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The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 6, 2007


Henry Jackman
Pages 77-83

Temporal Externalism and Epistemic Theories of Vagueness

'Epistemic' accounts of vagueness argue that so called 'borderline' cases of a term actually always do (or don't) fall within that term's extension. What makes the case borderline is that this fact may be unknowable. Such epistemic theories have traditionally been taken to be unable to accommodate the intuitive connection between meaning and use. However, it will be argued here that if one endorses a type of 'Temporal Externalism' about meaning (according to which future linguistic developments can help determine the semantic values of our current utterances), then one can both endorse epistemic accounts of vagueness and hold on to the traditional tie between meaning and use.

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