Results for 'Vagueness'

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  1. Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1994 - London and New York: Routledge.
    Vagueness provides the first comprehensive examination of a topic of increasing importance in metaphysics and the philosophy of logic and language. Timothy Williamson traces the history of this philosophical problem from discussions of the heap paradox in classical Greece to modern formal approaches such as fuzzy logic. He illustrates the problems with views which have taken the position that standard logic and formal semantics do not apply to vague language, and defends the controversial realistic view that vagueness is (...)
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  2. Vagueness and Degrees of Truth.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2008 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    In VAGUENESS AND DEGREES OF TRUTH, Nicholas Smith develops a new theory of vagueness: fuzzy plurivaluationism. -/- A predicate is said to be VAGUE if there is no sharply defined boundary between the things to which it applies and the things to which it does not apply. For example, 'heavy' is vague in a way that 'weighs over 20 kilograms' is not. A great many predicates -- both in everyday talk, and in a wide array of theoretical vocabularies, (...)
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  3. Vagueness, Truth and Logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
    This paper deals with the truth-Conditions and the logic for vague languages. The use of supervaluations and of classical logic is defended; and other approaches are criticized. The truth-Conditions are extended to a language that contains a definitely-Operator and that is subject to higher order vagueness.
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  4. 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 (...)
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  5. Vagueness and Contradiction.Roy A. Sorensen - 2001 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Roy Sorenson offers a unique exploration of an ancient problem: vagueness. Did Buddha become a fat man in one second? Is there a tallest short giraffe? According to Sorenson's epistemicist approach, the answers are yes! Although vagueness abounds in the way the world is divided, Sorenson argues that the divisions are sharp; yet we often do not know where they are. Written in Sorenson'e usual inventive and amusing style, this book offers original insight on language and logic, the (...)
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  6. Vagueness in Context.Stewart Shapiro - 2006 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Stewart Shapiro's ambition in Vagueness in Context is to develop a comprehensive account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary according to their context: a person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall (even short) with respect to professional basketball players. The key feature of Shapiro's account is that the extensions of vague (...)
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  7. Vagueness: A Reader.Rosanna Keefe & Peter Smith (eds.) - 1996 - MIT Press.
    Vagueness is currently the subject of vigorous debate in the philosophy of logic and language. Vague terms -- such as 'tall', 'red', 'bald', and 'tadpole' -- have borderline cases ; and they lack well-defined extensions. The phenomenon of vagueness poses a fundamental challenge to classical logic and semantics, which assumes that propositions are either true or false and that extensions are determinate.This anthology collects for the first time the most important papers in the field. After a substantial introduction (...)
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    Vagueness and Thought.Andrew Bacon - 2018 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    Vagueness is the study of concepts that admit borderline cases. The epistemology of vagueness concerns attitudes we should have towards propositions we know to be borderline. On this basis Andrew Bacon develops a new theory of vagueness in which vagueness is fundamentally a property of propositions, explicated in terms of its role in thought.
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  9. Vagueness, Tolerance and Contextual Logic.Haim Gaifman - 2010 - Synthese 174 (1):5 - 46.
    The goal of this paper is a comprehensive analysis of basic reasoning patterns that are characteristic of vague predicates. The analysis leads to rigorous reconstructions of the phenomena within formal systems. Two basic features are dealt with. One is tolerance: the insensitivity of predicates to small changes in the objects of predication (a one-increment of a walking distance is a walking distance). The other is the existence of borderline cases. The paper shows why these should be treated as different, though (...)
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  10. Moral Vagueness Is Ontic Vagueness.Miriam Schoenfield - 2016 - Ethics 126 (2):257-282.
    The aim of this essay is to argue that, if a robust form of moral realism is true, then moral vagueness is ontic vagueness. The argument is by elimination: I show that neither semantic nor epistemic approaches to moral vagueness are satisfactory.
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  11.  78
    Adjectival Vagueness in a Bayesian Model of Interpretation.Daniel Lassiter & Noah D. Goodman - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3801-3836.
    We derive a probabilistic account of the vagueness and context-sensitivity of scalar adjectives from a Bayesian approach to communication and interpretation. We describe an iterated-reasoning architecture for pragmatic interpretation and illustrate it with a simple scalar implicature example. We then show how to enrich the apparatus to handle pragmatic reasoning about the values of free variables, explore its predictions about the interpretation of scalar adjectives, and show how this model implements Edgington’s Vagueness: a reader, 1997) account of the (...)
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  12.  72
    Metaphysical Vagueness Without Vague Objects.Ali Abasnezhad & C. S. I. Jenkins - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4):278-283.
    Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams have developed a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy, via which they defend the theoretical legitimacy of vague objects. In this paper, we argue that while the Barnes–Williams theory supplies a viable account of genuine metaphysical vagueness, it cannot underwrite an account of genuinely vague objects. First we clarify the distinction between these two key theses. Then we argue that the Barnes–Williams theory of metaphysical vagueness not only fails to deliver genuinely vague objects, it in (...)
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  13. Vagueness and Existence.Katherine Hawley - 2002 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 102 (1):125-140.
    Vague existence can seem like the worst kind of vagueness in the world, or seem to be an entirely unintelligible notion. This bad reputation is based upon the rumour that if there is vague existence then there are non-existent objects. But the rumour is false: the modest brand of vague existence entailed by certain metaphysical theories of composition does not deserve its bad reputation.
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  14. Moral Vagueness: A Dilemma for Non-Naturalism.Cristian Constantinescu - 2014 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume 9. Oxford University Press. pp. 152-185.
    In this paper I explore the implications of moral vagueness (viz., the vagueness of moral predicates) for non-naturalist metaethical theories like those recently championed by Shafer-Landau, Parfit, and others. I characterise non-naturalism in terms of its commitment to 7 theses: Cognitivism, Correspondence, Atomism, Objectivism, Supervenience, Non-reductivism, and Rationalism. I start by offering a number of reasons for thinking that moral predicates are vague in the same way in which ‘red’, ‘tall’, and ‘heap’ are said to be. I then (...)
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  15. 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 (...)
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  16.  39
    Vagueness in Context.Stewart Shapiro - 2006 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press UK.
    Stewart Shapiro's aim in Vagueness in Context is to develop both a philosophical and a formal, model-theoretic account of the meaning, function, and logic of vague terms in an idealized version of a natural language like English. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary with such contextual factors as the comparison class and paradigm cases. A person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall with respect to professional basketball players. The main (...)
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  17. Vague Credence.Aidan Lyon - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3931-3954.
    It is natural to think of precise probabilities as being special cases of imprecise probabilities, the special case being when one’s lower and upper probabilities are equal. I argue, however, that it is better to think of the two models as representing two different aspects of our credences, which are often vague to some degree. I show that by combining the two models into one model, and understanding that model as a model of vague credence, a natural interpretation arises that (...)
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  18. Vagueness: A Conceptual Spaces Approach.Igor Douven, Lieven Decock, Richard Dietz & Paul Égré - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 42 (1):137-160.
    The conceptual spaces approach has recently emerged as a novel account of concepts. Its guiding idea is that concepts can be represented geometrically, by means of metrical spaces. While it is generally recognized that many of our concepts are vague, the question of how to model vagueness in the conceptual spaces approach has not been addressed so far, even though the answer is far from straightforward. The present paper aims to fill this lacuna.
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  19.  80
    Vague Existence.Alessandro Torza - 2017 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10.
    Ted Sider has famously argued that existence, in the unrestricted sense of ontology, cannot be vague, as long as vagueness is modeled by means of precisifications. The first section of Chapter 9 exposes some controversial assumptions underlying Sider’s alleged reductio of vague existence. The upshot of the discussion is that, although existence cannot be vague, it can be super-vague, i.e. higher-order vague, for all orders. The second section develops and defends a novel framework, dubbed negative supervaluationary semantics, which makes (...)
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  20. Vague Composition Without Vague Existence.Chad Carmichael - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):315-327.
    David Lewis (1986) criticizes moderate views of composition on the grounds that a restriction on composition must be vague, and vague composition leads, via a precisificational theory of vagueness, to an absurd vagueness of existence. I show how to resist this argument. Unlike the usual resistance, however, I do not jettison precisificational views of vagueness. Instead, I blur the connection between composition and existence that Lewis assumes. On the resulting view, in troublesome cases of vague composition, there (...)
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  21.  58
    Vagueness.Loretta Torrago - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):637.
    Consider an object or property a and the predicate F. Then a is vague if there are questions of the form: Is a F? that have no yes-or-no answers. In brief, vague properties and kinds have borderline instances and composite objects have borderline constituents. I'll use the expression "borderline cases" as a covering term for both. ;Having borderline cases is compatible with precision so long as every case is either borderline F, determinately F or determinately not F. Thus, in addition (...)
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  22. Vague Comparisons.Cristian Constantinescu - 2016 - Ratio 29 (4):357-377.
    Some comparisons are hard. How should we think about such comparisons? According to John Broome, we should think about them in terms of vagueness. But the vagueness account has remained unpopular thus far. Here I try to bolster it by clarifying the notion of comparative vagueness that lies at its heart.
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  23. Vague Projects and the Puzzle of the Self-Torturer.Sergio Tenenbaum & Diana Raffman - 2012 - Ethics 123 (1):86-112.
    In this paper we advance a new solution to Quinn’s puzzle of the self-torturer. The solution falls directly out of an application of the principle of instrumental reasoning to what we call “vague projects”, i.e., projects whose completion does not occur at any particular or definite point or moment. The resulting treatment of the puzzle extends our understanding of instrumental rationality to projects and ends that cannot be accommodated by orthodox theories of rational choice.
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  24. Vagueness: Subvaluationism.Pablo Cobreros - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):472-485.
    Supervaluationism is a well known theory of vagueness. Subvaluationism is a less well known theory of vagueness. But these theories cannot be taken apart, for they are in a relation of duality that can be made precise. This paper provides an introduction to the subvaluationist theory of vagueness in connection to its dual, supervaluationism. A survey on the supervaluationist theory can be found in the Compass paper of Keefe (2008); our presentation of the theory in this paper (...)
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  25. Vague identity: Evans misunderstood.David K. Lewis - 1988 - Analysis 48 (3):128.
    In his note "can there be vague objects?" ("analysis", 1978), Gareth evans presents a purported proof that there can be no vague identity statements. Some readers think that evans endorses the proof and its false conclusion. Not so. His point is that those who put vagueness in the world, Rather than in language, Will have no way to fault the proof and no way to escape the false conclusion.
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  26. Vagueness: A Minimal Theory.Patrick Greenough - 2003 - Mind 112 (446):235-281.
    Vagueness is given a philosophically neutral definition in terms of an epistemic notion of tolerance. Such a notion is intended to capture the thesis that vague terms draw no known boundary across their range of signification and contrasts sharply with the semantic notion of tolerance given by Wright (1975, 1976). This allows us to distinguish vagueness from superficially similar but distinct phenomena such as semantic incompleteness. Two proofs are given which show that vagueness qua epistemic tolerance and (...)
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  27. Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for (...)
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  28.  3
    Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1995 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 46 (4):589-601.
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  29. Vague, So Untrue.David Braun & Theodore Sider - 2007 - Noûs 41 (2):133 - 156.
    According to an old and attractive view, vagueness must be eliminated before semantic notions — truth, implication, and so on — may be applied. This view was accepted by Frege, but is rarely defended nowadays.1 This..
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  30. Inclosures, Vagueness, and Self-Reference.Graham Priest - 2010 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (1):69-84.
    In this paper, I start by showing that sorites paradoxes are inclosure paradoxes. That is, they fit the Inclosure Scheme which characterizes the paradoxes of self-reference. Given that sorites and self-referential paradoxes are of the same kind, they should have the same kind of solution. The rest of the paper investigates what a dialetheic solution to sorites paradoxes is like, connections with a dialetheic solution to the self-referential paradoxes, and related issues—especially so called "higher order" vagueness.
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  31. Theories of Vagueness.Rosanna Keefe - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
    Most expressions in natural language are vague. But what is the best semantic treatment of terms like 'heap', 'red' and 'child'? And what is the logic of arguments involving this kind of vague expression? These questions are receiving increasing philosophical attention, and in this book, first published in 2000, Rosanna Keefe explores the questions of what we should want from an account of vagueness and how we should assess rival theories. Her discussion ranges widely and comprehensively over the main (...)
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    Truth, Vagueness, and Paradox: An Essay on the Logic of Truth.Vann McGee - 1990 - Indianapolis, IN, USA: Hackett.
    Awarded the 1988 Johnsonian Prize in Philosophy. Published with the aid of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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  33. 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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  34. Vagueness in Law.Timothy Endicott - 2000 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Vagueness leads to indeterminacies in the application of the law in many cases. This book responds to the challenges that those indeterminacies pose to a theory of law and adjudication. The book puts controversies in legal theory in a new light, using arguments in the philosophy of language to offer an explanation of the unclarities that arise in borderline cases for the application of vague expressions. But the author also argues that vagueness is a feature of law, and (...)
     
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  35.  17
    Vagueness.Timothy Williamson - 1997 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (4):921-928.
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    Moral Vagueness: A Dilemma for Non-Naturalism.Cristian Constantinescu - 2014 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9.
    This chapter explores the implications of moral vagueness for non-naturalist metaethical theories like those recently championed by Shafer-Landau, Parfit, and others. It characterizes non-naturalism in terms of its commitment to seven theses: Cognitivism, Correspondence, Atomism, Objectivism, Supervenience, Non-reductivism, and Rationalism. It starts by offering a number of reasons for thinking that moral predicates are vague in the same way in which “red,” “tall,” and “heap” are said to be. It then argues that the moral non-naturalist seeking to countenance moral (...)
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  37.  34
    Relativism, Vagueness and What is Said.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2008 - In G. Carpintero & M. Koelbel (eds.), Relative Truth. Oxford University Press. pp. 129.
    John MacFarlane has formulated a version of truth-relativism, and argued for its application in some cases – future contingents, knowledge attributions and epistemic modals among them. Mark Richard also defends a version of relativism, which he applies to vagueness-inducing features of the semantics of gradable adjectives. On MacFarlane’s and Richard’s characterization, truth-relativist claims posit a distinctive kind of context-dependence, the dependence of the evaluation of an assertion as true or otherwise on aspects of the context of the evaluation itself (...)
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  38. Vagueness.William P. Alston - 1967 - In Paul Edwards (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan. pp. 218--221.
  39. Vagueness & Modality—An Ecumenical Approach.Jon Erling Litland & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):229-269.
    How does vagueness interact with metaphysical modality and with restrictions of it, such as nomological modality? In particular, how do definiteness, necessity (understood as restricted in some way or not), and actuality interact? This paper proposes a model-theoretic framework for investigating the logic and semantics of that interaction. The framework is put forward in an ecumenical spirit: it is intended to be applicable to all theories of vagueness that express vagueness using a definiteness (or: determinacy) operator. We (...)
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  40. Vagueness and Zombies: Why ‘Phenomenally Conscious’ has No Borderline Cases.Jonathan A. Simon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):2105-2123.
    I argue that there can be no such thing as a borderline case of the predicate ‘phenomenally conscious’: for any given creature at any given time, it cannot be vague whether that creature is phenomenally conscious at that time. I first defend the Positive Characterization Thesis, which says that for any borderline case of any predicate there is a positive characterization of that case that can show any sufficiently competent speaker what makes it a borderline case. I then appeal to (...)
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  41.  88
    Vagueness, Truth and Permissive Consequence.Pablo Cobreros, Paul Egré, David Ripley & Robert van Rooij - 2015 - In Kentaro Fujimoto, José Martínez Fernández, Henri Galinon & Theodora Achourioti (eds.), Unifying the Philosophy of Truth. Springer Verlag. pp. 409-430.
    We say that a sentence A is a permissive consequence of a set X of premises whenever, if all the premises of X hold up to some standard, then A holds to some weaker standard. In this paper, we focus on a three-valued version of this notion, which we call strict-to-tolerant consequence, and discuss its fruitfulness toward a unified treatment of the paradoxes of vagueness and self-referential truth. For vagueness, st-consequence supports the principle of tolerance; for truth, it (...)
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  42. Vagueness by Degrees.Dorothy Edgington - 1997 - In Rosanna Keefe & Peter Smith (eds.), Vagueness: A Reader. MIT Press.
    Book synopsis: Vagueness is currently the subject of vigorous debate in the philosophy of logic and language. Vague terms-such as "tall", "red", "bald", and "tadpole"—have borderline cases ; and they lack well-defined extensions. The phenomenon of vagueness poses a fundamental challenge to classical logic and semantics, which assumes that propositions are either true or false and that extensions are determinate. Another striking problem to which vagueness gives rise is the sorites paradox. If you remove one grain from (...)
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  43. Against Vague Existence.Theodore Sider - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 114 (1-2):135 - 146.
    In my book Four-dimensionalism (chapter 4, section 9), I argued that fourdimensionalism – the doctrine of temporal parts – follows from several other premises, chief among which is the premise that existence is never vague. Kathrin Koslicki (preceding article) claims that the argument fails since its crucial premise is unsupported, and is dialectically inappropriate to assume in the context of arguing for four-dimensionalism. Since the relationship between four-dimensionalism and the non-vagueness of existence is not perfectly transparent, I think the (...)
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  44. Vagueness.Delia Graff & Timothy Williamson (eds.) - 1994 - London and New York: Ashgate.
    If you’ve read the first five hundred pages of this book, you’ve read most of it (we assume that ‘most’ requires more than ‘more than half’). The set of natural numbers n such that the first n pages are most of this book is nonempty. Therefore, by the least number principle, it has a least member k. What is k? We do not know. We have no idea how to find out. The obstacle is something about the term ‘most’. It (...)
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  45. Supervenience, Vagueness, and Determination.Brian P. McLaughlin - 1997 - Philosophical Perspectives 11:209-30.
    The paper is divided into two parts, each with subsections. In the first part, I shall discuss some matters that have been extensively examined by Kim, namely what the basic types of supervenience are and how they are pairwise logically related; in the course of this discussion, I shall distinguish a weak from a strong notion of global supervenience. In the second part, I shall examine supervenience in a context in which Kim has not: I shall attempt to solve a (...)
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    Vagueness as Indecision.John MacFarlane - 2016 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1):255-283.
    This paper motivates and explores an expressivist theory of vagueness, modelled on Allan Gibbard’s normative expressivism. It shows how Chris Kennedy’s semantics for gradable adjectives can be adjusted to fit into a theory on Gibbardian lines, where assertions constrain not just possible worlds but plans for action. Vagueness, on this account, is literally indecision about where to draw lines. It is argued that the distinctive phenomena of vagueness, such as the intuition of tolerance, can be explained in (...)
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    Vagueness: A Global Approach.Kit Fine - 2020 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book is about the problem of vagueness. It begins by discussing some of the existing views on vagueness and then explains why they have not been thought to be satisfactory. It then outlines a new account of vagueness, based on the general idea that vagueness is a global rather than a local phenomenon. In other words, the vagueness of an expression or object is not an intrinsic feature of the object or an expression but (...)
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    Vagueness: A Global Approach, by Kit Fine. [REVIEW]Chad Carmichael - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (3):594-595.
    A review of Kit Fine's book, Vagueness: A Global Approach.
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  49. Vagueness as Closeness.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (2):157 – 183.
    This paper presents and defends a definition of vagueness, compares it favourably with alternative definitions, and draws out some consequences of accepting this definition for the project of offering a substantive theory of vagueness. The definition is roughly this: a predicate 'F' is vague just in case for any objects a and b, if a and b are very close in respects relevant to the possession of F, then 'Fa' and 'Fb' are very close in respect of truth. (...)
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  50. 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 (...)
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