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Cuts and CloudsVagueness, its Nature, & its Logic$
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Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570386.001.0001

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Agnosticism and Vagueness

Agnosticism and Vagueness

(p.165) 9 Agnosticism and Vagueness
Cuts and Clouds

Sven Rosenkranz

Oxford University Press

Epistemicism incorporates the thesis that vague discourse is governed by classical logic and bivalence. This classicist thesis has implications for the theory of reference. A natural response to the Sorites is that the classicist thesis should be rejected unless it is shown how those theoretical commitments can be redeemed. If this cannot be shown directly by appeal to the mechanisms of reference determination, epistemicism can only hope to be warranted indirectly by elimination of alternatives. Failure to achieve the former invites agnosticism about the existence of sharp boundaries. If such an agnosticism yields a coherent account of borderline cases and sustains a non-classical solution to the Sorites, this will also imply failure to achieve the latter. But then agnosticism about sharp boundaries is vindicated and epistemicism must be rejected. This chapter argues for this conclusion by devising an agnostic account of vagueness and by showing that epistemicism fails on both counts.

Keywords:   agnosticism, epistemicism, bivalence, reference, intuitionistic logic

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