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Alexis G. Burgess and John P. Burgess

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144016

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144016.001.0001

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(p.52) Chapter Four Indeterminacy

Alexis G. Burgess

John P. Burgess

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how the notion of indeterminacy challenges the equivalence principle (“Saying something is true is equivalent to just saying it”). Indeterminacy involves cases where we have a question “Are things thus?” to which neither the affirmative nor the negative answer seems appropriate. If the question “Are things thus?” cannot be answered “Yes” or “No,” then it seems the corresponding declarative “Things are thus” cannot be called “true” or “false,” and so it seems we have a counterexample to the bivalence principle, according to which every proposition is either true or false. The chapter first considers two classes of examples, involving phenomena of presupposition and vagueness, before discussing various conceivable lines of response to the problems they raise. In particular, it looks at denial strategy, disqualification strategy, deviance strategy, doublespeak strategy, dependency strategy, and defeatism. Finally, it analyzes a third type of case, involving a purported special kind of relativity.

Keywords:   indeterminacy, equivalence principle, presupposition, vagueness, denial strategy, disqualification strategy, deviance strategy, doublespeak strategy, defeatism, relativity

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