Inconstancy and inconsistency

In Petr Cintula, Christian Fermuller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hajek (eds.), Reasoning Under Vagueness. College Publications 41-58 (2011)
In everyday language, we can call someone ‘consistent’ to say that they’re reliable, that they don’t change over time. Someone who’s consistently on time is always on time. Similarly, we can call someone ‘inconsistent’ to say the opposite: that they’re changeable, mercurial. A student who receives inconsistent grades on her tests throughout a semester has performed better on some than on others. With our philosophy hats on, though, we mean something quite different by ‘consistent’ and ‘inconsistent’. Something consistent is simply something that’s not contradictory. There’s nothing contradictory about being on time, so anyone who’s on time at all is consistently on time, in this sense of ‘consistent’. And only a student with an unusual teacher can receive inconsistent grades on her tests throughout a semester, in this sense of ‘inconsistent’. In this paper, I’ll use ‘consistent’ and ‘inconsistent’ in their usual philosophical sense: to mark the second distinction. By contrast, I’ll use ‘constant’ and ‘inconstant’ to mark the first distinction. And although we can, should, and do sharply distinguish the two distinctions, they are related. In particular, they have both been used to account for some otherwise puzzling phenomena surrounding vague language. According to some theorists, vague language is inconstant. According to others, it is inconsistent. I do not propose here to settle these differences; only to get a bit clearer about what the differences amount to, and to show what it would take to settle..
Keywords vagueness  experiment  contextualism  dialetheism
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,570
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Nicholas J. J. Smith (2011). Inconsistency in the A-Theory. Philosophical Studies 156 (2):231 - 247.
Kevin Scharp (2013). Truth, the Liar, and Relativism. Philosophical Review 122 (3):427-510.
Mark van Roojen (1996). Expressivism and Irrationality. Philosophical Review 105 (3):311-335.
Ruth Kastner (2004). Weak Values and Consistent Histories in Quantum Theory. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 35 (1):57-71.
Greg Restall (2002). Paraconsistency Everywhere. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 43 (3):147-156.
Jonathan L. Gorman (2001). Justice and Toleration. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 11:43-50.
Mylan Engel (1991). Inconsistency. Grazer Philosophische Studien 40:113-130.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

20 ( #204,559 of 1,938,522 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #159,600 of 1,938,522 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.