Peirce and the specification of borderline vagueness

David W. Agler


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.

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The official journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, founded in 1969 as one of the first scholarly journals in the field, Semiotica features articles reporting results of research in all branches of semiotic studies, in-depth reviews of selected current literature in the field, and occasional guest editorials and reports. The journal also publishes occasional Special Issues devoted to topics of particular interest.