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Theories of Vagueness

New York: Cambridge University Press (2000)

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  1. Policymaking under scientific uncertainty.Joe Roussos - 2020 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    Policymakers who seek to make scientifically informed decisions are constantly confronted by scientific uncertainty and expert disagreement. This thesis asks: how can policymakers rationally respond to expert disagreement and scientific uncertainty? This is a work of non-ideal theory, which applies formal philosophical tools developed by ideal theorists to more realistic cases of policymaking under scientific uncertainty. I start with Bayesian approaches to expert testimony and the problem of expert disagreement, arguing that two popular approaches— supra-Bayesianism and the standard model of (...)
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  • Imprecise Probability and Higher Order Vagueness.Susanne Rinard - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (2):257-273.
    There is a trade-off between specificity and accuracy in existing models of belief. Descriptions of agents in the tripartite model, which recognizes only three doxastic attitudes—belief, disbelief, and suspension of judgment—are typically accurate, but not sufficiently specific. The orthodox Bayesian model, which requires real-valued credences, is perfectly specific, but often inaccurate: we often lack precise credences. I argue, first, that a popular attempt to fix the Bayesian model by using sets of functions is also inaccurate, since it requires us to (...)
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  • The Ethics of Conceptualization: A Needs-Based Approach.Matthieu Queloz - forthcoming - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Philosophy strives to give us a firmer hold on our concepts. But what about their hold on us? Why place ourselves under the sway of a concept and grant it the authority to shape our thought and conduct? Another conceptualization would carry different implications. What makes one way of thinking better than another? This book develops a framework for concept appraisal. Its guiding idea is that to question the authority of concepts is to ask for reasons of a special kind: (...)
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  • Incommensurability and vagueness.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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  • Degree supervaluational logic.J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (1):130-149.
    Supervaluationism is often described as the most popular semantic treatment of indeterminacy. There’s little consensus, however, about how to fill out the bare-bones idea to include a characterization of logical consequence. The paper explores one methodology for choosing between the logics: pick a logic thatnorms beliefas classical consequence is standardly thought to do. The main focus of the paper considers a variant of standard supervaluational, on which we can characterizedegrees of determinacy. It applies the methodology above to focus ondegree logic. (...)
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  • Indeterminate truth.Patrick Greenough - 2008 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (1):213-241.
    In §2-4, I survey three extant ways of making sense of indeterminate truth and find each of them wanting. All the later sections of the paper are concerned with showing that the most promising way of making sense of indeterminate truth is via either a theory of truthmaker gaps or via a theory of truthmaking gaps. The first intimations of a truthmaker–truthmaking gap theory of indeterminacy are to be found in Quine (1981). In §5, we see how Quine proposes to (...)
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  • Vagueness.Roy Sorensen - 2012 - In Peter Adamson (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Sorites Paradox.Dominic Hyde & Diana Raffman - 2012 - In Peter Adamson (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Truth, Pretense and the Liar Paradox.Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge - 2015 - In T. Achourioti, H. Galinon, J. Martínez Fernández & K. Fujimoto (eds.), Unifying the Philosophy of Truth. Dordrecht: Imprint: Springer. pp. 339-354.
    In this paper we explain our pretense account of truth-talk and apply it in a diagnosis and treatment of the Liar Paradox. We begin by assuming that some form of deflationism is the correct approach to the topic of truth. We then briefly motivate the idea that all T-deflationists should endorse a fictionalist view of truth-talk, and, after distinguishing pretense-involving fictionalism (PIF) from error- theoretic fictionalism (ETF), explain the merits of the former over the latter. After presenting the basic framework (...)
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  • Incoherentism and the Sorites Paradox.Matti Eklund - 2019 - In Sergi Oms & Elia Zardini (eds.), The Sorites Paradox. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
  • Castles Built on Clouds: Vague Identity and Vague Objects.Benjamin L. Curtis & Harold W. Noonan - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer. pp. 305-326.
    Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...)
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  • Vagueness in the World: A Supervaluationist Approach.Ali Abasnezhad - 2014 - In Ken Akiba & Ali Abasnezhad (eds.), Vague Objects and Vague Identity: New Essays on Ontic Vagueness. Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    A naïve perspective on the world suggests that the world we live in is full of vague objects. In this chapter, a version of the supervaluationist framework will be proposed to provide a systematic conception of such a naïve perspective. Precisifications of a vague object will be characterized as objects that, were they actual objects, every determinate truth about the vague object would be true about them. It will be argued that this view is more effective than other versions of (...)
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  • Articulation and Liars.Sergi Oms - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (46):383-399.
    Jamie Tappenden was one of the first authors to entertain the possibility of a common treatment for the Liar and the Sorites paradoxes. In order to deal with these two paradoxes he proposed using the Strong Kleene semantic scheme. This strategy left unexplained our tendency to regard as true certain sentences which, according to this semantic scheme, should lack truth value. Tappenden tried to solve this problem by using a new speech act, articulation. Unlike assertion, which implies truth, articulation only (...)
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  • Reasoning With Attitude.Luca Incurvati & Julian J. Schlöder - 2023 - New York: Oxford University Press USA.
  • Non-transitive looks & fallibilism.Philippe Chuard - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):161 - 200.
    Fallibilists about looks deny that the relation of looking the same as is non-transitive. Regarding familiar examples of coloured patches suggesting that such a relation is non-transitive, they argue that, in fact, indiscriminable adjacent patches may well look different, despite their perceptual indiscriminability: it’s just that we cannot notice the relevant differences in the chromatic appearances of such patches. In this paper, I present an argument that fallibilism about looks requires commitment to an empirically false consequence. To succeed in deflecting (...)
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  • Truth and Falsehood: An Inquiry Into Generalized Logical Values.Yaroslav Shramko & Heinrich Wansing - 2011 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    The book presents a thoroughly elaborated logical theory of generalized truth-values understood as subsets of some established set of truth values. After elucidating the importance of the very notion of a truth value in logic and philosophy, we examine some possible ways of generalizing this notion. The useful four-valued logic of first-degree entailment by Nuel Belnap and the notion of a bilattice constitute the basis for further generalizations. By doing so we elaborate the idea of a multilattice, and most notably, (...)
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  • Handbook of Logical Thought in India.Sundar Sarukkai & Mihir Chakraborty (eds.) - 2018 - New Delhi, India: Springer.
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  • Unifying the Philosophy of Truth.Theodora Achourioti, Henri Galinon, José Martínez Fernández & Kentaro Fujimoto (eds.) - 2015 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer.
    This anthology of the very latest research on truth features the work of recognized luminaries in the field, put together following a rigorous refereeing process. Along with an introduction outlining the central issues in the field, it provides a unique and unrivaled view of contemporary work on the nature of truth, with papers selected from key conferences in 2011 such as Truth Be Told, Truth at Work, Paradoxes of Truth and Denotation and Axiomatic Theories of Truth. Studying the nature of (...)
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  • Vagueness as Arbitrariness: Outline of a Theory of Vagueness.Sagid Salles - 2021 - Springer.
    This book proposes a new solution to the problem of vagueness. There are several different ways of addressing this problem and no clear agreement on which one is correct. The author proposes that it should be understood as the problem of explaining vague predicates in a way that systematizes six intuitions about the phenomenon and satisfies three criteria of adequacy for an ideal theory of vagueness. The third criterion, which is called the “criterion of precisification”, is the most controversial one. (...)
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  • Vagueness and Causality.Akihiro Yoshimitsu - 2010 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 43 (2):95-109.
  • Supervaluationism and good reasoning.Timothy Williamson - 2018 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 33 (3):521-537.
    This paper is a tribute to Delia Graff Fara. It extends her work on failures of meta-rules for validity as truth-preservation under a supervaluationist identification of truth with supertruth. She showed that such failures occur even in languages without special vagueness-related operators, for standards of deductive reasoning as materially rather than purely logically good, depending on a context-dependent background. This paper extends her argument to: quantifier meta-rules like existential elimination; ambiguity; deliberately vague standard mathematical notation. Supervaluationist attempts to qualify the (...)
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  • 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 postulating (...)
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  • Generalized probabilism: Dutch books and accuracy domi- nation.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (5):811-840.
    Jeff Paris proves a generalized Dutch Book theorem. If a belief state is not a generalized probability then one faces ‘sure loss’ books of bets. In Williams I showed that Joyce’s accuracy-domination theorem applies to the same set of generalized probabilities. What is the relationship between these two results? This note shows that both results are easy corollaries of the core result that Paris appeals to in proving his dutch book theorem. We see that every point of accuracy-domination defines a (...)
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  • True, Truer, Truest.Brian Weatherson - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 123 (1):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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  • 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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  • Spacetime and Mereology.Andrew Virel Wake - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (1):17-35.
    Unrestricted Composition (UC) is, roughly, the claim that given any objects at all, there is something which those objects compose. (UC) conflicts in an obvious way with common sense. It has as a consequence, for instance, that there is something which has as parts my nose and the moon. One of the more influential arguments for (UC) is Theodore Sider’s version of the Argument from Vagueness. (A version of the Argument from Vagueness was first presented by David Lewis (1986), pp. (...)
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  • The vagueness of ‘vague’: Rejoinder to Hull.Achille C. Varzi - 2005 - Mind 114 (455):695-702.
    A rejoinder to G. Hull’s reply to my Mind 2003. Hull argues that Sorensen’s purported proof that ‘vague’ is vague--which I defended against certain familiar objections--fails. He offers three reasons: (i) the vagueness exhibited by Sorensen’s sorites is just the vagueness of ‘small’; (ii) the general assumption underlying the proof, to the effect that predicates which possess borderline cases are vague, is mistaken; (iii) the conclusion of the proof is unacceptable, for it is possible to create Sorensen-type sorites even for (...)
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  • Vagueness unlimited: In defence of a pragmatical approach to sorites paradoxes.Bart Van Kerkhove - 2003 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 11:251-276.
    As far as ‘modern’ logical theories of vagueness are concerned, a main distinction can be drawn between ‘semantical’ ones and ‘pragmatical’ ones. The latter are defended here, because they tend to retake into account important contextual dimensions of the problem abandoned by the former. Their inchoate condition seems not alarming, since they are of surprisingly recent date. This, however, could very well be an accidental explanation. That is, the true reason for it might sooner or later turn out to be (...)
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  • Vagueness-adaptive logic: A pragmatical approach to sorites paradoxes.Bart Van Kerkhove & Guido Vanackere - 2003 - Studia Logica 75 (3):383-411.
    This paper defends a pragmatical approach to vagueness. The vagueness-adaptive logic VAL is a good reconstruction of and an excellent, instrument for human reasoning processes in which vague predicates are involved. Apart from its proof-theory and semantics, a Sorites-treating model based on it is presented, disarming the paradox. The paper opens perspectives with respect to the construction of theories by means of vague predicates.
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  • Some Possibilities in Population Axiology.Teruji Thomas - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):807-832.
    It is notoriously difficult to find an intuitively satisfactory rule for evaluating populations based on the welfare of the people in them. Standard examples, like total utilitarianism, either entail the Repugnant Conclusion or in some other way contradict common intuitions about the relative value of populations. Several philosophers have presented formal arguments that seem to show that this happens of necessity: our core intuitions stand in contradiction. This paper assesses the state of play, focusing on the most powerful of these (...)
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  • Inderterminacy in Causation.Eric Swanson - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268):606-624.
    I argue that there are some causal relata for which it is indeterminate whether one caused the other. Positing indeterminacy in causation helps us defend contested principles in the logic of causation and makes possible new ways of thinking about the theoretical impact of symmetric causal overdetermination. I close by discussing amendments of current theories of causation that would help explain causal indeterminacy.
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  • A Rational Approach to Soft Rationality.Moti Suess - 2011 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 15 (2):349.
    A vagueza é comumente representada pela adoção de significados imprecisos na linguagem natural. Ela é analisada como um caso limítrofe e formalizada de diversas maneiras pelas suas teorias “clássicas”. Este trabalho propõe uma abordagem diferente do tema através da adoção do conceito de Racionalidade Soft ( Soft Rationality ), elaborado por Marcelo Dascal, e da sua interpretação como o uso da “semelhança” ao invés da “análise” para a compreensão dos termos da linguagem natural. Aqui será feita a sugestão de que (...)
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  • Plurivaluationism, supersententialism and the problem of the many languages.Rohan Sud - 2020 - Synthese 197 (4):1697-1723.
    According to the plurivaluationist, our vague discourse doesn’t have a single meaning. Instead, it has many meanings, each of which is precise—and it is this plurality of meanings that is the source of vagueness. I believe plurivaluationist positions are underdeveloped and for this reason unpopular. This paper attempts to correct this situation by offering a particular development of plurivaluationism that I call supersententialism. The supersententialist leverages lessons from another area of research—the Problem of the Many—in service of the plurivaluationist position. (...)
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  • Semivaluationism: Putting vagueness in context in context.Roy Sorensen - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):471–483.
  • Vagueness and blurry sets.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2004 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 33 (2):165-235.
    This paper presents a new theory of vagueness, which is designed to retain the virtues of the fuzzy theory, while avoiding the problem of higher-order vagueness. The theory presented here accommodates the idea that for any statement S₁ to the effect that 'Bob is bald' is x true, for x in [0, 1], there should be a further statement S₂ which tells us how true S₁ is, and so on - that is, it accommodates higher-order vagueness without resorting to the (...)
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  • Undead argument: the truth-functionality objection to fuzzy theories of vagueness.Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3761–3787.
    From Fine and Kamp in the 70’s—through Osherson and Smith in the 80’s, Williamson, Kamp and Partee in the 90’s and Keefe in the 00’s—up to Sauerland in the present decade, the objection continues to be run that fuzzy logic based theories of vagueness are incompatible with ordinary usage of compound propositions in the presence of borderline cases. These arguments against fuzzy theories have been rebutted several times but evidently not put to rest. I attempt to do so in this (...)
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  • Theories of vagueness and theories of law.Alex Silk - 2019 - Legal Theory 25 (2):132-152.
    It is common to think that what theory of linguistic vagueness is correct has implications for debates in philosophy of law. I disagree. I argue that the implications of particular theories of vagueness on substantive issues of legal theory and practice are less far-reaching than often thought. I focus on four putative implications discussed in the literature concerning (i) the value of vagueness in the law, (ii) the possibility and value of legal indeterminacy, (iii) the possibility of the rule of (...)
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  • Reasoning with Slippery Predicates.Stewart Shapiro - 2008 - Studia Logica 90 (3):313-336.
    It is a commonplace that the extensions of most, perhaps all, vague predicates vary with such features as comparison class and paradigm and contrasting cases. My view proposes another, more pervasive contextual parameter. Vague predicates exhibit what I call open texture: in some circumstances, competent speakers can go either way in the borderline region. The shifting extension and anti-extensions of vague predicates are tracked by what David Lewis calls the “conversational score”, and are regulated by what Kit Fine calls penumbral (...)
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  • Contextualism about vagueness and higher-order vagueness.Patrick Greenough - 2005 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):167–190.
    To get to grips with what Shapiro does and can say about higher-order vagueness, it is first necessary to thoroughly review and evaluate his conception of (first-order) vagueness, a conception which is both rich and suggestive but, as it turns out, not so easy to stabilise. In Sections I–IV, his basic position on vagueness (see Shapiro [2003]) is outlined and assessed. As we go along, I offer some suggestions for improvement. In Sections V–VI, I review two key paradoxes of higher-order (...)
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  • Vagueness, Logic and Use: Four Experimental Studies on Vagueness.Phil Serchuk, Ian Hargreaves & Richard Zach - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (5):540-573.
    Although arguments for and against competing theories of vagueness often appeal to claims about the use of vague predicates by ordinary speakers, such claims are rarely tested. An exception is Bonini et al. (1999), who report empirical results on the use of vague predicates by Italian speakers, and take the results to count in favor of epistemicism. Yet several methodological difficulties mar their experiments; we outline these problems and devise revised experiments that do not show the same results. We then (...)
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  • Ser de Uma Maneira sem Ser Claramente dessa Maneira: um Problema para o Supervalorativismo.Ricardo Santos - 2012 - Disputatio 4 (34):823-849.
    Title in English: "Being a certain way without being definitely that way: a problem for supervaluationism". I argue that the supervaluationist theory of vagueness, in its most common version, is committed to a thesis – viz., the incompatibility between being-F and not-being-definitely-F – which is doubtful, unjustified and in conflict with the definition of super-truth as truth in all admissible precisifications of a vague language.
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  • Creating the Umwelt: From Chance to Choice.S. N. Salthe - 2014 - Biosemiotics 7 (3):351-359.
    Individual semiotic systems interpreting their environment are not well understood from the externalist approach typical of the scientific method. Science constructs probabilities describing large populations of systems, not individuals. The Umwelt, as the individually experienced/created aspects of the habitat aspect of its population’s ecological niche, is given an internalist understanding within the framework of the compositional hierarchy. Vagueness is an important aspect of the internalist condition. It is selectively reduced momentarily by creative choices that can have a Peircean semiotic formulation, (...)
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  • A hierarchical framework for levels of reality: Understanding through representation. [REVIEW]Stanley N. Salthe - 2009 - Axiomathes 19 (1):87-99.
    Levels of reality reflect one kind of complexity, which can be modeled using a specification hierarchy. Levels emerged during the Big Bang, as physical degrees of freedom became increasingly fixed as the expanding universe developed, and new degrees of freedom associated with higher levels opened up locally, requiring new descriptive semantics. History became embodied in higher level entities, which are increasingly individuated, aggregate patterns of lower level entities. Development is an epigenetic trajectory from vaguer to more definite and individuated embodiment, (...)
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  • Qualitative Grounds.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):309-348.
    Suppose that all non-qualitative facts are grounded in qualitative facts. I argue that this view naturally comes with a picture in which trans-world identity is indeterminate. But this in turn leads to either pervasive indeterminacy in the non-qualitative, or else contingency in what facts about modality and possible worlds are determinate.
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  • Supervaluational propositional content.Benjamin Rohrs - 2017 - Synthese 194 (6).
    It’s not clear what supervaluationists should say about propositional content. Does a vague sentence, e.g., ‘Harry is bald’, express one proposition, or a barrage of propositions, or none at all? Or is the matter indeterminate? The supervaluationist canon is not decisive on the issue; authoritative passages can be cited in favor of each of the proposals just mentioned. Furthermore, some detractors have argued that supervaluationism is incapable of providing any coherent account of propositional content. This paper considers each of the (...)
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  • What is the problem of universals?Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2000 - Mind 109 (434):255-273.
    In this article I address the Problem of Universals by answering questions about what facts a solution to the Problem of Universals should explain and how the explanation should go. I argue that a solution to the Problem of Universals explains the facts the Problem of Universals is about by giving the truthmakers (as opposed to the conceptual content and the ontological commitments) of the sentences stating those facts. I argue that the sentences stating the relevant facts are those like (...)
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  • Borderline cases and bivalence.Diana Raffman - 2005 - Philosophical Review 114 (1):1-31.
    It is generally agreed that vague predicates like ‘red’, ‘rich’, ‘tall’, and ‘bald’, have borderline cases of application. For instance, a cloth patch whose color lies midway between a definite red and a definite orange is a borderline case for ‘red’, and an American man five feet eleven inches in height is (arguably) a borderline case for ‘tall’. The proper analysis of borderline cases is a matter of dispute, but most theorists of vagueness agree at least in the thought that (...)
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  • From values to probabilities.Wlodek Rabinowicz - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):3901-3929.
    According to the fitting-attitude analysis of value , to be valuable is to be a fitting object of a pro-attitude. In earlier publications, setting off from this format of analysis, I proposed a modelling of value relations which makes room for incommensurability in value. In this paper, I first recapitulate the value modelling and then move on to suggest adopting a structurally similar analysis of probability. Indeed, many probability theorists from Poisson onwards did adopt an analysis of this kind. This (...)
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  • ‘Incommensurability’ and Vagueness: Is the Vagueness View Defensible? [REVIEW]Mozaffar Qizilbash - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (1):141-153.
    The vagueness view holds that when evaluative comparisons are hard, there is indeterminacy about which comparative relation holds. It is sceptical about whether there are any incommensurate items (in some domain). The sceptical element of John Broome’s version of this view rests on a controversial principle. Robert Sugden advances a similar view which does not depend on this principle. Sugden’s argument fails as a vagueness view because it assumes rather than shows that there are no incommensurate items (in some domain). (...)
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  • Spectrum arguments and hypersensitivity.Theron Pummer - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (7):1729-1744.
    Larry Temkin famously argues that what he calls spectrum arguments yield strong reason to reject Transitivity, according to which the ‘all-things-considered better than’ relation is transitive. Spectrum arguments do reveal that the conjunctions of independently plausible claims are inconsistent with Transitivity. But I argue that there is very strong independent reason to reject such conjunctions of claims, and thus that the fact that they are inconsistent with Transitivity does not yield strong reason to reject Transitivity.
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