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  1. Michael J. Almeida (2005). Is It Impossible to Be Moral? Dialogue 44 (1):3-13.
    Recent work in moral theory includes an intriguing new argument that the vagueness of moral properties, together with two well-known and well-received metaethical principles, entails the incredible conclusion that it is impossible to be moral. I show that the argument equivocates between “it is true that A and B are morally indistinguishable” and “it is not false that A and B are morally indistinguishable.” As expected the argument is interesting but unsound. It is therefore not impossible to be moral.Les travaux (...)
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  2. Frank Arntzenius & David McCarthy (1997). Self Torture and Group Beneficence. Erkenntnis 47 (1):129-144.
    Moral puzzles about actions which bring about very small or what are said to be imperceptible harms or benefits for each of a large number of people are well known. Less well known is an argument by Warren Quinn that standard theories of rationality can lead an agent to end up torturing himself or herself in a completely foreseeable way, and that this shows that standard theories of rationality need to be revised. We show where Quinn's argument goes wrong, and (...)
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  3. Hrafn Asgeirsson (2015). On the Instrumental Value of Vagueness in the Law. Ethics 125 (2):425-448.
    It is natural to think that law ought not to be vague. After all, law is supposed to guide conduct, and vague law seems poorly suited to do that. Contrary to this common impression, however, a number of authors have argued that vagueness in the law is sometimes a good thing, because it is a means to achieving certain valuable legislative ends. In this article, I argue that many authors—including Timothy Endicott and Jeremy Waldron—wrongly associate vagueness with instrumental roles that (...)
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  4. Hrafn Asgeirsson (2013). Vagueness and Power-Delegation in Law: A Reply to Sorensen. In Michael Freeman & Fiona Smith (eds.), Current Legal Issues: Law and Language. Oxford University Press
    Roy Sorensen has argued that vagueness in the law cannot be justified by appeal to the value of power-delegation, and thereby threatens to take away one of the main reasons for thinking that vagueness can be valuable to law. Delegation of power to officials is justified, he thinks, only if these officials are in a better position to discover whether a particular x is F, a condition not satisfied in cases of vagueness. I argue that Sorensen’s argument is unsound: delegation (...)
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  5. Hrafn Asgeirsson (2012). Vagueness, Comparative Value, and the "Lawmakers' Challenge". Archiv für Rechts- Und Sozialphilosophie 98 (3):299-316.
    In "The Value of Vagueness," Timothy Endicott argues that vague law can be better than precise law. I think he is in many respects correct, but will suggest that we modify and supplement his framework in order to get a firmer grip on what I call the Lawmakers' Challenge: the scenario in which lawmakers find themselves when they must determine whether the consequences of precision are worse than the consequences of vagueness. This will allow us to identify several points of (...)
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  6. Nicholas Baima (2014). The Problem of Ethical Vagueness for Expressivism. 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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  7. Erik Carlson (2004). Broome's Argument Against Value Incomparability. Utilitas 16 (2):220-224.
    John Broome has argued that alleged cases of value incomparability are really examples of vagueness in the betterness relation. The main premiss of his argument is ‘the collapsing principle’. I argue that this principle is dubious, and that Broome's argument is therefore unconvincing. Correspondence:c1 Erik.Carlson@filosofi.uu.se.
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  8. Cristian Constantinescu (2014). Moral Vagueness: A Dilemma for Non-Naturalism. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 9. Oxford University Press 152-185.
    In this paper I explore the implications of moral vagueness (viz., the vagueness of moral predicates) for non-naturalist metaethical theories like those recently championed by Shafer-Landau, Parfit, and others. I characterise non-naturalism in terms of its commitment to 7 theses: Cognitivism, Correspondence, Atomism, Objectivism, Supervenience, Non-reductivism, and Rationalism. I start by offering a number of reasons for thinking that moral predicates are vague in the same way in which ‘red’, ‘tall’, and ‘heap’ are said to be. I then argue that (...)
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  9. Cristian Constantinescu (2012). Value Incomparability and Indeterminacy. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (1):57-70.
    Two competing accounts of value incomparability have been put forward in the recent literature. According to the standard account, developed most famously by Joseph Raz, ‘incomparability’ means determinate failure of the three classic value relations ( better than , worse than , and equally good ): two value-bearers are incomparable with respect to a value V if and only if (i) it is false that x is better than y with respect to V , (ii) it is false that x (...)
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  10. Tom Dougherty (2014). Vague Value. 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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  11. Luke Elson (2015). Tenenbaum and Raffman on Vague Projects, the Self-Torturer, and the Sorites. Ethics 126 (2):474-488.
    Sergio Tenenbaum and Diana Raffman contend that ‘vague projects’ motivate radical revisions to orthodox, utility-maximising rational choice theory. Their argument cannot succeed if such projects merely ground instances of the paradox of the sorites, or heap. Tenenbaum and Raffman are not blind to this, and argue that Warren Quinn’s Puzzle of the Self-Torturer does not rest on the sorites. I argue that their argument both fails to generalise to most vague projects, and is ineffective in the case of the Self-Torturer (...)
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  12. Luke Elson (2014). Borderline Cases and the Collapsing Principle. Utilitas 26 (1):51-60.
    John Broome has argued that value incommensurability is vagueness, by appeal to a controversial about comparative indeterminacy. I offer a new counterexample to the collapsing principle. That principle allows us to derive an outright contradiction from the claim that some object is a borderline case of some predicate. But if there are no borderline cases, then the principle is empty. The collapsing principle is either false or empty.
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  13. Timothy Endicott (2001). Law is Necessarily Vague. Legal Theory 7 (1):377--83.
    In fact, law is necessarily very vague. So if vagueness is a problem for legal theory, it is a serious problem. The problem has to do with the ideal of the rule of law and with the very idea of law: if vague standards provide no guidance in some cases, how can the life of a community be ruled by law? The problem has long concerned philosophers of law; the papers at this symposium address it afresh by asking what legal (...)
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  14. Timothy Endicott (2000). Vagueness in the Law. Oxford University Press.
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  15. Timothy Endicott (1997). Vagueness and Legal Theory. Legal Theory 3 (1):37.
    The use of vague language in law has important implications for legal theory. Legal philosophers have occasionally grappled with those implications, but they have not come to grips with the characteristic phenomenon of vagueness: the Sorites paradox. I discuss the paradox, and claim that it poses problems for some legal theorists (David Lyons, Hans Kelsen, and especially, Ronald Dworkin). I propose that a good account of vagueness will have three consequences for legal theory. (edited).
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  16. Timothy A. O. Endicott (2011). The Value of Vagueness. In Andrei Marmor & Scott Soames (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Language in the Law. Oxford University Press, Usa
    How can it be valuable to use vagueness in a normative text? The effect is to make a vague norm, and vagueness seems repugnant to the very idea of making a norm. It leaves conduct (to some extent) unregulated, when the very idea of making a norm is to regulate conduct. A vague norm leaves the persons for whom the norm is valid with no guide to their conduct in some cases - and the point of a norm is to (...)
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  17. Timothy Andrew Orville Endicott (2000). Vagueness in Law. Oxford University Press.
    Vagueness in law can lead to indeterminacies in legal rights and obligations. This book responds to the challenges that those indeterminacies pose to theories of law and adjudication.
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  18. Johan E. Gustafsson (2016). Money Pumps, Incompleteness, and Indeterminacy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (1):60-72.
    In an alleged counter-example to the completeness of rational preferences, a career as a clarinettist is compared with a career in law. It seems reasonable to neither want to judge that the law career is at least as preferred as the clarinet career nor want to judge that the clarinet career is at least as preferred as the law career. The two standard interpretations of examples of this kind are, first, that the examples show that preferences are rationally permitted to (...)
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  19. Johan E. Gustafsson (2013). Indeterminacy and the Small-Improvement Argument. Utilitas 25 (4):433–445.
    In this article, I argue that the small-improvement argument fails since some of the comparisons involved in the argument might be indeterminate. I defend this view from two objections by Ruth Chang, namely the argument from phenomenology and the argument from perplexity. There are some other objections to the small-improvement argument that also hinge on claims about indeterminacy. John Broome argues that alleged cases of value incomparability are merely examples of indeterminacy in the betterness relation. The main premise of his (...)
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  20. Jean Gabbert Harrell (1953). Vagueness and Ambiguity in Value Theory. Journal of Philosophy 50 (13):384-385.
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  21. Jean Gabbert Harrell (1951). Value, Vagueness, and Verifiability. Journal of Philosophy 48 (19):587-588.
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  22. Stephanie Julia Kapusta (forthcoming). Intersex Diagnostics and Prognostics: Imposing Sex-Predicate Determinacy. Topoi:1-10.
    I offer a reconstruction of contemporary medical procedures of sex assignment for infants with intersex conditions. In the perspective adopted, sex assignment to intersexed newborns can be understood as a procedure that imposes determinate sex predicates. The account describes two stages of sex assignment. At the first stage of the process, the sex predicates ‘female’, ‘male’, or ‘intersexed’ are taken to denote genital morphology. Initial genital assessment of newborns imposes clear boundaries upon the extensions of these predicates through diagnostic schemes (...)
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  23. Adam Kolber (2014). Smooth and Bumpy Laws. California Law Review 102:655-690.
    Modest differences in conduct can lead to wildly different legal outcomes. A person deemed slightly negligent when harming another may owe millions of dollars. Had the person been just a bit more cautious, he would owe nothing. Similarly, when self-defense is deemed slightly negligent, a person may spend several years in prison. Had the person been just a bit more cautious, he would have no criminal liability at all. Though the law must draw difficult lines, the lines need not have (...)
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  24. A. Faik Kurtulmus (2012). Uncertainty Behind the Veil of Ignorance. Utilitas 24 (01):41-62.
    This article argues that the decision problem in the original position should be characterized as a decision problem under uncertainty even when it is assumed that the denizens of the original position know that they have an equal chance of ending up in any given individual’s place. It supports this claim by arguing that (a) the continuity axiom of decision theory does not hold between all of the outcomes the denizens of the original position face and that (b) neither us (...)
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  25. Ken Levy (2017). Why Justice Scalia Was Wrong: The Fallacies of Constitutional Textualism. Lewis and Clark Law Review 21 (1).
    My article concerns constitutional interpretation and substantive due process, issues that played a central role in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), one of the two same-sex marriage cases. (The other same-sex marriage case was United States v. Windsor (2013).) -/- The late Justice Scalia consistently maintained that the Court “invented” substantive due process and continues to apply this legal “fiction” not because the Constitution supports it but simply because the justices like it. Two theories underlay his cynical conclusion. First is the (...)
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  26. Derek Parfit (1984). Reasons and Persons. Oxford University Press.
    Challenging, with several powerful arguments, some of our deepest beliefs about rationality, morality, and personal identity, Parfit claims that we have a false view about our own nature. It is often rational to act against our own best interersts, he argues, and most of us have moral views that are self-defeating. We often act wrongly, although we know there will be no one with serious grounds for complaint, and when we consider future generations it is very hard to avoid conclusions (...)
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  27. Mozaffar Qizilbash (2007). The Mere Addition Paradox, Parity and Vagueness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):129–151.
    Derek Parfit’s mere addition paradox has generated a large literature. This paper articulates one response to this paradox - which Parfit hirnself suggested - in terms of a formal account of the relation of parity. I term this response the ‘parity view’. It is consistent with transitivity of ‘at least as good as’, but implies incompleteness of this relation. The parity view is compatible with critical-band utilitarianism if this is adjusted to allow for vagueness. John Broome argues against accounts which (...)
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  28. Mozaffar Qizilbash (2003). Vague Language and Precise Measurement: The Case of Poverty. Journal of Economic Methodology 10 (1):41-58.
    Economists have often attempted precise measurement of phenomena which involve vague predicates. Difficulties emerge in such attempts if vagueness is not explicitly acknowledged at the methodological level. In this paper, various accounts of vague concepts are used to think about the economics of poverty measurement. Approaches to dealing with vagueness in this context tend to involve 'epistemic' and 'fuzzy set theoretic' approaches. Indeed, only the fuzzy set theoretic literature takes on vagueness explicitly. It is argued that both these approaches encounter (...)
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  29. Warren S. Quinn (1990). The Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. Philosophical Studies 59 (1):79-90.
  30. Wlodek Rabinowicz (2009). Incommensurability and Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
    This paper casts doubts on John Broome's view that vagueness in value comparisons crowds out incommensurability in value. It shows how vagueness can be imposed on a formal model of value relations that has room for different types of incommensurability. The model implements some basic insights of the 'fitting attitudes' analysis of value.
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  31. Enzo Rossi (2009). The Exemption That Confirms the Rule: Reflections on Proceduralism and the Uk Hybrid Embryos Controversy. Res Publica 15 (3):237-250.
    This paper provides an interpretation of the licensing provisions envisaged under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 as a model for a rule and exemption-based procedural strategy for the adjudication of potential ethical controversies, and it offers an account of the liberal-democratic legitimacy of the procedure’s outcomes as well as of the legal procedure itself. Drawing on a novel articulation of the distinction between exceptions and exemptions, the paper argues that such a rule and exemption mechanism, while not devoid (...)
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  32. Michael Schrynemakers (2006). Vagueness and Pointless Evil. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 80:245-254.
    Many theists and atheists believe that God would not permit an evil unless God’s allowing it (or an evil at least as bad) is required for a greater good. In “The Argument from Particular Horrendous Evils” (and elsewhere) Peter van Inwagen has argued against this belief by appealing to his “No Minimum Claim” (NMC), namely, that it is reasonable to believe there is no minimum amount of evil required for God’s purposes. In this paper I distinguish different formulations of NMC, (...)
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  33. Stephen P. Schwartz (1999). Why It Is Impossible to Be Moral. American Philosophical Quarterly 36 (4):351 - 360.
  34. T. K. Seung & Daniel Bonevac (1992). Plural Values and Indeterminate Rankings. Ethics 102 (4):799-813.
  35. Russ Shafer-Landau (1995). Vagueness, Borderline Cases and Moral Realism. American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):83 - 96.
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  36. Scott Soames (2012). Vagueness in the Law. In Marmor Andrei (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law. Routledge 95.
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  37. Roy Sorensen (2001). Vagueness has No Function in Law. Legal Thoery 7 (4):385--415.
    Islamic building codes require mosques to face Mecca. The further Islam spreads, the more apt are believers to fall into a quandary. X faces Y only when the front of X is closer to Y than any other side of X. So the front of the mosque should be oriented along a shortest path to Mecca. Which way is that? Does the path to Mecca tunnel through the earth? Or does the path follow the surface of the earth?
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  38. Roy A. Sorensen (1991). Moral Dilemmas, Thought Experiments, and Conflict Vagueness. Philosophical Studies 63 (3):291 - 308.
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  39. Roy A. Sorensen (1986). Nozick, Justice, and the Sorites. Analysis 46 (2):102 - 106.
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  40. Sergio Tenenbaum & Diana Raffman (2012). Vague Projects and the Puzzle of the Self-Torturer. Ethics 123 (1):86-112.
    In this paper we advance a new solution to Quinn’s puzzle of the self-torturer. The solution falls directly out of an application of the principle of instrumental reasoning to what we call “vague projects”, i.e., projects whose completion does not occur at any particular or definite point or moment. The resulting treatment of the puzzle extends our understanding of instrumental rationality to projects and ends that cannot be accommodated by orthodox theories of rational choice.
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  41. Jeremy Waldron (1994). Vagueness in Law and Language: Some Philosophical Issues. California Law Review 82 (1):509.
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  42. J. R. Welch (2007). Vagueness and Inductive Molding. Synthese 154 (1):147-172.
    Vagueness is epistemic, according to some. Vagueness is ontological, according to others. This article deploys what I take to be a compromise position. Predicates are coined in specific contexts for specific purposes, but these limited practices do not automatically fix the extensions of predicates over the domain of all objects. The linguistic community using the predicate has rarely considered, much less decided, all questions that might arise about the predicate’s extension. To this extent, the ontological view is correct. But a (...)
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  43. John R. Welch (2007). Vagueness and Inductive Molding. Synthese 154 (1):147 - 172.
    Vagueness is epistemic, according to some. Vagueness is ontological, according to others. This article deploys what I take to be a compromise position. Predicates are coined in specific contexts for specific purposes, but these limited practices do not automatically fix the extensions of predicates over the domain of all objects. The linguistic community using the predicate has rarely considered, much less decided, all questions that might arise about the predicate’s extension. To this extent, the ontological view is correct. But a (...)
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  44. John R. Welch (1997). Analogy in Ethics: Pragmatics and Semantics. In Paul Weingartner, Gerhard Schurz & Georg Dorn (eds.), The Role of Pragmatics in Contemporary Philosophy. Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft Vol. II, 1016-1021.
    This chapter explores arguments from analogy containing ethical predicates like 'just', 'courageous', and 'honest'. The approach is Wittgensteinian in a double sense. The role of paradigm cases in ethical discourse is emphasized, first of all, and the inductive logics to be employed spring from Wittgenstein's remarks on probability (1922). Although these logics rely on a semantic concept of range, they yield results for the ethical problems treated here only if grounded in certain kinds of pragmatic consensus.
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