In Giuseppina Ronzitti (ed.), Vagueness: A Guide. Springer Verlag. pp. 171--191 (2011)

Authors
Timothy Endicott
Oxford University
Abstract
The author argues that vagueness in law is typically extravagant, in the sense that it is possible for two competent users of the language, who understand the facts of each case, to take such different views that there is not even any overlap between the cases that each disputant would identify as borderline. Extravagant vagueness is a necessary feature of legal systems. Some philosophers of law and philosophers of language claim that bivalence is a property of statements in the domains that concern them (the domain of law in the former case, the whole domain of meaningful discourse in the latter). The author argues that the bivalence claim should be rejected. In philosophy of law, the motivation underlying the bivalence claim is an urge to assert the principle that the law must be capable of standing against arbitrary use of political power. The challenge – once the bivalence claim is rejected – is to articulate the law's opposition to arbitrariness in a way that is compatible with the possibility of indeterminacy in the application of vague laws.
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