Vagueness seminar

Schedule of topics and readings

I've put an initial batch of the readings mentioned in the syllabus online: they are linked to below, as are some readings that are already available online through JStor, Ingenta and the like. If you want to access these from off campus you can use Pitt's VPN service. We probably won't keep to this schedule: I'll try to remember to update this page to reflect our actual pace.
Date Readings Handouts
August 31 Introduction Syllabus
September 7 Three-valued logic
The main reading is Williamson, chapter 4.
Michael Tye, paper.
September 14 Continuum-valued logic
Kenton Machina's 'Truth, Belief and Vagueness' provides the background for the continuum-valued approach: it is here.
September 21 Supervaluationism
The main reading will be Williamson, chapter 5.
Kit Fine's 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic' is the canonical presentation of the view. (I've taken this off the website to make space: email me if you want a copy.)
September 28 Supervaluationism and the problem of the many
David Lewis, 'Many, but almost one' (up to p. 175)
Vann McGee and Brian McLaughlin, 'Lessons of the Many'.
Brian Weatherson, 'Many Many Problems'.
Background: Peter Unger, 'The Problem of the Many'
October 5 Epistemicism
Williamson, chapters 7 and 8
October 12 Other versions of epistemicism
John Hawthorne, 'Epistemicism and Semantic Plasticity'
October 19 Field on indeterminacy
Hartry Field, 'No Fact of the Matter'
Two other, harder papers by Field that you might also want to look at: 'Indeterminacy, Degree of Belief and Excluded Middle', which dates from before Field's conversion away from classical logic; 'The Semantic Paradoxes and the Paradoxes of Vagueness: A Unified Solution', which gives a bit more detail on Field's strange conditional.
October 16 Knowledge and the linguistic conception of vagueness
Cian Dorr, 'Vagueness Without Ignorance'
David Lewis, 'Languages and Language' and excerpts from Convention and 'General Semantics'.
November 12 More of the same.
November 9 Nihilism
Michael Dummett, 'Wang's Paradox'
Williamson, chapter 6
Crispin Wright, 'Further Reflections on the Sorites Paradox'
Optional further reading: David Braun and Ted Sider, 'Vague, So Untrue'
November 16 Contextualism about vagueness
Delia Graff, 'Shifting Sands: an Interest-Relative Theory of Vagueness'
Jason Stanley, 'Context, Interest-Relativity and the Sorites'
Optional: Diana Raffman, 'Vagueness Without Paradox'
November 23 Radical Contextualism and Semantic Minimalism The readings for this week (excerpts from Insensitive Semantics by Cappellen and Lepore and perhaps some other things) won't actually be about vagueness, but I want to look at them because they are relevant to issues raised in my paper.

Last modified Friday, November 11, 2005 11:41 am