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Vagueness, truth and logic

Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300 (1975)

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  1. The Birth of Dialetheism.Elena Ficara - 2021 - History and Philosophy of Logic 42 (3):281-296.
    The aim of this paper is to lay bare the roots of dialetheism in discussions about dialectics and dialectical logic at the time of the first development of paraconsistent logics. In other words, th...
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  • The Demandingness of Virtue.Robert Weston Siscoe - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (1):1-22.
    How demanding is the virtuous life? Can virtue exist alongside hints of vice? Is it possible to be virtuous within a vicious society? A line of thinking running through Diogenes and the Stoics is that even a hint of corruption is inimical to virtue, that participating in a vicious society makes it impossible for a person to be virtuous. One response to this difficulty is to claim that virtue is a threshold concept, that context sets a threshold for what is (...)
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  • Rational Supererogation and Epistemic Permissivism.Robert Weston Siscoe - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    A number of authors have defended permissivism by appealing to rational supererogation, the thought that some doxastic states might be rationally permissible even though there are other, more rational beliefs available. If this is correct, then there are situations that allow for multiple rational doxastic responses, even if some of those responses are rationally suboptimal. In this paper, I will argue that this is the wrong approach to defending permissivism—there are no doxastic states that are rationally supererogatory. By the lights (...)
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  • Voting and Vagueness.James Chase - 2016 - Synthese 193 (8):2453–2468.
    How to handle vagueness? One way is to introduce the machinery of acceptable sharpenings, and reinterpret truth as truth-in-all-sharpenings or truth-in-some-sharpenings. A major selling point has been the conservativism of the resulting systems with respect to classical theoremhood and inference. Supervaluationism and subvaluationism possess interesting formal symmetries, a fact that has been used to argue for the subvaluationist approach. However, the philosophical motivation behind each is a different matter. Subvaluationism comes with a standard story that is difficult to sign up (...)
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  • Sample Logic.Matthias Gerner - forthcoming - Logic Journal of the IGPL.
    The need for a ‘many-valued logic’ in linguistics has been evident since the 1970s, but there was lack of clarity as to whether it should come from the family of fuzzy logics or from the family of probabilistic logics. In this regard, Fine [14] and Kamp [26] pointed out undesirable effects of fuzzy logic which kept two generations of linguists and philosophers at arm’s length. While probabilistic logic is not fraught by the same problems, its lack of constructiveness, i.e. its (...)
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  • Adjectives, Stereotypicality, and Comparison.Elin McCready & Norry Ogata - 2007 - Natural Language Semantics 15 (1):35-63.
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  • From Values to Probabilities.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3901-3929.
    According to the fitting-attitude analysis of value, to be valuable is to be a fitting object of a pro-attitude. In earlier publications, setting off from this format of analysis, I proposed a modelling of value relations which makes room for incommensurability in value. In this paper, I first recapitulate the value modelling and then move on to suggest adopting a structurally similar analysis of probability. Indeed, many probability theorists from Poisson onwards did adopt an analysis of this kind. This move (...)
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  • Borderline Cases and the Collapsing Principle.Luke Elson - 2014 - Utilitas 26 (1):51-60.
    John Broome has argued that value incommensurability is vagueness, by appeal to a controversial about comparative indeterminacy. I offer a new counterexample to the collapsing principle. That principle allows us to derive an outright contradiction from the claim that some object is a borderline case of some predicate. But if there are no borderline cases, then the principle is empty. The collapsing principle is either false or empty.
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  • Epistemicism and response-dependence.Ivan Hu - forthcoming - Synthese:1-23.
    Epistemicists claim that if it is vague whether p, it is unknowable whether p. Some contest this on epistemic grounds: vague intuitions about vague matters need not fully preclude knowledge, if those intuitions are response-dependent in some special sense of enabling vague knowledge. This paper defends the epistemicist principle that vagueness entails ignorance against such objections. I argue that not only is response-dependence an implausible characterization of actual vague matters, its mere possibility poses no threat to epistemicism and is properly (...)
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  • Quantum Metametaphysics.Alessandro Torza - forthcoming - Synthese:1-25.
    Say that metaphysical indeterminacy occurs just when there is a fact such that neither it nor its negation obtains. The aim of this work is to shed light on the issue of whether orthodox quantum mechanics provides any evidence of metaphysical indeterminacy by discussing the logical, semantic, and broadly methodological presuppositions of the debate. I argue that the dispute amounts to a verbal disagreement between classical and quantum logicians, given Eli Hirsch’s account of substantivity; but that it need not be (...)
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  • Meaningful Blurs: the sources of repetition-based plurals in ASL.Philippe Schlenker & Jonathan Lamberton - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy:1-64.
    In several sign languages, plurals can be realized with unpunctuated or punctuated repetitions of a noun, with different semantic implications; similar repetition-based plurals have been described in some homesigns and silent gestures. Unpunctuated repetitions often get approximate ‘at least’ readings while punctuated repetitions typically correspond to ‘exactly’ readings. The prevalence of these mechanisms could be thought to be a case in which Universal Grammar does not just specify the abstract properties of grammatical elements, but also their phonological realization, at least (...)
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  • Assessment, Truth and Religious Studies.John Tillson - 2019 - Studies in Philosophy and Education (2):195-210.
    This paper addresses the question of what should determine whether students’ answers to closed questions are marked as correct or incorrect in the context of formal religious education, and when their answers to open ended questions should be given more or less credit. Drawing on insights from Craig Bourne, Emily Caddick Bourne and Clare Jarmy, I argue that a combination of judged truth, and a range of well-argued cases about what ought to be believed given certain premises should constrain these (...)
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  • Yet again, quantum indeterminacy is not worldly indecision.Alberto Corti - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    It has been argued that non-relativistic quantum mechanics is the best hunting ground for genuine examples of metaphysical indeterminacy. Approaches to metaphysical indeterminacy can be divided into two families: meta-level and object-level accounts. It has been shown :27–245, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048400903097786; Skow in Philosophical Quarterly 60:851–858, 2010) that the most popular version of the meta-level accounts, namely the metaphysical supervaluationism proposed by Barnes and Williams, fails to deal with quantum indeterminacy. Such a fact has been taken by many as a challenge (...)
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  • Assertions and future tense semantics.Ciro De Florio & Aldo Frigerio - forthcoming - Synthese:1-19.
    Non-bivalent semantics of the future tense assert that propositions regarding future contingents are neither true nor false. One of the most relevant non-bivalent semantics is supervaluationism :264–281, 1970; Thomason, in: Gabbay, Guenthner Handbook of philosophical logic, Springer, Berlin, 1984), which preserves important logical principles. Recently, non-bivalent semantics are under attack from some pragmatics arguments: these semantics would be incompatible with our practices of asserting future contingents and with the probability we ascribe to such assertions :251–271, 2014; Cariani and Santorio in (...)
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  • Vagueness, Incomparability, and the Collapsing Principle.Erik Carlson - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):449-463.
    John Broome has argued that incomparability and vagueness cannot coexist in a given betterness order. His argument essentially hinges on an assumption he calls the ‘collapsing principle’. In an earlier article I criticized this principle, but Broome has recently expressed doubts about the cogency of my criticism. Moreover, Cristian Constantinescu has defended Broome’s view from my objection. In this paper, I present further arguments against the collapsing principle, and try to show that Constantinescu’s defence of Broome’s position fails.
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  • Thinking about many.James Openshaw - forthcoming - Synthese:1-20.
    The notorious problem of the many makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that almost coincident with any ordinary object are a vast number of near-indiscernible objects. As Unger was aware in his presentation of the problem, this abundance raises a concern as to how—and even whether—we achieve singular thought about ordinary objects. This paper presents, clarifies, and defends a view which reconciles a plenitudinous conception of ordinary objects with our having singular thoughts about those objects. Indeed, this strategy has (...)
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  • Indeterminacy and Normativity.Giulia Pravato - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-23.
    This paper develops and defends the view that substantively normative uses of words like “good”, “right” and “ought” are irresolvably indeterminate: any single case of application is like a borderline case for a vague or indeterminate term, in that the meaning-fixing facts, together with the non-linguistic facts, fail to determine a truth-value for the target sentence in context. Normative claims, like vague or indeterminate borderline claims, are not meaningless, though. By making them, the speaker communicates information about the precisifications that (...)
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  • The Disunity of Truth.Josh Dever - 2009 - In Robert Stainton & Christopher Viger (eds.), Compositionality, Context and Semantic Values: Essays in Honour of Ernie Lepore. pp. 174-191.
    §§3-4 of the Begriffsschrift present Frege’s objections to a dominant if murky nineteenth-century semantic picture. I sketch a minimalist variant of the pre-Fregean picture which escapes Frege’s criticisms by positing a thin notion of semantic content which then interacts with a multiplicity of kinds of truth to account for phenomena such as modality. After exploring several ways in which we can understand the existence of multiple truth properties, I discuss the roles of pointwise and setwise truth properties in modal logic. (...)
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  • Contra counterfactism.Alan Hájek - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    ‘If I were to toss a coin 1000 times, then it would land heads exactly n times’. Is there a specific value of n that renders this counterfactual true? According to an increasingly influential view, there is. A precursor of the view goes back to the Molinists; more recently it has been inspired by Stalnaker, and versions of it have been advocated by Hawthorne, Bradley, Moss, Schulz, and Stefánsson. More generally, I attribute to these authors what I call Counterfactual Plenitude:For (...)
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  • Spacetime and Mereology.Andrew Virel Wake - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (1):17-35.
    Unrestricted Composition (UC) is, roughly, the claim that given any objects at all, there is something which those objects compose. (UC) conflicts in an obvious way with common sense. It has as a consequence, for instance, that there is something which has as parts my nose and the moon. One of the more influential arguments for (UC) is Theodore Sider’s version of the Argument from Vagueness. (A version of the Argument from Vagueness was first presented by David Lewis (1986), pp. (...)
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  • Naturalness, Vagueness, and Sortals.Marta Campdelacreu - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (1):79-91.
    In the past few years, deflationary positions in the debate on the nature of composite material objects have become prominent. According to Ted Sider these include the thesis of quantifier variance, against which he has defended ontological realism. Recently, Sider has considered the possibility of rejecting his arguments against the vagueness of the unrestricted quantifiers in terms of translation functions. Against this strategy, he has presented an intuitive complaint and has argued that it can only be resisted if quantifier variance (...)
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  • Vague Analysis.Dennis Earl - 2010 - Metaphysica 11 (2):223-233.
    It might be thought that vagueness precludes the possibility of classical conceptual analysis and, thus, that the classical or definitional view of the nature of complex concepts is incorrect. The present paper argues that classical analysis can be had for concepts expressed by vague language since (1) all of the general theories of vagueness are compatible with the thesis that all complex concepts have classical analyses and also that (2) the meaning of vague expressions can be analyzed by having the (...)
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  • Observing Events and Situations in Time.Tim Fernando - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (5):527-550.
    Events and situations are represented by strings of temporally ordered observations, on the basis of which the events and situations are recognized. Allen’s basic interval relations are derived from superposing strings that mark interval boundaries, and Kamp’s event structures are constructed as projective limits of strings. Observations are generalized to temporal propositions, leading to event-types that classify event-instances. Working with sets of strings built from temporal propositions, we obtain natural notions of bounded entailment from set inclusions. These inclusions are decidable (...)
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  • What Difference Does It Make: Three Truth-Values or Two Plus Gaps? [REVIEW]Katarzyna Kijania-Placek - 2002 - Erkenntnis 56 (1):83-98.
  • Typicality, Graded Membership, and Vagueness.James A. Hampton - 2007 - Cognitive Science 31 (3):355-384.
  • Vagueness and Grammar: The Semantics of Relative and Absolute Gradable Adjectives.Christopher Kennedy - 2007 - Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (1):1 - 45.
    This paper investigates the way that linguistic expressions influence vagueness, focusing on the interpretation of the positive (unmarked) form of gradable adjectives. I begin by developing a semantic analysis of the positive form of ‘relative’ gradable adjectives, expanding on previous proposals by further motivating a semantic basis for vagueness and by precisely identifying and characterizing the division of labor between the compositional and contextual aspects of its interpretation. I then introduce a challenge to the analysis from the class of ‘absolute’ (...)
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  • Compositionality and the Modelling of Complex Concepts.Nick Braisby - 1998 - Minds and Machines 8 (4):479-508.
    The nature of complex concepts has important implications for the computational modelling of the mind, as well as for the cognitive science of concepts. This paper outlines the way in which RVC – a Relational View of Concepts – accommodates a range of complex concepts, cases which have been argued to be non-compositional. RVC attempts to integrate a number of psychological, linguistic and psycholinguistic considerations with the situation-theoretic view that information-carrying relations hold only relative to background situations. The central tenet (...)
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  • Metaphysically Indeterminate Existence.Elizabeth Barnes - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (3):495-510.
    Sider (Four-dimensionalism 2001; Philos Stud 114:135–146, 2003; Nous 43:557–567, 2009) has developed an influential argument against indeterminacy in existence. In what follows, I argue that the defender of metaphysical forms of indeterminate existence has a unique way of responding to Sider’s argument. The response I’ll offer is interesting not only for its applicability to Sider’s argument, but also for its broader implications; responding to Sider helps to show both how we should think about precisification in the context of metaphysical indeterminacy (...)
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  • Representationalism and the Problem of Vagueness.Ryan Perkins & Tim Bayne - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (1):71-86.
    This paper develops a novel problem for representationalism (also known as "intentionalism"), a popular contemporary account of perception. We argue that representationalism is incompatible with supervaluationism, the leading contemporary account of vagueness. The problem generalizes to naive realism and related views, which are also incompatible with supervaluationism.
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  • 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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  • 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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  • There is a Problem of Change.Michael Raven - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 155 (1):23-35.
    Impostors are pseudo-problems masquerading as genuine problems. Impostors should be exposed. The problem of change appears genuine. But some, such as Hofweber ( 2009 ) and Rychter ( 2009 ), have recently denounced it as an impostor. They allege that it is mysterious how to answer the meta - problem of saying what problem it is: for even if any problem is genuinely about change per se, they argue, it is either empirical or trivially dissolved by conceptual analysis. There is (...)
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  • The Rationale Behind Revision-Rule Semantics.Lionel Shapiro - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 129 (3):477 - 515.
    According to Gupta and Belnap, the “extensional behavior” of ‘true’ matches that of a circularly defined predicate. Besides promising to explain semantic paradoxicality, their general theory of circular predicates significantly liberalizes the framework of truth-conditional semantics. The authors’ discussions of the rationale behind that liberalization invoke two distinct senses in which a circular predicate’s semantic behavior is explained by a “revision rule” carrying hypothetical information about its extension. Neither attempted explanation succeeds. Their theory may however be modified to employ a (...)
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  • A Deflationist Approach to Indeterminacy and Vagueness.Ken Akiba - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 107 (1):69 - 86.
    Deflationists cannot make sense ofthe notion of referential indeterminacybecause they deny the existence of substantivereference. One way for them to make sense ofthe objective existence of linguisticindeterminacy is by embracing theworldly view ofindeterminacy, the view that indeterminacyexists not in reference relations but in the world itself. On this view,the entire world is divided into precisified worlds, just as it is dividedinto temporal slices and alethicpossible worlds. Supervaluationism proves tobe neutral with respect to the debate betweenthe worldly view and the referential (...)
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  • Fitting Words: Vague Language in Context.Alice Kyburg & Michael Morreau - 2000 - Linguistics and Philosophy 23 (6):577-597.
  • Vague Kinds and Biological Nominalism.Peter Simons - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):275-282.
    Among biological kinds, the most important are species. But species, however defined, have vague boundaries, both synchronically owing to hybridization and ongoing speciation, and diachronically owing to genetic drift and genealogical continuity despite speciation. It is argued that the solution to the problems of species and their vague boundaries is to adopt a thoroughgoing nominalism in regard to all biological taxa, from species to domains. The base entities are individual organisms: populations of these compose species and higher taxa. This accommodates (...)
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  • Vague Objects and the Problem of the Many.Thomas Sattig - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (2):211-223.
    The problem of the many poses the task of explaining mereological indeterminacy of ordinary objects in a way that sustains our familiar practice of counting these objects. The aim of this essay is to develop a solution to the problem of the many that is based on an account of mereological indeterminacy as having its source in how ordinary objects are, independently of how we represent them. At the center of the account stands a quasi-hylomorphic ontology of ordinary objects as (...)
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  • Remarks on the Interest-Relative Theory of Vagueness.María Cerezo - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (3):381-394.
    I discuss the interest-relative account of vagueness and argue for a distinction between relational vague predicates and non-relational vague predicates depending on the kind of properties expressed by them. The strategy rests on three arguments arising from the existence of clear cases of a vague predicate, from contexts in which a different answer is required for questions about whether a vague predicate applies to an item, and whether such an item satisfies the interest of an agent, and from cases where (...)
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  • ‘Incommensurability’ and Vagueness: Is the Vagueness View Defensible? [REVIEW]Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):141-153.
    The vagueness view holds that when evaluative comparisons are hard, there is indeterminacy about which comparative relation holds. It is sceptical about whether there are any incommensurate items (in some domain). The sceptical element of John Broome’s version of this view rests on a controversial principle. Robert Sugden advances a similar view which does not depend on this principle. Sugden’s argument fails as a vagueness view because it assumes rather than shows that there are no incommensurate items (in some domain). (...)
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  • Intentional Vagueness.Andreas Blume & Oliver Board - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (S4):1-45.
    This paper analyzes communication with a language that is vague in the sense that identical messages do not always result in identical interpretations. It is shown that strategic agents frequently add to this vagueness by being intentionally vague, i.e. they deliberately choose less precise messages than they have to among the ones available to them in equilibrium. Having to communicate with a vague language can be welfare enhancing because it mitigates conflict. In equilibria that satisfy a dynamic stability condition intentional (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Words.Roy Sorensen - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 81 (2-3):193 - 214.
    Semantic indeterminacy is the ether of philosophy of language. It fills the interstices of our intentions and pervades accounts of presupposition, tense, fiction, translation, and especially, vagueness. Yet semantic indeterminacy is as impossible as ectoplasm. Indeed, more so! The demonstration need only borrow a few assumptions used elsewhere in widely accepted impossibility results. Since an impossibility is never a necessary condition for anything actual, semantic indeterminacy must be superfluous. Language is no more explained by semantic indeterminacy than calculus is explained (...)
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  • Don't Ask, Look! Linguistic Corpora as a Tool for Conceptual Analysis.Roland Bluhm - 2013 - In Migue Hoeltje, Thomas Spitzley & Wolfgang Spohn (eds.), Was dürfen wir glauben? Was sollen wir tun? Sektionsbeiträge des achten internationalen Kongresses der Gesellschaft für Analytische Philosophie e.V. DuEPublico. pp. 7-15.
    Ordinary Language Philosophy has largely fallen out of favour, and with it the belief in the primary importance of analyses of ordinary language for philosophical purposes. Still, in their various endeavours, philosophers not only from analytic but also from other backgrounds refer to the use and meaning of terms of interest in ordinary parlance. In doing so, they most commonly appeal to their own linguistic intuitions. Often, the appeal to individual intuitions is supplemented by reference to dictionaries. In recent times, (...)
     
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  • Degrees of Belief, Expected and Actual.Rosanna Keefe - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3789-3800.
    A framework of degrees of belief, or credences, is often advocated to model our uncertainty about how things are or will turn out. It has also been employed in relation to the kind of uncertainty or indefiniteness that arises due to vagueness, such as when we consider “a is F” in a case where a is borderline F. How should we understand degrees of belief when we take into account both these phenomena? Can the right kind of theory of the (...)
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  • Conditional Excluded Middle Without the Limit Assumption.Eric Swanson - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):301-321.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Transitivity of Better Than.Jacob M. Nebel - 2018 - Noûs 52 (4):874-899.
    The Rachels–Temkin spectrum arguments against the transitivity of better than involve good or bad experiences, lives, or outcomes that vary along multiple dimensions—e.g., duration and intensity of pleasure or pain. This paper presents variations on these arguments involving combinations of good and bad experiences, which have even more radical implications than the violation of transitivity. These variations force opponents of transitivity to conclude that something good is worse than something that isn’t good, on pain of rejecting the good altogether. That (...)
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  • Truthier Than Thou: Truth, Supertruth and Probability of Truth.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4):740-58.
    Different formal tools are useful for different purposes. For example, when it comes to modelling degrees of belief, probability theory is a better tool than classical logic; when it comes to modelling the truth of mathematical claims, classical logic is a better tool than probability theory. In this paper I focus on a widely used formal tool and argue that it does not provide a good model of a phenomenon of which many think it does provide a good model: I (...)
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  • Anti-Atomism About Color Representation.John Morrison - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):94-122.
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  • What Is Graded Membership?Lieven Decock & Igor Douven - 2014 - Noûs 48 (4):653-682.
    It has seemed natural to model phenomena related to vagueness in terms of graded membership. However, so far no satisfactory answer has been given to the question of what graded membership is nor has any attempt been made to describe in detail a procedure for determining degrees of membership. We seek to remedy these lacunae by building on recent work on typicality and graded membership in cognitive science and combining some of the results obtained there with a version of the (...)
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  • Specifying Desires.Delia Graff Fara - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):250-272.
    A report of a person's desire can be true even if its embedded clause underspecifies the content of the desire that makes the report true. It is true that Fiona wants to catch a fish even if she has no desire that is satisfied if she catches a poisoned minnow. Her desire is satisfied only if she catches an edible, meal-sized fish. The content of her desire is more specific than the propositional content of the embedded clause in our true (...)
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  • Ontic Vagueness: A Guide for the Perplexed.Elizabeth Barnes - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):601-627.
    In this paper I develop a framework for understanding ontic vagueness. The project of the paper is two-fold. I first outline a definitional account of ontic vagueness – one that I think is an improvement on previous attempts because it remains neutral on other, independent metaphysical issues. I then develop one potential manifestation of that basic definitional structure. This is a more robust (and much less neutral) account which gives a fully classical explication of ontic vagueness via modal concepts. The (...)
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