Journal of Philosophical Logic

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 619-634

First online:

Acceptable Contradictions: Pragmatics or Semantics? A Reply to Cobreros et al.

  • Sam AlxatibAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics and Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • , Peter PaginAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Stockholm University
  • , Uli SauerlandAffiliated withZentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Email author 

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Naive speakers find some logical contradictions acceptable, specifically borderline contradictions involving vague predicates such as Joe is and isn’t tall. In a recent paper, Cobreros et al. (J Philos Logic, 2012) suggest a pragmatic account of the acceptability of borderline contradictions. We show, however, that the pragmatic account predicts the wrong truth conditions for some examples with disjunction. As a remedy, we propose a semantic analysis instead. The analysis is close to a variant of fuzzy logic, but conjunction and disjunction are interpreted as intensional operators.


Contradiction Vagueness Fuzzy logic Pragmatics Natural language Conjunction