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  1. Generalizing From the Instances.Delia Graff Fara - manuscript
    ABSTRACT: If an event of one kind does not always lead to an event of a second given kind, it does not follow (of course) that the occurrence of an event of the first kind can never explain the occurrence of an event of the second kind. I’m concerned here with cases of belief. In the service of defending a plausible “boundary-shifting” solution to the sorites paradox, I argue that a certain paradoxical belief(in the universally-generalized premise of the sorites paradox) (...)
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  2. Vagueness Without Indefiniteness.Gerald Hull - manuscript
    Contemporary discussions do not always clearly distinguish two different forms of vagueness. Sometimes focus is on the imprecision of predicates, and sometimes the indefiniteness of statements. The two are intimately related, of course. A predicate is imprecise if there are instances to which it neither definitely applies nor definitely does not apply, instances of which it is neither definitely true nor definitely false. However, indefinite statements will occur in everyday discourse only if speakers in fact apply imprecise predicates to such (...)
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  3. Vague Disagreements and the Sorites Paradox.Ted Everett - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science 33: On the Sorites Paradox. New York: Springer.
    When you and I seriously argue over whether a man of seventy is old enough to count as an "old man", it seems that we are appealing neither to our own separate standards of oldness nor to a common standard that is already fixed in the language. Instead, it seems that both of us implicitly invoke an ideal, shared standard that has yet to be agreed upon: the place where we ought to draw the line. As with other normative standards, (...)
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  4. Consonance and Dissonance in Solutions to the Sorites.Nicholas J. J. Smith - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), On the Sorites Paradox. Springer.
    A requirement on any theory of vagueness is that it solve the sorites paradox. It is generally agreed that there are two aspects to such a solution: one task is to locate the error in the sorites argument; the second task is to explain why the sorites reasoning is a paradox rather than a simple mistake. I argue for a further constraint on approaches to the second task: they should conform to the standard modus operandi in formal semantics, in which (...)
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  5. Vagueness as Arbitrariness: Outline of a Theory of Vagueness.Sagid Salles - 2021 - Springer.
    This book proposes a new solution to the problem of vagueness. There are several different ways of addressing this problem and no clear agreement on which one is correct. The author proposes that it should be understood as the problem of explaining vague predicates in a way that systematizes six intuitions about the phenomenon and satisfies three criteria of adequacy for an ideal theory of vagueness. The third criterion, which is called the “criterion of precisification”, is the most controversial one. (...)
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  6. Vagueness and the Logic of the World.Zack Garrett - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
    In this dissertation, I argue that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon---that properties and objects can be vague---and propose a trivalent theory of vagueness meant to account for the vagueness in the world. In the first half, I argue against the theories that preserve classical logic. These theories include epistemicism, contextualism, and semantic nihilism. My objections to these theories are independent of considerations of the possibility that vagueness is a metaphysical phenomenon. However, I also argue that these theories are not capable (...)
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  7. Theories of Vagueness and Theories of Law.Alex Silk - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (2):132-152.
    It is common to think that what theory of linguistic vagueness is correct has implications for debates in philosophy of law. I disagree. I argue that the implications of particular theories of vagueness on substantive issues of legal theory and practice are less far-reaching than often thought. I focus on four putative implications discussed in the literature concerning (i) the value of vagueness in the law, (ii) the possibility and value of legal indeterminacy, (iii) the possibility of the rule of (...)
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  8. Fuzzy Logics in Theories of Vagueness.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2015 - In Petr Cintula, Christian Fermüller & Carles Noguera (eds.), Handbook of Mathematical Fuzzy Logic - Volume 3. College Publications.
  9. Contextualism and the Principle of Tolerance.Paula Sweeney - 2014 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 90 (1):289-306.
    When we bring together certain plausible and compatible principles guiding the use of vague predicates the inclination to accept that vague predicates are tolerant is significantly weakened. As the principle of tolerance is a troublesome, paradox inducing principle, a theory giving a satisfactory account of the nature of vague predicates and accounting for the appeal of the sorites paradox, without recourse to the principle of tolerance is a worthy addition to the vagueness debate. The theory offered, Contextual Intolerance, draws considerably (...)
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  10. Forced‐March Sorites Arguments and Linguistic Competence.Jonas Åkerman - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):403-426.
    Agent relativists about vagueness (henceforth ‘agent relativists’) hold that whether or not an object x falls in the extension of a vague predicate ‘P’ at a time t depends on the judgemental dispositions of a particular competent agent at t. My aim in this paper is to critically examine arguments that purport to support agent relativism by appealing to data from forced-march Sorites experiments. The most simple and direct versions of such forced-march Sorites arguments rest on the following (implicit) premise: (...)
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  11. Tolerance Effect in Categorisation with Vague Predicates.Minyao Huang - 2013 - Pragmatics and Cognition 21 (2):340-358.
    Vagueness is understood as the problem of associating imprecise application criteria with ordinary predicates such as ‘bald’ or ‘blue’. It is often construed as due to one’s tolerance to a minute difference in forming a verdict on the application of a vague predicate. This paper reports an experiment conducted to test the effect of tolerance, using as paradigm categorisation tasks performed with respect to transitional series, e.g., a series of tomatoes from red to orange. The findings suggest a negative effect (...)
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  12. Frege on Vagueness and Ordinary Language.Stephen Puryear - 2013 - Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250):120-140.
    Frege is widely supposed to believe that vague predicates have no referent (Bedeutung). But given other things he evidently believes, such a position would seem to commit him to a suspect nihilism according to which assertoric sentences containing vague predicates are neither true nor false. I argue that we have good reason to resist ascribing to Frege the view that vague predicates have no Bedeutung and thus good reason to resist seeing him as committed to the suspect nihilism. In the (...)
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  13. Contextualist Theories of Vagueness.Jonas Åkerman - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (7):470-480.
    During the last couple of decades, several attempts have been made to come up with a theory that can handle the various semantic, logical and philosophical problems raised by the vagueness of natural languages. One of the most influential ideas that have come into fashion in recent years is the idea that vagueness should be analysed as a form of context sensitivity. Such contextualist theories of vagueness have gained some popularity, but many philosophers have remained sceptical of the prospects of (...)
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  14. Vagueness Intuitions and the Mobility of Cognitive Sortals.Bert Baumgaertner - 2012 - Minds and Machines 22 (3):213-234.
    One feature of vague predicates is that, as far as appearances go, they lack sharp application boundaries. I argue that we would not be able to locate boundaries even if vague predicates had sharp boundaries. I do so by developing an idealized cognitive model of a categorization faculty which has mobile and dynamic sortals (`classes', `concepts' or `categories') and formally prove that the degree of precision with which boundaries of such sortals can be located is inversely constrained by their flexibility. (...)
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  15. The Fuzzy Brain. Vagueness and Mapping Connectivity in the Human Cerebral Cortex.Philipp Haueis - 2012 - Frontiers in Neuroanatomy 37 (6).
    While the past century of neuroscientific research has brought considerable progress in defining the boundaries of the human cerebral cortex, there are cases in which the demarcation of one area from another remains fuzzy. Despite the existence of clearly demarcated areas, examples of gradual transitions between areas are known since early cytoarchitectonic studies. Since multi-modal anatomical approaches and functional connectivity studies brought renewed attention to the topic, a better understanding of the theoretical and methodological implications of fuzzy boundaries in brain (...)
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  16. On the Epistemic Status of Borderline Cases.Zoltán Vecsey - 2012 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 16 (1):179-184.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2012v16n1p179 Neste artigo, sustento que a explicação epistemicista da vagueza não pode estar inteiramente correta. Depois de analisar os aspectos principais da concepção de Williamson, proponho uma nova abordagem ao problema epistemológico dos casos fronteiriços.
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  17. Vagueness, Semantics and Psychology.Jonas Åkerman - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):1-5.
    According to extension-shifting theories of vagueness, the extensions of vague predicates have sharp boundaries, which shift as a function of certain psychological factors. Such theories have been claimed to provide an attractive explanation of the appeal of soritical reasoning. I challenge this claim: the demand for such an explanation need not constrain the semantics of vague predicates at all.
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  18. In Defense of True Higher-Order Vagueness.Susanne Bobzien - 2011 - Synthese 180 (3):317-335.
    ABSTRACT: Stewart Shapiro recently argued that there is no higher-order vagueness. More specifically, his thesis is: (ST) ‘So-called second-order vagueness in ‘F’ is nothing but first-order vagueness in the phrase ‘competent speaker of English’ or ‘competent user of “F”’. Shapiro bases (ST) on a description of the phenomenon of higher-order vagueness and two accounts of ‘borderline case’ and provides several arguments in its support. We present the phenomenon (as Shapiro describes it) and the accounts; then discuss Shapiro’s arguments, arguing that (...)
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  19. Vagueness and Subjective Attitudes.Carter Eric - 2011 - Tampa Papers in Linguistics 2:47-64.
  20. Erratum To: Vagueness, Tolerance and Contextual Logic.Haim Gaifman - 2011 - Synthese 179 (3):501 - 502.
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  21. Inconstancy and Inconsistency.David Ripley - 2011 - In Petr Cintula, Christian Fermuller, Lluis Godo & Petr Hajek (eds.), Reasoning Under Vagueness. College Publications. pp. 41-58.
    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 (...)
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  22. Vagueness and Practical Interests.Paula Sweeney & Elia Zardini - 2011 - In Paul Egre & Nathan Klinedinst (eds.), Vagueness and Language Use. Palgrave MacMillan.
    In this paper we focus mainly on a kind of contextualism theory of vagueness according to which the context dependence has its source in the variation of our practical interests. We largely focus on Fara's version of the theory but our observations work at different levels of generality, some relevant only to the specifics of Fara's theory others relevant to all contextualist theories of a certain type.
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  23. Hold the Context Fixed, Vagueness Still Remains.Jonas Åkerman & Patrick Greenough - 2010 - In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Oxford University Press. pp. 275--88.
    Contextualism about vagueness (hereafter ‘Contextualism’) is the view that vagueness consists in a particular species of context-sensitivity and that properly accommodating this fact into our semantic theory will yield a plausible solution to the sorites paradox.[1],[2] But Contextualism, as many commentators have noted, faces the following immediate objection: if we hold the context fixed, vagueness still remains, therefore vagueness is not a species of context-sensitivity. Call this ‘the simple objection’.[3] Absent a convincing reply to the simple objection, Contextualism is in (...)
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  24. Higher-Order Vagueness, Radical Unclarity, and Absolute Agnosticism.Susanne Bobzien - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10:1-30.
    The paper presents a new theory of higher-order vagueness. This theory is an improvement on current theories of vagueness in that it (i) describes the kind of borderline cases relevant to the Sorites paradox, (ii) retains the ‘robustness’ of vague predicates, (iii) introduces a notion of higher-order vagueness that is compositional, but (iv) avoids the paradoxes of higher-order vagueness. The theory’s central building-blocks: Borderlinehood is defined as radical unclarity. Unclarity is defined by means of competent, rational, informed speakers (‘CRISPs’) whose (...)
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  25. The Sorites, Linguistic Preconceptions, and the Dual Picture of Vagueness.Mario Gomez-Torrente - 2010 - In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vagueness, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press. pp. 228-253.
    I postulate that the extension of a degree adjective is fixed by implicitly accepted non-analytic reference-fixing principles (“preconceptions”) that combine appeals to paradigmatic cases with generic principles designed to expand the extension of the adjective beyond the paradigmatic range. In regular occasions of use, the paradigm and generic preconceptions are jointly satisfied and determine the existence of an extension/anti-extension pair dividing the adjective’s comparison class into two mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive subclasses. Sorites paradoxical occasions of use are irregular occasions (...)
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  26. Hold the Context Fixed - Vagueness Still Remains.Jonas Åkerman & Greenough & Patrick - 2010 - In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds: Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press.
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  27. Saying More (or Less) Than One Thing.Andrea Iacona - 2010 - In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Oxford University Press.
    In a paper called 'Definiteness and Knowability', Tim Williamson addresses the question whether one must accept that vagueness is an epistemic phenomenon if one adopts classical logic and a disquotational principle for truth. Some have suggested that one must not, hence that classical logic and the disquotational principle may be preserved without endorsing epistemicism. Williamson’s paper, however, finds ‘no plausible way of substantiating that possibility’. Its moral is that ‘either classical logic fails, or the disquotational principle does, or vagueness is (...)
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  28. Vagueness and Contextualism.Joanna Odrowaz-Sypniewska - 2010 - In Piotr Stalmaszczyk (ed.), Objects of Inquiry in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics. Ontos Verlag. pp. 1--169.
  29. Vagueness and Non-Indexical Contextualism.Jonas Åkerman & Patrick Greenough - 2009 - In Sarah Sawyer (ed.), New Waves in Philosophy of Language. Palgrave-Macmillan.
    Contextualism concerning vagueness (hereafter ‘CV’) is a popular response to the puzzle of vagueness.[1] The goal in this paper is to uncover in what ways vagueness may be a particular species of context-sensitivity. The most promising form of CV turns out to be a version of socalled ‘Non-Indexical Contextualism’.[2] In §2, we sketch a generic form of CV (hereafter ‘GCV’). In §3, we distinguish between Truth CV and Content CV. A non-indexical form of CV is a form of Truth CV, (...)
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  30. Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context. [REVIEW]Steven Gross - 2009 - Philosophical Review 118 (2):261-266.
    Stewart Shapiro’s book develops a contextualist approach to vagueness. It’s chock-full of ideas and arguments, laid out in wonderfully limpid prose. Anyone working on vagueness (or the other topics it touches on—see below) will want to read it. According to Shapiro, vague terms have borderline cases: there are objects to which the term neither determinately applies nor determinately does not apply. A term determinately applies in a context iff the term’s meaning and the non-linguistic facts determine that they do. The (...)
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  31. Profiling Interest Relativity.Delia Graff Fara - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):326-335.
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  32. Profiling Interest Relativity.Delia Graff Fara - 2008 - Analysis 68 (4):326-335.
    Draft (Version 1.1, October 2007): (PDF file) A reply to Jason Stanley’s Analysis criticism of my interest-relative view on vagueness.
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  33. Relativism, Vagueness and What is Said.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2008 - In G. Carpintero & M. Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford University Press. pp. 129.
    John MacFarlane has formulated a version of truth-relativism, and argued for its application in some cases – future contingents, knowledge attributions and epistemic modals among them. Mark Richard also defends a version of relativism, which he applies to vagueness-inducing features of the semantics of gradable adjectives. On MacFarlane’s and Richard’s characterization, truth-relativist claims posit a distinctive kind of context-dependence, the dependence of the evaluation of an assertion as true or otherwise on aspects of the context of the evaluation itself – (...)
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  34. Vague Terms, Indexicals, and Vague Indexicals.Joshua Gert - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (3):437 - 445.
    Jason Stanley has criticized a contextualist solution to the sorites paradox that treats vagueness as a kind of indexicality. His objection rests on a feature of indexicals that seems plausible: that their reference remains fixed in verb phrase ellipsis. But the force of Stanley’s criticism depends on the undefended assumption that vague terms, if they are a special sort of indexical, must function in the same way that more paradigmatic indexicals do. This paper argues that there can be more than (...)
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  35. Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context.M. Ledwig - 2008 - Philosophy in Review 28 (2):150.
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  36. Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context Reviewed By.Marion Ledwig - 2008 - Philosophy in Review 28 (2):150-152.
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  37. Reasoning with Slippery Predicates.Stewart Shapiro - 2008 - Studia Logica 90 (3):313-336.
    It is a commonplace that the extensions of most, perhaps all, vague predicates vary with such features as comparison class and paradigm and contrasting cases. My view proposes another, more pervasive contextual parameter. Vague predicates exhibit what I call open texture: in some circumstances, competent speakers can go either way in the borderline region. The shifting extension and anti-extensions of vague predicates are tracked by what David Lewis calls the “conversational score”, and are regulated by what Kit Fine calls penumbral (...)
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  38. Semivaluationism: Putting Vagueness in Context in Context.Roy Sorensen - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):471–483.
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  39. Vagueness Without Context Change.Rosanna Keefe - 2007 - Mind 116 (462):275-292.
    In this paper I offer a critique of the recent popular strategy of giving a contextualist account of vagueness. Such accounts maintain that truth-values of vague sentences can change with changes of context induced by confronting different entities (e.g. different pairs through a sorites series). I claim that appealing to context does not help in solving the sorites paradox, nor does it give us new insights into vagueness per se. Furthermore, the contextual variation to which the contextualist is committed is (...)
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  40. Review of Stewart Shapiro, Vagueness in Context[REVIEW]Matti Eklund - 2006 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (5).
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  41. Book Review. Vagueness in Context. Stewart Shapiro. [REVIEW]Matti Eklund - 2006 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
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  42. Transvaluationism.Terry Horgan - 2006 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 14 (1):20-35.
    I advocate a two part view concerning vagueness. On one hand I claim that vagueness is logically incoherent; but on the other hand I claim that vagueness is also a benign, beneficial, and indeed essential feature of human language and thought. I will call this view transvaluationism, a name which seems to me appropriate for several reasons. First, the term suggests that we should move beyond the idea that the successive statements in a sorites sequence can be assigned differing truth (...)
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  43. It’s Chicken and Eggs Again: Vagueness, Quasi-Species, and Evolution.Ludger Jansen - 2006 - Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 36 (89):71-77.
    Wether the chicken or the egg came first, is not only a mind-boggling but a substantial question. Its answer depends on the biological background theory one assumes. I review recent work on the topic (by Teichmann, Sorensen, Waller and Raatzsch) and resolve some of the disputes between these authors by borrowing from Aristotle the distinction between chicken-producing eggs. I then introduce the concept of a quasi-species to make explicit the vagueness involved in species-terms and prove 13 different priority-claims within a (...)
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  44. Solving the Heap.Ruth Manor - 2006 - Synthese 153 (2):171 - 186.
    The present offers a pragmatic solution of the Heap Paradox, based on the idea that vague predicates are “indexical” in the sense that their denotation does not only depend on the context of their use, but it is a function of the context. The analysis is based on the following three claims. The borderlines of vague terms are undetermined in the sense that though they may be determined in some contexts, they may differ from one context to the next. Vagueness (...)
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  45. Context, Vagueness, and Ontology.Mark Richard - 2006 - In Patrick Greenough & Michael P. Lynch (eds.), Truth and Realism. Oxford University Press. pp. 162.
  46. Vagueness in Context.Stewart Shapiro - 2006 - Oxford University Press.
    Stewart Shapiro's ambition in Vagueness in Context is to develop a comprehensive account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary according to their context: a person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall (even short) with respect to professional basketball players. The key feature of Shapiro's account is that the extensions of vague terms (...)
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  47. 4. Contradictorial Gradualism Vs. Discontinuism: Two Views On Fuzziness And The Transition Problem.Marcelo VÁsconez - 2006 - Logique Et Analyse 49 (195).
    The dissertation has two parts, each dealing with a problem, namely: 1) What is the most adequate account of fuzziness -the so-called phenomenon of vagueness?, and 2) what is the most plausible solution to the sorites, or heap paradox? I will try to show that fuzzy properties are those which are gradual, amenable to be possessed in a greater or smaller extent. Acknowledgement of degrees in the instantiation of a property allows for a gradual transition from one opposite to the (...)
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  48. Vagueness-Related Partial Belief and the Constitution of Borderline Cases. [REVIEW]Crispin Wright - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (1):225–232.
    For all post-1970s effort expended on the topic, the most central and important question about vagueness—what it is: what, specifically, something’s being a borderline case of a vague expression consists in—has seldom been tackled with the theoretical explicitness necessary if issues expectably downstream of it, like the nature of valid inference among vague statements, or the Sorites paradox, are to receive a properly motivated treatment. The great interest of Chapter V of The Things We Mean is that it points the (...)
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  49. Contextualism About Vagueness and Higher-Order Vagueness.Patrick Greenough - 2005 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):167–190.
    To get to grips with what Shapiro does and can say about higher-order vagueness, it is first necessary to thoroughly review and evaluate his conception of (first-order) vagueness, a conception which is both rich and suggestive but, as it turns out, not so easy to stabilise. In Sections I–IV, his basic position on vagueness (see Shapiro [2003]) is outlined and assessed. As we go along, I offer some suggestions for improvement. In Sections V–VI, I review two key paradoxes of higher-order (...)
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  50. How to Understand Contextualism About Vagueness: Reply to Stanley.Diana Raffman - 2005 - Analysis 65 (3):244–248.
    accounts in general, contrary to what he seems to think. Stanley’s discussion concerns the dynamic or ‘forced march’ version of the sorites, viz. the version framed in terms of the judgments that would be made by a competent speaker who proceeds step by step along a sorites series for a vague predicate ‘F’. According to Stanley, the contextualist treatment of the paradox is based on the idea that the speaker shifts the content of the predicate whenever necessary to make it (...)
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