability conditionals, with accounts of what it is for a sentence to be indefinite. The conclusion can be played in a variety of ways. It could be regarded as a new reason to be suspicious of the intuitive data about the probability of conditionals; or, holding fixed the data, it could be used to give traction on the philosophical analysis of a contentious notion—indefiniteness. The paper outlines the various (...)
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  36. Sorensen's argument against vague objects.Ned Markosian - 2000 - Philosophical Studies 97 (1):1-9.
    In his fascinating and provocative paper, "Sharp Boundaries for Blobs," Roy Sorensen gives several arguments against the possibility of "vague objects," or objects with indeterminate boundaries.1 In what follows, I will examine the main argument given by Sorensen in his paper. This argument has a great deal of initial plausibility. Moreover, I happen to sympathize with its conclusion. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Sorensen's argument fails to establish that conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to show why. I (...)
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  37. 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 (...)
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  38. The Intrinsic Vagueness of Language.Marcia Ricci Pinheiro - 2017 - International Journal of Advances in Philosophy 1 (1):1-4.
    In this paper, we take the approach of the lexicon makers: We contemplate human language instead of trying to resist its forces. Basically, some sigmatoids seem to have been created to be free of boundaries: We fence them as we please when we apply them to our assertions, but they are quite vague in the lexicon. We here identify at least two types of such sigmatoids: The synthetisers and the specifiers. The former would originate from our capacity of isolating common (...)
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  39. Continuity as vagueness: The mathematical antecedents of Peirce’s semiotics.Peter Ochs - 1993 - Semiotica 96 (3-4):231-256.
    In the course of. his philosophic career, Charles Peirce made repeated attempts to construct mathematical definitions of the commonsense or experimental notion of 'continuity'. In what I will label his Final Definition of Continuity, however, Peirce abandoned the attempt to achieve mathe­matical definition and assigned the analysis of continuity to an otherwise unnamed extra-mathematical science. In this paper, I identify the Final Definition, attempt to define its terms, and suggest that it belongs to Peirce's emergent semiotics of vagueness. I (...)
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  40. 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 (...)
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  41. On Vague Eschatology.Michael J. Almeida - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (4):359-375.
    Ted Sider’s Proportionality of Justice condition requires that any two moral agents instantiating nearly the same moral state be treated in nearly the same way. I provide a countermodel in supervaluation semantics to the proportionality of justice condition. It is possible that moral agents S and S' are in nearly the same moral state, S' is beyond all redemption and S is not. It is consistent with perfect justice then that moral agents that are not beyond redemption go determinately to (...)
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  42. Epistemicism, parasites, and vague names.Brian Weatherson - 2003 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2):276 – 279.
    John Burgess has recently argued that Timothy Williamson’s attempts to avoid the objection that his theory of vagueness is based on an untenable metaphysics of content are unsuccessful. Burgess’s arguments are important, and largely correct, but there is a mistake in the discussion of one of the key examples. In this note I provide some alternative examples and use them to repair the mistaken section of the argument.
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  43. Moral realism and semantic accounts of moral vagueness.Ali Abasnezhad - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (3):381-393.
    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 (...)
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  44. Vagueness.Robert Williams - 2011 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Graff Fara (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York, USA: Routledge.
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  45. Indeterminacy and Vagueness: Logic and Metaphysics.Peter Van Inwagen - 2009 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 1 (2):1 - 19.
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  46. A simple logic for comparisons and vagueness.Theodore J. Everett - 2000 - Synthese 123 (2):263-278.
    This article provides 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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  47. On the Borders of Vagueness and the Vagueness of Borders.Rory Collins - 2018 - Vassar College Journal of Philosophy 5:30-44.
    This article argues that resolutions to the sorites paradox offered by epistemic and supervaluation theories fail to adequately account for vagueness. After explaining the paradox, I examine the epistemic theory defended by Timothy Williamson and discuss objections to his semantic argument for vague terms having precise boundaries. I then consider Rosanna Keefe's supervaluationist approach and explain why it fails to accommodate the problem of higher-order vagueness. I conclude by discussing how fuzzy logic may hold the key to resolving (...)
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  48. What the Epistemic Account of Vagueness Means for Legal Interpretation.Luke William Hunt - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (1):29-54.
    This paper explores what the epistemic account of vagueness means for theories of legal interpretation. The thesis of epistemicism is that vague statements are true or false even though it is impossible to know which. I argue that if epistemicism is accepted within the domain of the law, then the following three conditions must be satisfied: Interpretative reasoning within the law must adhere to the principle of bivalence and the law of excluded middle, interpretative reasoning within the law must (...)
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  49. On Evil's Vague Necessity.Michael J. Almeida - 2009 - In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion: Volume 2. Oxford University Press UK.
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  50. Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context. [REVIEW]Steven Gross - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (2):261-266.
    Stewart Shapiro’s book develops a contextualist approach to vagueness. It’s chock-full of ideas and arguments, laid out in wonderfully limpid prose. Anyone working on vagueness (or the other topics it touches on—see below) will want to read it. According to Shapiro, vague terms have borderline cases: there are objects to which the term neither determinately applies nor determinately does not apply. A term determinately applies in a context iff the term’s meaning and the non-linguistic facts determine that they (...)
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