Just what is vagueness?

Otavio Bueno, Mark Colyvan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We argue that standard definitions of 'vagueness' prejudice the question of how best to deal with the phenomenon of vagueness. In particular, the usual understanding of 'vagueness' in terms of borderline cases, where the latter are thought of as truth-value gaps, begs the question against the subvaluational approach. According to this latter approach, borderline cases are inconsistent (i.e., glutty not gappy). We suggest that a definition of 'vagueness' should be general enough to accommodate any genuine contender in the debate over how to best deal with the sorites paradox. Moreover, a definition of 'vagueness' must be able to accommodate the variety of forms sorites arguments can take. These include numerical, total-ordered sorites arguments, discrete versions, continuous versions, as well as others without any obvious metric structure at all. After considering the shortcomings of various definitions of 'vagueness', we propose a very general non-question-begging definition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-33
Number of pages15
JournalRatio
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012

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Vagueness
Sorites
Borderline Cases
Begging
Prejudice
Truth Value
Sorites Paradox

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

Cite this

Just what is vagueness? / Bueno, Otavio; Colyvan, Mark.

In: Ratio, Vol. 25, No. 1, 03.2012, p. 19-33.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bueno, Otavio ; Colyvan, Mark. / Just what is vagueness?. In: Ratio. 2012 ; Vol. 25, No. 1. pp. 19-33.
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