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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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Vagueness as Indeterminacy

Vagueness as Indeterminacy

(p.77) 4 Vagueness as Indeterminacy
Cuts and Clouds

Brian Weatherson

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that a term is vague if it is indeterminate. As a special case of this, it argues that a predicate is vague if it has borderline cases. This was until recently the standard account of vagueness, but it has become quickly unpopular. A common objection has been that indeterminate terms with clearly demarcated boundaries of indeterminacy are not vague, and that it is better to identify vagueness in predicates with some kind of Sorites-sensitivity. Proposals of how to do this have been offered by Matti Eklund, Patrick Greenough, and Nicholas J. J. Smith. The chapter argues that this was a step backwards for several reasons. Some vague predicates are not Sorites-sensitive. And non-predicates are not Sorites-sensitive, although they can be vague. Moreover, if we have an epistemic understanding of the Sorites, then we will end up classifying some non-vague terms as vague, unless we assume that speakers know much more about the metaphysics underlying their language than they actually do.

Keywords:   Vagueness, Indeterminacy, Sorites, Borderline Case, Matti Eklund, Patrick Greenough

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