David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind 112 (446):235-281 (2003)
Vagueness is given a philosophically neutral definition in terms of an epistemic notion of tolerance. Such a notion is intended to capture the thesis that vague terms draw no known boundary across their range of signification and contrasts sharply with the semantic notion of tolerance given by Wright (1975, 1976). This allows us to distinguish vagueness from superficially similar but distinct phenomena such as semantic incompleteness. Two proofs are given which show that vagueness qua epistemic tolerance and vagueness qua borderline cases (when properly construed to exclude terms which are stipulated to give rise to borderline cases) are in fact conceptually equivalent dimensions of vagueness, contrary to what might initially be expected. It is also argued that the common confusion of tolerance and epistemic tolerance has skewed the vagueness debate in favour of indeterminist over epistemic conceptions of vagueness. Clearing up that confusion provides an indirect argument in favour of epistemicism. Finally, given the equation of vagueness with epistemic tolerance, it is shown that there must be radical higher-order vagueness, contrary to what many authors have argued.
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Citations of this work BETA
Susanne Bobzien (2013). Higher-Order Vagueness and Borderline Nestings: A Persistent Confusion. Analytic Philosophy 54 (1):1-43.
Phil Serchuk, Ian Hargreaves & Richard Zach (2011). Vagueness, Logic and Use: Four Experimental Studies on Vagueness. Mind and Language 26 (5):540-573.
J. Robert G. Williams (2008). Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy. Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
Carl Baker (2013). The Role of Disagreement in Semantic Theory. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1):1-18.
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