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Vagueness and Contradiction

Oxford, England: Oxford University Press (2001)

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  1. Truth and What is Said.Elia Zardini - 2008 - Philosophical Perspectives 22 (1):545-574.
    A notion of truth as applicable to events of assertoric use ( utterances ) of a sentence token is arguably presupposed and required by our evaluative practices of the use of language. The truth of an utterance seems clearly to depend on what the utterance says . This fundamental dependence seems in turn to be captured by the schema that, if an utterance u says that P , then u is true iff P . Such a schema may thus be (...)
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  • Semantic Pathology and the Open Pair.James A. Woodbridge & Bradley Armour-Garb - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):695–703.
    In Vagueness and Contradiction (2001), Roy Sorensen defends and extends his epistemic account of vagueness. In the process, he appeals to connections between vagueness and semantic paradox. These appeals come mainly in Chapter 11, where Sorensen offers a solution to what he calls the no-no paradox—a “neglected cousin” of the more famous liar—and attempts to use this solution as a precedent for an epistemic account of the sorites paradox. This strategy is problematic for Sorensen’s project, however, since, as we establish, (...)
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  • Knowledge Within the Margin for Error.Timothy Williamson - 2007 - Mind 116 (463):723 - 726.
    Roy Sorensen's criticism of my use of margin for error principles to explain ignorance in borderline cases fails because it misidentifies the relevant margin for error principles. His alternative explanation in terms of truth-maker gaps is briefly criticized.
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  • Faith and Disbelief.Robert K. Whitaker - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (2):149-172.
    Is faith that p compatible with disbelief that p? I argue that it is. After surveying some recent literature on the compatibility of propositional and non-propositional forms of faith with the lack of belief, I take the next step and offer several arguments for the thesis that both these forms of faith are also compatible, in certain cases, with outright disbelief. This is contrary to the views of some significant recent commentators on propositional faith, including Robert Audi and Daniel Howard-Snyder. (...)
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  • True, Truer, Truest.Brian Weatherson - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):47-70.
    What the world needs now is another theory of vagueness. Not because the old theories are useless. Quite the contrary, the old theories provide many of the materials we need to construct the truest theory of vagueness ever seen. The theory shall be similar in motivation to supervaluationism, but more akin to many-valued theories in conceptualisation. What I take from the many-valued theories is the idea that some sentences can be truer than others. But I say very different things to (...)
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  • Vagueness and the Laws of Metaphysics.Ryan Wasserman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):66-89.
    This is a paper about the nature of metaphysical laws and their relation to the phenomenon of vagueness. Metaphysical laws are introduced as analogous to natural laws, and metaphysical indeterminism is modeled on causal indeterminacy. This kind of indeterminacy is then put to work in developing a novel theory of vagueness and a solution to the sorites paradox.
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  • Three-Valued Semantic Pluralism: A Defense of a Three-Valued Solution to the Sorites Paradox.Wen-Fang Wang - 2018 - Synthese 195 (10):4441-4476.
    Disagreeing with most authors on vagueness, the author proposes a solution that he calls ‘three-valued semantic pluralism’ to the age-old sorites paradox. In essence, it is a three-valued semantics for a first-order vague language with identity with the additional suggestion that a vague language has more than one correct interpretation. Unlike the traditional three-valued approach to a vague language, three-valued semantic pluralism can accommodate the phenomenon of higher-order vagueness and the phenomenon of penumbral connection when equipped with ‘suitable conditionals’. The (...)
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  • Epistemic Approaches to Vagueness.Zoltán Vecsey - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (2):295-307.
  • Symmetry and Paradox.Stephen Read - 2006 - History and Philosophy of Logic 27 (4):307-318.
    The ?no???no? paradox (so-called by Sorensen) consists of a pair of propositions each of which says of the other that it is false. It is not immediately paradoxical, since it has a solution in which one proposition is true, the other false. However, that is itself paradoxical, since there is no clear ground for determining which is which. The two propositions should have the same truth-value. The paper shows how a proposal by the medieval thinker Thomas Bradwardine solves not only (...)
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  • Almost‐Ontology: Why Epistemicism Cannot Help Us Avoid Unrestricted Composition or Diachronic Plenitude.İrem Kurtsal Steen - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):130-139.
    That any filled location of spacetime contains a persisting thing has been defended based on the ‘argument from vagueness.’ It is often assumed that since the epistemicist account of vagueness blocks the argument from vagueness it facilitates a conservative ontology without gerrymandered objects. It doesn't. The epistemic vagueness of ordinary object predicates such as ‘bicycle’ requires that objects that can be described as almost‐but‐not‐quite‐bicycle exist even though they fall outside the predicate's sharp extension. Since the predicates that begin with ‘almost’ (...)
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  • The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  • Vagueness has No Function in Law.Roy Sorensen - 2001 - Legal Thoery 7 (4):385--415.
    Islamic building codes require mosques to face Mecca. The further Islam spreads, the more apt are believers to fall into a quandary. X faces Y only when the front of X is closer to Y than any other side of X. So the front of the mosque should be oriented along a shortest path to Mecca. Which way is that? Does the path to Mecca tunnel through the earth? Or does the path follow the surface of the earth?
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  • Semivaluationism: Putting Vagueness in Context in Context.Roy Sorensen - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):471–483.
  • Meta-Agnosticism: Higher Order Epistemic Possibility.Roy Sorensen - 2009 - Mind 118 (471):777-784.
    In ‘Epistemic Modals’ (2007), Seth Yalcin proposes Stalnaker-style semantics for epistemic possibility. He is inspired by John MacFarlane’s ingenious defence of relativism, in which claims of epistemic possibility are made rigidly from the perspective of the assessor’s actual stock of information (rather than from the speaker’s knowledge base or that of his audience or community). The innovations of MacFarlane and Yalcin independently reinforce the modal collapse espoused by Jaakko Hintikka in his 1962 epistemic logic (which relied on the implausible KK (...)
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  • Vague Singulars, Semantic Indecision, and the Metaphysics of Persons.Donald P. Smith - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (3):569-585.
    Composite materialism, as I will understand it, is the view that human persons are composite material objects. This paper develops and investigates an argument, The Vague Singulars Argument, for the falsity of composite materialism. We shall see that cogent or not, the Vague Singulars Argument has philosophically significant ramifications.
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  • Vagueness, Uncertainty and Degrees of Belief: Two Kinds of Indeterminacy—One Kind of Credence.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (5):1027-44.
    If we think, as Ramsey did, that a degree of belief that P is a stronger or weaker tendency to act as if P, then it is clear that not only uncertainty, but also vagueness, gives rise to degrees of belief. If I like hot coffee and do not know whether the coffee is hot or cold, I will have some tendency to reach for a cup; if I like hot coffee and know that the coffee is borderline hot, I (...)
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  • An “I” for an I: Singular Terms, Uniqueness, and Reference.Stewart Shapiro - 2012 - Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (3):380-415.
    There is an interesting logical/semantic issue with some mathematical languages and theories. In the language of (pure) complex analysis, the two square roots of i’ manage to pick out a unique object? This is perhaps the most prominent example of the phenomenon, but there are some others. The issue is related to matters concerning the use of definite descriptions and singular pronouns, such as donkey anaphora and the problem of indistinguishable participants. Taking a cue from some work in linguistics and (...)
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  • Platitudes Against Paradox.Sven Rosenkranz & Arash Sarkohi - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (3):319-341.
    We present a strategy to dissolve semantic paradoxes which proceeds from an explanation of why paradoxical sentences or their definitions are semantically defective. This explanation is compatible with the acceptability of impredicative definitions, self-referential sentences and semantically closed languages and leaves the status of the so-called truth-teller sentence unaffected. It is based on platitudes which encode innocuous constraints on successful definition and successful expression of propositional content. We show that the construction of liar paradoxes and of certain versions of Curry's (...)
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  • Platitudes Against Paradox.Sven Rosenkranz & Arash Sarkohi - 2006 - Erkenntnis 65 (3):319 - 341.
    We present a strategy to dissolve semantic paradoxes which proceeds from an explanation of why paradoxical sentences or their definitions are semantically defective. This explanation is compatible with the acceptability of impredicative definitions, self-referential sentences and semantically closed languages and leaves the status of the so-called truth-teller sentence unaffected. It is based on platitudes which encode innocuous constraints on successful definition and successful expression of propositional content. We show that the construction of liar paradoxes and of certain versions of Curry’s (...)
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  • Review: Vagueness and Degrees of Truth. [REVIEW]Christian G. Fermüller - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Logic 9:1-9.
    Vagueness is one of the most persistent and challenging topics in the intersection of philosophy and logic. At least five other noteworthy books on vagueness have been written by philosophers since 1991 [2, 6, 11, 12, 15]. A (necessarily incomplete) bibliography that has been compiled for the Arché project Vagueness: its Nature and Logic (2004-2006) of the University of St Andrews lists more than 350 articles and books on vagueness until 2005.1 Many new and interesting contributions have appeared since. The (...)
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  • Predictive minds can think: addressing generality and surface compositionality of thought.Sofiia Rappe - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-22.
    Predictive processing framework has found wide applications in cognitive science and philosophy. It is an attractive candidate for a unified account of the mind in which perception, action, and cognition fit together in a single model. However, PP cannot claim this role if it fails to accommodate an essential part of cognition—conceptual thought. Recently, Williams argued that PP struggles to address at least two of thought’s core properties—generality and rich compositionality. In this paper, I show that neither necessarily presents a (...)
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  • Lógica fuzzy, verdad y cognición.Alejandro Ramírez F. - 2014 - Revista de filosofía (Chile) 70:133-147.
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  • I—I Ncommensurability and V Agueness.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2009 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 83 (1):71-94.
    This paper casts doubts on John Broome's view that vagueness in value comparisons crowds out incommensurability in value. It shows how vagueness can be imposed on a formal model of value relations that has room for different types of incommensurability. The model implements some basic insights of the 'fitting attitudes' analysis of value.
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  • Words Without Knowledge. [REVIEW]Graham Priest - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3):686–694.
  • What the Tortoise Will Say to Achilles – or “Taking the Traditional Interpretation of the Sea Battle Argument Seriously”.Ramiro Peres - 2017 - Filosofia Unisinos 18 (1).
    This dialogue between Achilles and the Tortoise – in the spirit of those of Carroll and Hofstadter – argues against the idea, identified with the “traditional” interpretation of Aristotle’s “sea battle argument”, that future contingents are an exception to the Principle of Bivalence. It presents examples of correct everyday predictions, without which one would not be able to decide and to act; however, doing this is incompatible with the belief that the content of these predictions lacks a truth-value. The cost (...)
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  • Undermining Truthmaker Theory.Timothy Perrine - 2015 - Synthese 192 (1):185-200.
    Truthmaker theorists hold that there is a metaphysically explanatory relation that holds between true claims and what exists. While some critics try to provide counterexamples to truthmaker theory, that response quickly leads to a dialectical standoff. The aim of this paper is to move beyond that standoff by attempting to undermine some standard arguments for truthmaker theory. Using realism about truth and a more pragmatic account of explanation, I show how some of those arguments can be undermined.
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  • Recent Work on Molinism.Ken Perszyk - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (8):755-770.
    Molinism is named after Luis de Molina (1535–1600). Molina and his fellow Jesuits became entangled in a fierce debate over issues involving the doctrine of divine providence, which is a picture of how God runs the world. Molinism reemerged in the 1970s after Alvin Plantinga unwittingly assumed it in his Free Will Defense against the ‘Logical’ Argument from Evil. Molinism has been the subject of vigorous debate in analytic philosophy of religion ever since. The main aim of this essay is (...)
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  • Putting a Stake in Stakeholder Theory.Eric W. Orts & Alan Strudler - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 88 (S4):605 - 615.
    The primary appeal of stakeholder theory in business ethics derives from its promise to help solve two large and often morally difficult problems: (1) how to manage people fairly and efficiently and (2) how to determine the extent of a firm's moral responsibilities beyond its obligations to enhance its profits and economic value. This article investigates a variety of conceptual quandaries that stakeholder theory faces in addressing these two general problems. It argues that these quandaries pose intractable obstacles for stakeholder (...)
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  • Vagueness and the Problem of Evil: A New Reply to van Inwagen.Luis Oliveira - 2021 - Manuscrito: Revista Internacional de Filosofía 44 (4):49-82.
    One of the few points of agreement between most theists and non-theists working on the problem of evil is that the existence of a perfect God is incompatible with the existence of pointless evil. In a series of influential papers, however, Peter van Inwagen has argued that careful attention to the reasoning behind this claim reveals fatal difficulties related to the Sorites Paradox. In this paper, I explain van Inwagen’s appeal to sorites reasoning, distinguish between two different arguments in his (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • Who Was Nietzsche’s Genealogist?Elijah Millgram - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):92–110.
    Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals is deservedly part of the ethical canon, but it is also be enormously and insistently absent-minded. I’m going to first present, as a textual puzzle, a handful of forgetful moments in the first two essays of the Genealogy. To address the puzzle, I will take up a familiar idea, that the Genealogy is both a subversive account of ethics and of what it is to be an intellectual. I will describe a strategy for reading the text (...)
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  • Replies. [REVIEW]Elijah Millgram - 2011 - Analysis 71 (2):341 - 351.
    Nietzsche thought at one point that predication originated through the misapplication of names for particulars to further particulars. I doubt myself that this is where the device came from, although one does occasionally encounter usage – such as ‘another Vietnam’ – that evidently does arise in this manner. However, his account of predication is a useful model for a more sophisticated device which we in fact deploy, namely, the intentional misdescription of one circumstance or another in the interests of expedited (...)
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  • Instrumentos, Artefactos y Contexto.Ricardo Mena - 2018 - Análisis Filosófico 38 (1):83-102.
    It is notoriously difficult to model the range of application of vague predicates relative to a suitable sorites series. In this paper I offer some critical remarks against an interesting view that has received little attention in the literature. According to it, the sharp cut-offs we find in our semantic models are just artifacts of the theory, and, as such, they are harmless. At the end I discuss a contextualist view that, at a cost, may be able to get around (...)
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  • This is Not an Instance of (E).Teresa Marques - 2018 - Synthese 195 (3):1035–1063.
    Semantic paradoxes like the liar are notorious challenges to truth theories. A paradox can be phrased with minimal resources and minimal assumptions. It is not surprising, then, that the liar is also a challenge to minimalism about truth. Horwich (1990) deals swiftly with the paradox, after discriminating between other strategies for avoiding it without compromising minimalism. He dismisses the denial of classical logic, the denial that the concept of truth can coherently be applied to propositions, and the denial that the (...)
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  • Discrimination: Classification and Moral Assessment.Raino Malnes - 2015 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 2 (2):245-254.
    Assigning something to the category “discrimination” is not tantamount to saying that it is wrong, but the assignment is disquieting. Conversely, when conduct is classified as non-discriminatory, one weighty ground to be on the guard is set aside. So we should not talk flippantly about discrimination, but do our best to place moral assessment on the proper pitch. There are two ways of drawing a line between discriminatory and non-discriminatory conduct because there are two competing ways of spelling out a (...)
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  • The Last Dogma of Type Confusions.Ofra Magidor - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt1):1-29.
    In this paper I discuss a certain kind of 'type confusion' which involves use of expressions of the wrong grammatical category, as in the string 'runs eats'. It is (nearly) universally accepted that such strings are meaningless. My purpose in this paper is to question this widespread assumption (or as I call it, 'the last dogma'). I discuss a range of putative reasons for accepting the last dogma: in §II, semantic and metaphysical reasons; in §III, logical reasons; and in §IV, (...)
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  • II-The Last Dogma of Type Confusions.Ofra Magidor - 2009 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 109 (1pt1):1-29.
  • Category Mistakes Are Meaningful.Ofra Magidor - 2009 - Linguistics and Philosophy 32 (6):553-581.
    Category mistakes are sentences such as ‘Colourless green ideas sleep furiously’ or ‘The theory of relativity is eating breakfast’. Such sentences are highly anomalous, and this has led a large number of linguists and philosophers to conclude that they are meaningless (call this ‘the meaninglessness view’). In this paper I argue that the meaninglessness view is incorrect and category mistakes are meaningful. I provide four arguments against the meaninglessness view: in Sect. 2, an argument concerning compositionality with respect to category (...)
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  • Category Mistakes and Figurative Language.Ofra Magidor - 2015 - Philosophical Studies (1):1-14.
    Category mistakes are sentences such as ”The number two is blue’ or ”Green ideas sleep furiously’. Such sentences are highly infelicitous and thus a prominent view claims that they are meaningless. Category mistakes are also highly prevalent in figurative language. That is to say, it is very common for sentences which are used figuratively to be such that, if taken literally, they would constitute category mistakes. In this paper I argue that the view that category mistakes are meaningless is inconsistent (...)
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  • The Interval of Motion in Leibniz's Pacidius Philalethi.Samuel Levey - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):371–416.
  • Chain-Arguments and the Sorites Paradox.Ran Lanzet - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (3):589-604.
    A finite chain of valid arguments can never lead from truth to falsehood. Call this the concatenation principle, or CP. Some propose to reject CP in response to the sorites paradox. I offer...
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  • Vagueness and Ambivalence.Barry Lam - 2013 - Acta Analytica 28 (3):359-379.
    What is the proper attitude toward what is expressed by a vague sentence in the face of borderline evidence? Some call this attitude “ambivalence” and distinguish it from uncertainty. It has been argued that Classical Epistemicism conjoined with classical probability theory fails to characterize this attitude, and that we must therefore abandon classical logic or classical probabilities in the presence of vagueness. In this paper, I give a characterization of ambivalence assuming a supervaluationist semantics for vague terms that does not (...)
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  • The Vagueness Argument Against Abstract Artifacts.Daniel Z. Korman - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):57-71.
    Words, languages, symphonies, fictional characters, games, and recipes are plausibly abstract artifacts— entities that have no spatial location and that are deliberately brought into existence as a result of creative acts. Many accept that composition is unrestricted: for every plurality of material objects, there is a material object that is the sum of those objects. These two views may seem entirely unrelated. I will argue that the most influential argument against restricted composition—the vagueness argument—doubles as an argument that there can (...)
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  • This Paper Surely Contains Some Errors.Brian Kim - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (4):1013-1029.
    The preface paradox can be motivated by appealing to a plausible inference from an author’s reasonable assertion that her book is bound to contain errors to the author’s rational belief that her book contains errors. By evaluating and undermining the validity of this inference, I offer a resolution of the paradox. Discussions of the preface paradox have surprisingly failed to note that expressions of fallibility made in prefaces typically employ terms such as surely, undoubtedly, and bound to be. After considering (...)
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  • Probabilities of Conditionals in Context.Justin Khoo - 2016 - Linguistics and Philosophy 39 (1):1-43.
    The Ramseyan thesis that the probability of an indicative conditional is equal to the corresponding conditional probability of its consequent given its antecedent is both widely confirmed and subject to attested counterexamples (e.g., McGee 2000, Kaufmann 2004). This raises several puzzling questions. For instance, why are there interpretations of conditionals that violate this Ramseyan thesis in certain contexts, and why are they otherwise very rare? In this paper, I raise some challenges to Stefan Kaufmann's account of why the Ramseyan thesis (...)
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  • 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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  • Critical Notice of Spandrels of Truth by J.C. Beall.C. S. Jenkins - 2010 - Philosophical Books 51 (4):245-254.
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  • 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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  • Being Positive About Negative Facts.Mark Jago & Stephen Barker - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1):117-138.
    Negative facts get a bad press. One reason for this is that it is not clear what negative facts are. We provide a theory of negative facts on which they are no stranger than positive atomic facts. We show that none of the usual arguments hold water against this account. Negative facts exist in the usual sense of existence and conform to an acceptable Eleatic principle. Furthermore, there are good reasons to want them around, including their roles in causation, chance-making (...)
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