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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

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Agenzia Nazionale di Valutazione del Sistema Universitario e della Ricerca: Classe A

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Volume 2013, Issue 193


Peirce and the specification of borderline vagueness

David W. Agler
Published Online: 2013-02-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0012


Scholarship on borderline vagueness pinpoints Russell's 1923 essay titled “Vagueness” as the starting point for rigorous analysis. The importance of Russell's work over and above discussions of indeterminacy in antiquity and in the modern period is that Russell isolated borderline vagueness from indeterminacies that do not threaten classical logic. This paper argues that historical propriety concerning the analysis of borderline vagueness belongs to Peirce since he was the first to show that borderline vagueness is distinct from other forms of indeterminacy (e.g., generality, unspecificity, and uninformativeness) and that the application of vague predicates to borderline cases involves an intrinsic uncertainty.

Keywords: Peirce; Russell; vagueness; indeterminacy; semantics; sorites

About the article

David W. Agler

David W. Agler (b. 1982) is a lecturer at the Pennsylvania State University 〈dwa132@psu.edu〉. His research interests include Peirce, philosophy of language, American philosophy, and philosophy of logic. His publications include “The UFAIL approach: Unconventional weapons and their ‘unintended’ effects” (2010); “Peirce's direct, non-reductive contextual theory of names” (2011); “Symbolic logic: Syntax, semantics, and proof” (2012); and “Polanyi and Peirce on the critical method” (2012).

Pennsylvania State University

Published Online: 2013-02-22

Published in Print: 2013-02-22

Citation Information: Semiotica, Volume 2013, Issue 193, Pages 195–215, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2013-0012.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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