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Voting and vagueness


Chase, JK, Voting and vagueness, Synthese: an international journal for epistemology, methodology and philosophy of science, 193 pp. 2453-2468. ISSN 0039-7857 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11229-015-0859-1


Howto handle vagueness? Oneway is to introduce the machinery of acceptable sharpenings, and reinterpret truth as truth-in-all-sharpenings (supervaluationism) or truth-in-some-sharpenings (subvaluationism). A major selling point has been the conservativism of the resulting systems with respect to classical theoremhood and inference. Supervaluationism and subvaluationism possess interesting formal symmetries, a fact that has been used to argue for the subvaluationist approach. However, the philosophical motivation behind each is a different matter. Subvaluationism comes with a standard story (due to Stanislaw Ja´skowski) that is difficult to sign up to. In this paper, I make use of a variant of Putnam’s well-known idea of linguistic deference, and some results in voting theory, to answer this criticism of subvaluationism. The acceptability intuitions of each member of a linguistic community amount to their voting for one or more acceptable sharpenings, with truth then characterised as truth-in-a- (contextually-determined)-sufficiency-of-sharpenings. This produces a family of logical systems that are close relations of subvaluationism, share its conservatism results, yet have stronger philosophical foundations in the workings of externalist content.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Vagueness · Subvaluationism · Externalism · Deference
Research Division:Philosophy and Religious Studies
Research Group:Philosophy
Research Field:Logic
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
UTAS Author:Chase, JK (Associate Professor James Chase)
ID Code:103140
Year Published:2016 (online first 2015)
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2015-09-22
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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