Academic year
2018/2019 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FM0090 (AF:275383 AR:160695)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
3rd Term
The course addresses the themes of indeterminacy and vagueness as they appear and are addressed in philosophy of language, but also in contemporary metaphysics and epistemology. What justifies the theme is its theoretical relevance already recognized in ancient thought (the Sorites paradox could serve as an example of this relevance) and modern and contemporary philosophy (Peirce, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, etc.). Furthermore, the theme has strong and close connections with many different disciplinary fields (from the study of artificial intelligence to aesthetics, from the philosophy of medicine to that of law).
The course is scheduled among the Core educational activities shared by Master’s degree programme in Philosophical Sciences and in History of Arts and Conservation of Artistic Heritage.

Knowledge of the main stages of the problem with particular reference to its ancient origin and to its taken up in the Nineteenth and Twentieth century (Frege, Russell, Peirce, Quine, Wittgenstein)
- Ability to distinguish between the various approaches to the problem of vagueness (in particular, between semantic, epistemological, metaphysical / ontological approach)
- Ability to identify the theoretical relevance of the problem also in areas and contexts of research not specifically philosophical (law, art and poetry, medical-diagnostic discourse, psychiatry, artificial intelligence).
The course is designed to be accessible to a broad range of students, not just those who intend to major in philosophy.
Albeit not a pre-requisite, having taken an introductory course of philosophy of language in the three-year undergraduate degree and/or having some knowledge of elementary logic can still be helpful to follow the course with profit and awareness.
- The sorites paradox
- Theories of vagueness
- Vagueness and indeterminacy
- The epistemic view
- The semantic vew
- Ontic vagueness
- Supervaluationism
- Many-valued logic and degree theories

Roy Sorensen, Vagueness, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (
Vagueness: A Reader, a cura T. Keefe e P. Smith, The MIT Press, Cambridge (Ms.) 1999.
The verification method consists of two phases: 1) the drafting of a short paper (about 15,000 characters) agreed with the teacher, on a question, a problem, a theme analysed during the course; the deadline to submit the paper is seven days before the exam session; 2) seminar discussion of the papers’ topics in the final part of the course.
The course is arranged into two parts. The first one entails the critical exposition and discussion of the main themes and problems of the course (with the contribution of students’ questions, requests for clarification, objections); in the second part the students will present and discuss the themes and topics chosen for the papers in view of the final written project.

Additional readings may be found online. I will make them electronically available (I.S.A. material).
The material on JSTOR can be downloaded directly from the electronic resources of the Library.

Three seminars of two hours each will be held jointly by Alice Morelli and Filippo Batisti (Ph.D. students). Six different topics will be treated, in order to introduce some of the key concepts in the last century’s and contemporary philosophy of language. Attendance is mandatory for those who have not taken any philosophy of language class before.
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 22/10/2018