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Vagueness and central gaps
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Philosophy. (Theoretical Philosophy)
2010 (English)In: Cuts and Clouds: Vagueness, Its Nature and Its Logic / [ed] Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi, Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2010, 254-272 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Ordinary intuitions that vague predicates are tolerant, or cannot have sharp boundaries, can be formalized in first-order logic in at least two non-equivalent ways, a stronger and a weaker. The stronger turns out to be false in domains that have a significant central gap for the predicate in question, i.e. where a sufficiently large middle segment of the ordering relation (such as taller for ‘tall’) is uninstantiated. The weaker principle is true in such domains, but does not in those domains induce the sorites conclusion.

This fact can be used for interpreting ordinary uses of vague expres- sions by means of a new kind of contextual quantifier domain restriction. A central segment is cut from the domain, if consistent with speaker in- tentions. As long as this is possible, tolerance, bivalence and consistency can all be retained.

This paper focuses on the basic semantic properties in a model- theoretic setting. The natural language application is sketched and the nature of the approach briefly discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Oxford University Press , 2010. 254-272 p.
Keyword [en]
Vagueness, tolerance, gap, domain restriction, semantics, natural language
National Category
Research subject
Theoretical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52709ISBN: 978-0-19-957038-6OAI: diva2:388669
VR project: Vagueness and Context Factors
Swedish Research Council, 421-2004-1666
RefereedAvailable from: 2011-01-18 Created: 2011-01-18 Last updated: 2011-01-21Bibliographically approved

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