We argue that the epistemic theory of vagueness cannot adequately justify its key tenet-that vague predicates have precisely bounded extensions, of which we are necessarily ignorant. Nor can the theory adequately account for our ignorance of the truth values of borderline cases. Furthermore, we argue that Williamson’s promising attempt to explicate our understanding of vague language on the model of a certain sort of “inexact knowledge” is at best incomplete, since certain forms of vagueness do not fit Williamson’s model, and (...) in fact fit an alternative model. Finally, we point out that a certain kind of irremediable inexactitude postulated by physics need not be-and is not commonly-interpreted as epistemic. Thus, there are aspects of contemporary science that do not accord well with the epistemicist outlook. (shrink)
One of the logical problems with which Arthur Prior struggled is the problem of finding, in Prior’s own phrase, a “logic for contingent beings.” The difficulty is that from minimal modal principles and classical quantification theory, it appears to follow immediately that every possible object is a necessary existent. The historical development of quantified modal logic (QML) can be viewed as a series of attempts---due variously to Kripke, Prior, Montague, and the fee-logicians---to solve this problem. In this paper, I review (...) the extant solutions, finding them all wanting. Then I suggest a new solution inspired by Kripke’s theory of rigid designation and Kaplan’s logic of demonstratives, the latter in particular. It turns out that the basic mechanism of Kaplan’s logic can be exploited to yield a version of QML that will serve as a viable logic for contingent beings. This result, as I show, sheds new light on the problems of singular negative existential propositions, the question of actualism, the question of the existence of the contingent a priori, the relation between logical truth and necessity, and various modal problems and paradoxes going back to Chrysippus, Ramsey, and Moore. (shrink)
This paper develops a model theoretic semantics for so called “natural kind terms” that reflects the viewpoint of (Kripke, 1980) and (Putnam, 1975). The semantics generates a formal counterpart of the “K-mechanism” investigated in (Salmon, 1981) and in unpublished work by Keith Donnellan.
The subsystem S of Parry's AI  (obtained by omitting modus ponens for the material conditional) is axiomatized and shown to be strongly complete for a class of three valued Kripke style models. It is proved that S is weakly complete for the class of consistent models, and therefore that Ackermann's rule is admissible in S. It also happens that S is decidable and contains the Lewis system S4 on translation — though these results are not presented here. S is (...) arguably the most relevant relevant logic known at this time to be decidable. (shrink)