1st KCL Graduate Conference on Indeterminacy and Vagueness

May 28, 2022 - May 29, 2022
Department of Philosophy, King's College London

Anatomy Lecture Theatre (K 6.29)
King's College London Strand Campus
London WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

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University College London
Oxford University

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We are pleased to announce the interdisciplinary conference “Indeterminacy and Vagueness in Mathematics, Metaphysics & Logic, and Philosophy of Science”, which will be taking place at King’s College London on the 28th and 29th of May 2022.

Vagueness is related to the existence of borderline cases, and its incidence permeates both science and metaphysics. Theories and accounts of vagueness try to find a solution to the problem of how to treat predicates such as “is bald” or “moves in a straight line”, both in natural language and in scientific theories. Is vagueness an epistemological problem? Is all vagueness linguistic? Could there be intrinsically vague objects? What logical tools may help in formalizing and resolving the paradoxes of vagueness? Is vagueness equally unavoidable in the scientific language? 

Discussion of vagueness may equally arise in the context of the philosophy of mathematics, where the term ‘indeterminacy’ is often preferred. Are our mathematical terms determinate? How can we guarantee that arithmetic is determinate? Could set theory be indeterminate, in light of independence results? Is the Continuum Hypothesis a case of indeterminacy in mathematics? Moreover, the problem of indeterminacy spans quantum mechanics as well, presented, for instance, in the form of the so-called measurement problem. How can we make sense of quantum indeterminacy? Does contemporary physics provide a complete, deterministic picture of physical reality? 

The conference aims to bring together different perspectives on vagueness and indeterminacy phenomena from the fields of mathematics and its philosophy, metaphysics and logic, and the philosophy of science, with the hope that different theories of vagueness can benefit from dialogue.  

Saturday 28th May:

  • 10:10 - 10: 45 Marta Pedroni (Geneva and USI) "Can there be vague quantum objects?"
  • 10:45 - 11:20 Johannes Mierau (Witten/Herdecke University) "Being precise about imprecision"

11:20-11:30 Break 

  • 11:30 -12:05 Arthur Schwaninger (University of Zurich) "A Predictive Processing Perspective on the Nature of Vagueness"
  • 12:05 - 12:40 Anil Sezgin (Bogazici University) "The Sorites Argument Against Descriptivism"

12:40 - 14:40 Lunch

  • 14:40 - 15:15 Sofia Mendelez Gutierrez (Cambridge) "Arbitrary Reference and Indiscernibility"
  • 15:15 - 15:50 Shimpei Endo (Hitotsubashi) "Truthmakers for Epistemicism"

15:50-16:00 Break

  • 16:00 - 17:15 Keynote address: Timothy Williamson (Oxford) "The Tolerance Heuristic"

Sunday 29th May:

  • 10:00 -10:35 Nuno Maia (Oxford) "Krajewski's Theorem, Arithmetical Truth and Paraconsistency"
  • 10:35 -11:10 Theodor Nenu (Bristol) "Evolutionary Computational Structuralism"
  • 11:10 - 11:45 Jann Paul Engler (St Andrews) "On Generic and Instance Based Generality"

11:45 - 11:55 Break 

  • 11:55 - 13:10 Keynote address: Tim Button (UCL) “The determinacy of mathematics and Carnapian conventionalism”

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May 27, 2022, 11:45pm BST

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