Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln (2020)

Zack Garrett
University of Nebraska, Lincoln (PhD)
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 of accommodating metaphysical vagueness. As I move into my positive theory, I first argue for the possibility of metaphysical vagueness and respond to objections that charge that the world cannot be vague. One of these objections is Gareth Evans' much-disputed argument that vague identities are impossible. I then describe what I call the logic of states of affairs. The logic of states of affairs has as its atomic elements states of affairs that can obtain, unobtain, or be indeterminate. Finally, I argue that the logic of states of affairs is a better choice for a theory of vagueness than other logics that could accommodate metaphysical vagueness such as supervaluationism and degree theories. Preference should be given to the logic of states of affairs because it provides a better explanation of higher-order vagueness and does a better job of matching our ordinary understandings of logical operators than supervaluationism does and because it provides a more general account of indeterminacy than the account given by degree theories. Advisor: Reina Hayaki.
Keywords vagueness  philosophy of language  philosophy of logic  states of affairs
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Necessity.Alvin Plantinga - 1974 - Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
Vagueness, Truth and Logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
Ordinary Objects.Amie L. Thomasson (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Can There Be Vague Objects?Gareth Evans - 1978 - Analysis 38 (4):208.
Vagueness and Contradiction.Roy A. Sorensen - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

View all 42 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Metaphysical Vagueness Without Vague Objects.Ali Abasnezhad & C. S. I. Jenkins - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):278-283.
Vagueness & Modality—An Ecumenical Approach.Jon Erling Litland & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):229-269.
Degrees of Belief, Expected and Actual.Rosanna Keefe - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3789-3800.
Theories of Vagueness.Rosanna Keefe - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
Varieties of Vagueness.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1):145-157.
True, Truer, Truest.Brian Weatherson - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2):47-70.
Russell on Metaphysical Vagueness.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Principia 5 (1-2):87-98.
Robust Vagueness and the Forced-March Sorites Paradox.Terence Horgan - 1994 - Philosophical Perspectives 8:159-188.
I—Columnar Higher-Order Vagueness, or Vagueness is Higher-Order Vagueness.Susanne Bobzien - 2015 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 89 (1):61-87.


Added to PP index

Total views
100 ( #116,792 of 2,505,782 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
31 ( #28,947 of 2,505,782 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes