Epistemicism and the problem of arbitrariness for vagueness

Kyle, C. D. (2012) Epistemicism and the problem of arbitrariness for vagueness. Dialogue, 55(1), pp. 54-64.

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Abstract

This paper evaluates the ability of epistemicism to solve problems of vagueness and argues that it cannot account for the existence of precise definitions that elude our knowledge. After recounting the historical formulation of the sorites paradox, I argue that the central difficulty in vagueness is the danger of arbitrariness. The epistemological and metaphysical aspects of arbitrariness are separated, and epistemicism is evaluated by its ability to resolve the tension of each. Though it initially appears that epistemicism may run into epistemological arbitrariness by reverting to higher order vagueness, it is ultimately vindicated by rejecting the KK principle. Its ability to solve the metaphysical problems of arbitrariness, on the other hand, is found wanting. Several potential solutions consistent with epistemicism are attempted, and it is demonstrated that each has significant difficulties.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Willard-Kyle, Dr Christopher
Authors: Kyle, C. D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Philosophy
Journal Name:Dialogue
Publisher:Phi Sigma Tau
ISSN:0012-2246

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