Friday, June 01, 2007


Meaning Scepticism

In a footnote in her 'How to understand contextualism about vagueness: reply to Stanley', Diana Raffman writes:

'[Stanley] cites Scott Soames (2002: 445) as claiming that vague predicates are indexicals. I am sceptical of this reading of Soames, but I won't press the point here.' (Raffman 2005: 244fn)

I'd really like to have seen her press the point, since as it stands, I'm hugely confused. The first line of the passage from p445 of Soames 2002 (which is his PPR precis of Understanding Truth), quoted by Jason (in his 2003 Analysis piece which Raffman is replying to) is:

'To say that vague predicates are context-sensitive is to say that they are indexical.' (Quoted at Stanley 2003: 270)

And the final line is:

'If, as I believe, vague predicates are context-sensitive, then this is the model on which they must be understood.' (Quoted at Stanley 2003: 271)

Sandwiched in between is what appears to be an elaboration of the claim that vague expressions are indexicals. I'm intrigued to know what might support scepticism about Jason's reading of Soames here.

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