Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosoficas, the APA Eastern Division Meeting in December 1999, and the Coloquio Bariloche de Filosofia in June 2000. I thank the people who helped me at these events. I am especially indebted to Delia Graff and Tim Williamson for their comments.
Vagueness and Margin for Error Principles†
Article first published online: 29 MAY 2007
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
Volume 64, Issue 1, pages 107–125, January 2002
How to Cite
GÓMEZ-TORRENTE, M. (2002), Vagueness and Margin for Error Principles. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 64: 107–125. doi: 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2002.tb00145.x
- Issue published online: 29 MAY 2007
- Article first published online: 29 MAY 2007
Timothy Williamson's potentially most important contribution to epistemicism about vagueness lies in his arguments for the basic epistemicist claim that the alleged cut-off points of vague predicates are not knowable. His arguments for this are based on so-called ‘margin for error principles’. This paper argues that these principles fail to provide a good argument for the basic claim. Williamson has offered at least two kinds of margin for error principles applicable to vague predicates. A certain fallacy of equivocation (on the meaning of ‘knowable’) seems to underlie his justification for both kinds of principles. Besides, the margin for error principles of the first kind can be used in the derivation of unacceptable consequences, while the margin for error principles of the second kind can be shown to be compatible with the falsity of epistemicism, under a number of assumptions acceptable to the epistemicist.