On the Difference Between Ambiguity, Vagueness, and Indeterminacy (05/2017)

The Fifth International Conference on Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, 12-14 May 2017  | Łodz, Poland

Ambiguity, Vagueness and Indeterminacy are similar phenomena but surely different. Surprisingly, some authors defend something like an ambiguity-vagueness continuum. According to this view it would be only a question of degree whether a term is vague or ambiguous. However, it’s easy to find paradigmatic examples of ambiguity, vagueness, and indeterminacy and we can distinguish them intuitively without difficulties. I am going to make a sketch of some of the most important differences between ambiguity, vagueness and indeterminacy. Personally, I don’t think that continuum-account is correct but it’s due to the lack of an adequate ambiguity criterion. We should work out a criterion to distinguish ambiguity from vagueness or indeterminacy.

PhilLang 2017

English Deutsch


Orte der Mehrdeutigkeit


Mehrdeutigkeit in- und außerhalb der Sprache. Auf der Suche nach einer Neuen Universellen Theorie der Ambiguität (NUTA) ...




„MEHRDEUTIG, adj. mehr als éine deutung zulassend: ein mehrdeutiger ausspruch. vergl. eindeutig. “ 


– Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob Grimm und Wilhelm Grimm, Bd. 12, Sp. 1889 bis 1894.


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