Stewart Shapiro. Context, conversation, and so-called 'higher-order vagueness'

After a brief account of the problem of higher-order vagueness, and its seeming intractability, I explore what comes of the issue on a linguistic, contextualist account of vagueness. On the view in question, predicates like ‘borderline red’ and ‘determinately red’ are, or at least can be, vague, but they are different in kind from ‘red’. In particular, ‘borderline red’ and ‘determinately red’ are not colours. These predicates have linguistic components, and invoke notions like ‘competent user of the language’. On my view, so-called ‘higher-order vagueness’ is actually ordinary, first-order vagueness in different predicates. I explore the possibility that, nevertheless, a pernicious regress ensues.
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DOI 10.1111/j.0309-7013.2005.00130.x
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