Vagueness and Degrees of Truth

Overview

A predicate is said to be vague if there is no sharply defined boundary between the things to which it applies and the things to which it does not apply. For example, 'heavy' is vague in a way that 'weighs over 20 kilograms' is not. A great many predicates---both in everyday talk, and in a wide array of theoretical vocabularies, from law to psychology to engineering---are vague.
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Overview

A predicate is said to be vague if there is no sharply defined boundary between the things to which it applies and the things to which it does not apply. For example, 'heavy' is vague in a way that 'weighs over 20 kilograms' is not. A great many predicates---both in everyday talk, and in a wide array of theoretical vocabularies, from law to psychology to engineering---are vague.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199674466
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/14/2013
  • Pages: 350
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas J. J. Smith is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Beginnings 15

1.1 Toolkit 17

1.2 The Classical Semantic Picture 24

2 The Space of Possible Theories of Vagueness 33

2.1 Epistemicism (Deny Nothing) 34

2.2 Additional Truth Values (Deny 1a) 50

2.3 Truth Gaps (Deny 1b) 71

2.4 Supervaluationism (Deny 1c) 76

2.5 Plurivaluationism (Deny 2) 98

2.6 Contextualism 113

2.7 Intuitionism (Assert Nothing) 122

3 What is Vagueness? 127

3.1 What Should We Want from a Definition of Vagueness? 127

3.2 Existing Definitions of Vagueness 133

3.3 Closeness 140

3.4 Vagueness as Closeness 145

3.5 The Advantages of Closeness 159

4 Accommodating Vagueness 175

4.1 Epistemicism 175

4.2 Additional Truth Values and Truth Gaps 186

4.3 Supervaluationism 191

4.4 Plurivaluationism 197

4.5 Contextualism 200

5 Who's Afraid of Degrees of Truth? 209

5.1 On the Very Idea of Degrees of Truth 210

5.2 Classical Logic 220

5.3 A Gated Community in Theory Space? 224

5.4 Truth and Assertibility 248

5.5 Truth-Functionality 251

5.6 Denying Bivalence 274

5.7 Different Senses of 'Fuzzy Logic' 275

6 Worldly Vagueness and Semantic Indeterminacy 277

6.1 Artificial Precision 277

6.2 Sharp Boundaries 304

Conclusion 317

References 321

Index 333

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