8
Truth is super-truth

'Truth is super-truth' can be the supervaluationist's slogan. One of the two main questions tackled in this final chapter is whether truth can really be super-truth or whether super-truth fails to have the definitive features of truth. I start with the other main question, which asks whether supervaluationism can accommodate higherorder vagueness or whether that phenomenon threatens the identification of truth with super-truth.


1. HIGHER-ORDER VAGUENESS AND VAGUE METALANGUAGES

Can supervaluationism accommodate — or be adapted to accommodate — the lack of sharp boundaries between the cases where a predicate clearly applies and the borderline cases, and between the borderline cases and the borderline borderline cases, and so on? This question has not been resolved by Fine and other advocates of supervaluationism, but the theory has the resources to succeed in this respect, I shall argue.

Consider the following quick argument against supervaluationism. According to the theory, a sentence is true simpliciter iff it is true on all complete and admissible specifications. But for any sentence, either it is true on all complete and admissible specifications (hence true simpliciter) or not (hence borderline or false). So there is no scope for avoiding sharp boundaries to the borderline cases or for accommodating borderline borderline cases. This argument is too quick as it stands, but it does encapsulate a popular line of objection to supervaluationism. We need to examine a key assumption on which it rests, namely that there is a precise and unique set of complete and admissible specifications. If 'complete and admissible specification' is vague, we should reject this assumption. (Compare the supervaluationist's claim that there is no precise and unique set of

-202-

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Theories of Vagueness
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Cambridge Studies in Philosophy - Theories of Vagueness *
  • Cambridge Studies in Philosophy *
  • Title Page *
  • For My Parents, Sheila and Terry *
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Phenomena of Vagueness 6
  • 2 - How to Theorise About Vagueness 37
  • 3 - The Epistemic View of Vagueness 62
  • 4 - Between Truth and Falsity: Many-Valued Logics 85
  • 5 - Vagueness by Numbers 125
  • 6 - The Pragmatic Account of Vagueness 139
  • 7 - Supervaluationism 152
  • 8 - Truth is Super-Truth 202
  • References 221
  • Index 229
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