David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (3):289-301 (2011)
The account of vagueness Bertrand Russell provided in his 1923 paper, entitled simply “Vagueness” (see Russell 1997), has been thought by some to be inconsistent. One main objection, raised by Timothy Williamson (1994), is that Russell’s attempt early in the paper to distinguish vagueness from generality is at odds with the definition of vagueness he presents later in the same paper. It is as if, as Williamson puts it, Russell “backslides” from his previous distinction (1994, 60), resulting in a conflation of generality and vagueness that is at best problematic for a rigorous account of the phenomenon of vagueness. In this paper, I will defend Russell from this particular objection. While his 1923 paper may not be as clear at various points as one might hope, I do believe it is possible to construct a single theory of vagueness that can be applied equally well to his earlier and later discussions. Thus, Russell’s view is not ultimately inconsistent. In this paper, I will first present the interpretation of Russell’s concept of vagueness that falls prey to the charge of conflating vagueness and generality. Once the problem is clear, I will present an alternative interpretation, one that arises from certain reflections on G. W. Leibniz’s theory of perception. This Leibnizian interpretation of Russell, I will argue, resolves the apparent contradiction in Russell’s account of vagueness.
|Keywords||Leibniz Russell Vagueness|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Bertil RolF (1982). Russell's Theses on Vagueness. History and Philosophy of Logic 3 (1):69-83.
Mark Colyvan (2001). Russell on Metaphysical Vagueness. Principia 5 (1-2):87-98.
Timothy Williamson (1999). On the Structure of Higher-Order Vagueness. Mind 108 (429):127-143.
Trenton Merricks (2001). Varieties of Vagueness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):145-157.
Matti Eklund (2005). What Vagueness Consists In. Philosophical Studies 125 (1):27-60.
Robert Barnard (1997). Russell on Vagueness. Bertrand Russell Society Quarterly 95 (1):8--11.
Maureen Donnelly (2009). Mereological Vagueness and Existential Vagueness. Synthese 168 (1):53 - 79.
Timothy Williamson (2002). Horgan on Vagueness. Grazer Philosophische Studien 63 (1):273-285.
Achille C. Varzi (2003). Vagueness. In Lynn Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Vol. 4. Nature Publishing Group 459–464.
Pablo Cobreros (2013). Vagueness: Subvaluationism. Philosophy Compass 8 (5):472-485.
Jiri Benovsky (2011). Vagueness : A Statistical Epistemicist Approach. Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):97-112.
Joanna Tędziagolska (1998). Zastosowanie metody superwaluacji do analizy paradoksów związanych z nieostrością. Filozofia Nauki 1.
Susanne Bobzien (2011). In Defense of True Higher-Order Vagueness. Synthese 180 (3):317-335.
Mark Jago (2012). The Problem with Truthmaker-Gap Epistemicism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (4):320-329.
Added to index2012-10-10
Total downloads17 ( #209,421 of 1,793,273 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #463,804 of 1,793,273 )
How can I increase my downloads?