Supervaluationism, vagueifiers, and semantic overdetermination

Dialectica 55 (4):363–378 (2001)
Supervaluationism, traditionally conceived, is the conjunction of three theses: Vagueness in a language gives rise to there being a multitude of acceptable assignments of semantic values to some expressions of the language, These assignments correspond to possible completions of the meanings of vague expressions, Truth is truth under all acceptable assignments, and falsity is falsity under all acceptable assignments. Supervaluationism has three chief virtues. It preserves classical logic. It provides an account of what vagueness is . And it extends nicely to the vagueness of singular terms. I argue, however, that the existence of vagueifiers ‐ expressions like‘roughly’– pose problems for thesis of Supervaluationism, and that the supervaluationist can get around these problems only at a serious cost. Toward the end of the paper, I present an alternative analysis of vagueness, which preserves the main virtues of Supervaluationism, but which identifies vagueness as semantic Overdetermination, rather than as semantic underdetermination
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DOI 10.1111/j.1746-8361.2001.tb00225.x
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David Lewis (1970). How to Define Theoretical Terms. Journal of Philosophy 67 (13):427-446.
David Lewis (1970). General Semantics. Synthese 22 (1-2):18--67.

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