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  1. A Model-Theoretic Account of Columnar Higher-Order Vagueness.Susanne Bobzien - manuscript
    ABSTRACT: Paper currently being revised.
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  2. 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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  3. Neutralism and the Observational Sorites Paradox.Patrick Greenough - forthcoming - In Ali Abasnezhad & Otavio Bueno (eds.), Synthese Special Edition. Springer.
    Neutralism is the broad view that philosophical progress can take place when (and sometimes only when) a thoroughly neutral, non-specific theory, treatment, or methodology is adopted. The broad goal here is to articulate a distinct, specific kind of sorites paradox (The Observational Sorites Paradox) and show that it can be effectively treated via Neutralism.
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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. Topological Models of Columnar Vagueness.Thomas Mormann - 2020 - Erkenntnis:1-24.
    This paper intends to further the understanding of the formal properties of (higher-order) vagueness by connecting theories of (higher-order) vagueness with more recent work in topology. First, we provide a “translation” of Bobzien's account of columnar higher-order vagueness into the logic of topological spaces. Since columnar vagueness is an essential ingredient of her solution to the Sorites paradox, a central problem of any theory of vagueness comes into contact with the modern mathematical theory of topology. Second, Rumfitt’s recent topological reconstruction (...)
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  8. 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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  9. Модальности как фундаментальный элемент реальности: обзор книги «Williamson on Modality». [REVIEW]Lev Lamberov - 2018 - ФИЛОСОФИЯ НАУКИ 77:158-171.
    The paper provides a review of the collection of scientific works «Williamson on Modality» and contains a brief summary of the main ideas of the articles published in the book.
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  10. An Acquittal for Epistemicism.Hesam Mohamadi - 2018 - International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 31 (4):905-928.
    Scott Soames argues that consideration of the practice of legal judgement gives us good reason to favor the partial-definition/context-sensitive theory of vagueness against epistemicism. Despite the fact that the value of power-delegation through vagueness is evidenced in practice, Soames says, epistemicism cannot account for it theoretically, while the partial-definition/context-sensitive theory is capable of it. In this paper, I examine the two possible arguments against epistemicism that can be extracted from Soames’s account: (i) an argument based on unknown obligations, and (ii) (...)
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  11. Vagueness & Modality—An Ecumenical Approach.Jon Erling Litland & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):229-269.
    How does vagueness interact with metaphysical modality and with restrictions of it, such as nomological modality? In particular, how do definiteness, necessity (understood as restricted in some way or not), and actuality interact? This paper proposes a model-theoretic framework for investigating the logic and semantics of that interaction. The framework is put forward in an ecumenical spirit: it is intended to be applicable to all theories of vagueness that express vagueness using a definiteness (or: determinacy) operator. We will show how (...)
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  12. Reply to Yli-Vakkuri.Timothy Williamson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):839-851.
  13. Epistemicism and Modality.Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5):803-835.
    What kind of semantics should someone who accepts the epistemicist theory of vagueness defended in Timothy Williamson’s Vagueness (1994) give a definiteness operator? To impose some interesting constraints on acceptable answers to this question, I will assume that the object language also contains a metaphysical necessity operator and a metaphysical actuality operator. I will suggest that the answer is to be found by working within a three-dimensional model theory. I will provide sketches of two ways of extracting an epistemicist semantics (...)
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  14. Epistemicism and the Liar.Jamin Asay - 2015 - Synthese 192 (3):679-699.
    One well known approach to the soritical paradoxes is epistemicism, the view that propositions involving vague notions have definite truth values, though it is impossible in principle to know what they are. Recently, Paul Horwich has extended this approach to the liar paradox, arguing that the liar proposition has a truth value, though it is impossible to know which one it is. The main virtue of the epistemicist approach is that it need not reject classical logic, and in particular the (...)
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  15. I—Columnar Higher-Order Vagueness, or Vagueness is Higher-Order Vagueness.Susanne Bobzien - 2015 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):61-87.
    Most descriptions of higher-order vagueness in terms of traditional modal logic generate so-called higher-order vagueness paradoxes. The one that doesn't is problematic otherwise. Consequently, the present trend is toward more complex, non-standard theories. However, there is no need for this.In this paper I introduce a theory of higher-order vagueness that is paradox-free and can be expressed in the first-order extension of a normal modal system that is complete with respect to single-domain Kripke-frame semantics. This is the system QS4M+BF+FIN. It corresponds (...)
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  16. Epistemicism, Paradox, and Conditional Obligation.Ivan Hu - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (8):2123-2139.
    Stewart Shapiro has objected to the epistemicist theory of vagueness on grounds that it gives counterintuitive predictions about cases involving conditional obligation. This paper details a response on the epistemicist’s behalf. I first argue that Shapiro’s own presentation of the objection is unsuccessful as an argument against epistemicism. I then reconstruct and offer two alternative arguments inspired by Shapiro’s considerations, and argue that these fail too, given the information-sensitive nature of conditional obligations.
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  17. When to Think Like an Epistemicist.Matthew Mosdell - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):538-559.
    Epistemicism is the view that seemingly vague predicates are not in fact vague. Consequently, there must be a sharp boundary between a man who is bald and one who is not bald. Although such a view is often met with incredulity, my aim is to provide a defense of epistemicism in this essay. My defense, however, is backhanded: I argue that the formal commitments of epistemicism are the result of good practical reasoning, not metaphysical necessity. To get to that conclusion, (...)
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  18. 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.
  19. Vague Objects with Sharp Boundaries.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - Ratio 27 (1):29-39.
    In this article I shall consider two seemingly contradictory claims: first, the claim that everybody who thinks that there are ordinary objects has to accept that they are vague, and second, the claim that everybody has to accept the existence of sharp boundaries to ordinary objects. The purpose of this article is of course not to defend a contradiction. Indeed, there is no contradiction because the two claims do not concern the same ‘everybody’. The first claim, that all ordinary objects (...)
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  20. Qu'est-ce qu'une montagne ? [What is a mountain?].Olivier Massin - 2014 - In Olivier Massin & Anne Meylan (eds.), Aristote chez les Helvètes. Ithaque.
    The thesis defended is that at a certain arbitrary level of granularity, mountains have sharp, bona fide boundaries. In reply to arguments advanced by Varzi (2001), Smith & Mark (2001, 2003) I argue that the lower limit of a mountain is neither vague nor fiat. Relying on early works by Cayley (1859), Maxwell (1870) and Jordan (1872), this lower limit consists in the lines of watercourse which are defined as the lines of slope starting at passes. Such lines are metaphysically (...)
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  21. Como Explicar o Fenómeno da Vagueza?Domingos Faria - 2013 - Investigação Filosófica 1.
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  22. If It's Clear, Then It's Clear That It's Clear, or is It? Higher-Order Vagueness and the S4 Axiom.Susanne Bobzien - 2012 - In B. Morison K. Ierodiakonou (ed.), Episteme, etc.: Essays in honour of Jonathan Barnes. OUP UK.
    The purpose of this paper is to challenge some widespread assumptions about the role of the modal axiom 4 in a theory of vagueness. In the context of vagueness, axiom 4 usually appears as the principle ‘If it is clear (determinate, definite) that A, then it is clear (determinate, definite) that it is clear (determinate, definite) that A’, or, more formally, CA → CCA. We show how in the debate over axiom 4 two different notions of clarity are in play (...)
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  23. Vagueness and Semantic Indiscriminability.Michael Caie - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):365-377.
    I argue, pace Timothy Williamson, that one cannot provide an adequate account of what it is for a case to be borderline by appealing to facts about our inability to discriminate our actual situation from nearby counterfactual situations in which our language use differs in subtle ways. I consider the two most natural ways of using such resources to provide an account of what it is for a case to be borderline and argue that both face crippling defects. I argue (...)
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  24. Vagueness in Event Times: An Epistemic Solution.M. Huang - 2012 - In L. Filipovic & K. M. Jaszczolt (eds.), Space and Time in Languages and Cultures: Language, culture, and cognition. John Benjamins. pp. 37.
    Vagueness in event times pertains to the observation that one usually finds it difficult to slice the continuous flux of space-time into a series of events with clear-cut temporal boundaries. I argue that such vagueness originates from our ignorance of discrete changing points wherein states of affairs begin or cease to obtain. Applying the epistemic view on vagueness (Williamson 1994) to vagueness in event times, I contend that the lagging nature of knowledge prevents one from knowing the abrupt changes taking (...)
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  25. The Problem with Truthmaker-Gap Epistemicism.Mark Jago - 2012 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (4):320-329.
    Epistemicism about vagueness is the view that vagueness, or indeterminacy, is an epistemic matter. Truthmaker-gap epistemicism is the view that indeterminate truths are indeterminate because their truth is not grounded by any worldly fact. Both epistemicism in general and truthmaker-gap epistemicism originated in Roy Sorensen's work on vagueness. My aim in this paper is to give a characterization of truthmaker-gap epistemicism and argue that the view is incompatible with higher-order vagueness: vagueness in whether some case of the form ‘it is (...)
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  26. Epistemicism and the Problem of Arbitrariness for Vagueness.Christopher D. Kyle - 2012 - Dialogue: Journal of Phi Sigma Tau 55 (1).
    This paper distinguishes between epistemic and metaphysical problems of arbitrariness for vagueness. It argues that epistemicism can resolve the epistemic problem of arbitrariness but not the metaphysical one.
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  27. Semantic Plasticity and Epistemicism.Adam Sennet - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):273-285.
    This paper considers the connections between semantic shiftiness (plasticity), epistemic safety and an epistemic theory of vagueness as presented and defended by Williamson (1996a, b, 1997a, b). Williamson explains ignorance of the precise intension of vague words as rooted in insensitivity to semantic shifts: one’s inability to detect small shifts in intension for a vague word results in a lack of knowledge of the word’s intension. Williamson’s explanation, however, falls short of accounting for ignorance of intension.
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  28. Vagueness : A Statistical Epistemicist Approach.Jiri Benovsky - 2011 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy (3):97-112.
    There are three main traditional accounts of vagueness : one takes it as a genuinely metaphysical phenomenon, one takes it as a phenomenon of ignorance, and one takes it as a linguistic or conceptual phenomenon. In this paper I first very briefly present these views, especially the epistemicist and supervaluationist strategies, and shortly point to some well-known problems that the views carry. I then examine a 'statistical epistemicist' account of vagueness that is designed to avoid precisely these problems – it (...)
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  29. Episteme, Etc.: Essays in Honour of Jonathan Barnes.Ben Morison & Katerina Ierodiakonou (eds.) - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    The sixteen essays written in honour of Jonathan Barnes for this volume reflect the impressive scope of his contributions to philosophy. Six are on knowledge, five on logic and metaphysics, five on ethics. The volume ranges widely over ancient philosophy, while also finding room for two contemporary papers on truth and vagueness. Aristotle is prominent in eight of the essays; Plato, Sextus Empiricus, the Stoics, the Epicureans, and ancient Greek medical writers are also discussed. The contributors include some of the (...)
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  30. Truthmakers, Paradox and Plausibility.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2010 - Analysis 70 (1):11-23.
    In a series of articles, Dan Lopez De Sa and Elia Zardini argue that several theorists have recently employed instances of paradoxical reasoning, while failing to see its problematic nature because it does not immediately (or obviously) yield inconsistency. In contrast, Lopez De Sa and Zardini claim that resultant inconsistency is not a necessary condition for paradoxicality. It is our contention that, even given their broader understanding of paradox, their arguments fail to undermine the instances of reasoning they attack, either (...)
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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. How to Respond to Borderline Cases.Dan López de Sa - 2010 - In Sebastiano Moruzzi & Richard Dietz (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Oxford University Press.
    Some philosophers seem to think that borderline cases provide further cases of apparent faultless disagreement. My aim here is to argue against such a suggestion. I claim that with respect to borderline cases, people typically do not respond by taking a view—unlike what is the case in genuine cases of apparent faultless disagreement. I argue that my claim is indeed respected and actually accounted for by paradigm cases of semantic and epistemic views on the nature of vagueness. And I also (...)
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  34. Fuzzy Epistemicism.John MacFarlane - 2010 - In Richard Dietz & Sebastiano Moruzzi (eds.), Cuts and Clouds. Vaguenesss, its Nature and its Logic. Oxford University Press.
    It is taken for granted in much of the literature on vagueness that semantic and epistemic approaches to vagueness are fundamentally at odds. If we can analyze borderline cases and the sorites paradox in terms of degrees of truth, then we don’t need an epistemic explanation. Conversely, if an epistemic explanation suffices, then there is no reason to depart from the familiar simplicity of classical bivalent semantics. I question this assumption, showing that there is an intelligible motivation for adopting a (...)
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  35. Epistemic Approaches to Vagueness.Zoltán Vecsey - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (2):295-307.
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  36. Vagueness and Ignorance.Timothy Williamson - 2010 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume. Routledge. pp. 145 - 177.
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  37. Can One Get Bivalence From (Tarskian) Truth and Falsity?Dan López de Sa - 2009 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (2):pp. 273-282.
    Timothy Williamson famously offered an argument from these Tarskian principles in favor of bivalence. I show, dwelling on (Andjelkovic & Williamson, 2000), that the argument depends on a contentious formulation of the Tarskian principles about truth (and falsity), which the supervaluationist can reject without jeopardizing the Tarskian insight. In the mentioned paper, Adjelkovic and Williamson argue that, even if the appropriate formulation seems to make room for failure of bivalence in borderline cases, this appearance is illusory, once one grants an (...)
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  38. The Many Minds Account of Vagueness.John Hawthorne & Andrew McGonigal - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):435 - 440.
    This paper presents an new epistemicist account of vagueness, one that avoids standard arbitrariness worries by exploiting a plenitudinous metaphysic.
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  39. Epistemicism About Vagueness and Meta-Linguistic Safety.Stephen Kearns & Ofra Magidor - 2008 - Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):277-304.
    The paper challenges Williamson’s safety based explanation for why we cannot know the cut-off point of vague expressions. We assume throughout (most of) the paper that Williamson is correct in saying that vague expressions have sharp cut-off points, but we argue that Williamson’s explanation for why we do not and cannot know these cut-off points is unsatisfactory. -/- In sect 2 we present Williamson's position in some detail. In particular, we note that Williamson's explanation relies on taking a particular safety (...)
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  40. Appropriateness Measures: An Uncertainty Model for Vague Concepts.Jonathan Lawry - 2008 - Synthese 161 (2):255-269.
    We argue that in the decision making process required for selecting assertible vague descriptions of an object, it is practical that communicating agents adopt an epistemic stance. This corresponds to the assumption that there exists a set of conventions governing the appropriate use of labels, and about which an agent has only partial knowledge and hence significant uncertainty. It is then proposed that this uncertainty is quantified by a measure corresponding to an agent’s subjective belief that a vague concept label (...)
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  41. Epistemicism and Nihilism About Vagueness: What’s the Difference?David Enoch - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (2):285-311.
    In this paper I argue, first, that the only difference between Epistemicism and Nihilism about vagueness is semantic rather than ontological, and second, that once it is clear what the difference between these views is, Nihilism is a much more plausible view of vagueness than Epistemicism. Given the current popularity of certain epistemicist views, this result is, I think, of interest.
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  42. Knowledge Beyond the Margin for Error.R. A. Sorensen - 2007 - Mind 116 (463):717-722.
    Epistemicists say there is a last positive instance in a sorites sequence-we just cannot know which is the last. Timothy Williamson explains that knowledge requires a margin for error and this ensures that the last heap will not be knowable as a heap. However, there is a class of disjunctive predicates for which knowledge at the thresholds is possible. They generate sorites paradoxes that cannot be diagnosed with the margin for error principle.
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  43. 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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  44. Fuzziness and the Sorites Paradox.Marcelo Vasconez - 2006 - Dissertation, Catholic University of Louvain
    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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  45. Minimalism, Epistemicism, and Paradox.Bradley Armour-Garb & J. C. Beall - 2005 - In J. C. Beall & Bradley Armour-Garb (eds.), Deflationism and Paradox. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
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  46. The Fallacy of Epistemicism.James Cargile - 2005 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 33.
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  47. Minimalists About Truth Can (and Should) Be Epistemicists, and It Helps If They Are Revision Theorists Too.Greg Restall - 2005 - In J. C. Beall & Bradley Armour-Garb (eds.), Deflationism and Paradox. Clarendon Press.
  48. Précis of Vagueness and Contradiction. [REVIEW]Roy Sorensen - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):678–685.
    Rorty goes on to connect the sorites paradox to analytic philosophy’s long standing concern with the correspondence theory of truth. How do our words hook up with reality? Do our categories map pre-existing contours? The nominalist answers that “facts” are just projections of our forms of speech. Rorty characterizes epistemicism as a hyper-realist backlash. In addition to thinking that our scientific terminology cuts nature at the joint, the epistemicist asserts that even the vague vocabulary of common sense has sharp thresholds.
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  49. Epistemicism and the Combined Spectrum.Alter Torin & Rachels Stuart - 2004 - Ratio 17 (3):241-255.
    Derek Parfit's combined-spectrum argument seems to conflict with epistemicism, a viable theory of vagueness. While Parfit argues for the indeterminacy of personhood, epistemicism denies indeterminacy. But, we argue, the linguistically based determinacy that epistemicism supports lacks the sort of normative or ontological significance that concerns Parfit. Thus, we reformulate his argument to make it consistent with epistemicism. We also dispute Roy Sorensen's suggestion that Parfit's argument relies on an assumption that fuels resistance to epistemicism, namely, that 'the magnitude of a (...)
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  50. Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness.Henry Jackman - 2004 - Philosophical Studies 117 (1-2):79-94.
    'Epistemic' theories of vagueness notoriously claim that (despite the appearances to the contrary) all of our vague terms have sharp boundaries, it's just that we can't know what they are. Epistemic theories are typically criticized for failing to explain (1) the source of the ignorance postulated, and (2) how our terms could come to have such precise boundaries. Both of these objections will, however, be shown to rest on certain 'presentist' assumptions about the relation between use and meaning, and if (...)
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