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Single Idea 21614

[catalogued under 7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 9. Vagueness / d. Vagueness as semantic]

Full Idea

The 'nihilist' view is that no genuine distinction can be vaguely drawn; since vague expressions are not properly meaningful, there is nothing for sorites reasoning to betray; they are empty.

Gist of Idea

The 'nihilist' view of vagueness says that 'heap' is not a legitimate concept


Timothy Williamson (Vagueness [1994], 6.1)

A Reaction

He cites Frege as holding this view. The thought is that 'heap' is not a legitimate concept, so fussing over what qualifies as one is pointless. This seems to be a semantic view of vagueness, of which the main rival is the contextual view.

Book Reference

Williamson,Timothy: 'Vagueness' [Routledge 1996], p.165

Related Idea

Idea 21618 If the vague 'TW is thin' says nothing, what does 'TW is thin if his perfect twin is thin' say? [Williamson]