A Contextualist Approach to Higher‐Order Vagueness

Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (3):372-392 (2016)
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According to contextualism about vagueness, the content of a vague predicate is context sensitive. On this view, when item a is in the penumbra of the vague predicate ‘F’, speakers may utter ‘Fa’, or they may utter ‘not-Fa’, without contravening the literal meaning of ‘F’. Unlike its more popular variants, the version of contextualism I defend rejects the principle of tolerance, a principle according to which small differences should not affect the applicability of a vague predicate. My goal is to show how such a rejection allows for a plausible treatment of higher-order vagueness, and for a dissolution of paradoxes of higher-order vagueness.



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Martin Montminy
University of Oklahoma

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References found in this work

Vagueness, Truth and Logic.Kit Fine - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):265-300.
Distinctions Without a Difference.Vann McGee & Brian McLaughlin - 1995 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 33 (S1):203-251.
Vague Objects.Michael Tye - 1990 - Mind 99:535.
Vagueness.Loretta Torrago - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (4):637.

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