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Title: Vagueness in what matters : superhard comparisons, choice and vagueness
Author: Dos Santos, Miguel F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9348 6061
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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What is the minimum number of grains that you need to remove from a heap of sand for it to no longer be a heap? Is a male adult who is 180 cm in height tall? Over the past few decades, the philosophical literature has appealed to cases such as these, which exemplify the vagueness of ‘is a heap’ and ‘is tall’ (respectively), to solve problems in the metaphysics, logic and epistemology of vagueness. The driving thought of this dissertation is that vagueness can arise in the application of much more interesting predicates than ‘is a heap’ and ‘is tall’. In particular, vagueness can arise in the application of predicates that matter to us, such as ‘is better than’ and ‘is morally permissible’. Unsurprising as this thought may seem, it allows me to explore uncharted territory. In Chapter 1, I develop an account of decision-making under vagueness in ‘better than’ with the aim of coming up with a novel solution to the problem of superhard comparisons, the problem of explaining what grounds cases of comparison in which (roughly) no classic value relation—‘better than’, ‘worse than’ or ‘equally good’—appears to hold between a certain pair of items relative to a value that they bear. In Chapter 2, I link my approach to the problem of superhard comparisons with the growing literature on moral vagueness, arguing that different leading theories of vagueness yield different accounts of decision-making under moral vagueness. In Chapter 3, building on the approach and conclusions of the previous chapters, I develop a solution to a neglected problem in aesthetics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available