Philosophy 290-2

Spring 2020

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-2 Seminar: Vagueness MacFarlane W 2-4 Moses 234

We will consider some of the philosophical issues raised by vagueness. Much of the voluminous literature on vagueness focuses on its implications for logic and formal semantics. We will focus instead on issues in the philosophy of language and epistemology. (1) How do we communicate using vague language? In what does our shared grasp of the meanings of vague words consist? Does the fuzziness, fluidity, or context sensitivity of vague language pose a problem for standard accounts of communication? (2) What distinguishes vague thoughts from precise ones? How should we describe our attitudes of ambivalence towards borderline propositions? If it is a kind of partial belief, what kind? What sort of decision theory makes sense in the presence of vagueness?