Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/145428
Title:
Vagueness and Borderline Cases
Author:
Daly, Helen
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Vagueness is ubiquitous in natural language. It seems incompatible with classical, bivalent logic, which tells us that every statement is either true or false, and none is vaguely true. Yet we do manage to reason using vague natural language. In fact, the majority of our day-to-day reasoning involves vague terms and concepts. There is a puzzle here: how do we perform this remarkable feat of reasoning? I argue that vagueness is a kind of semantic indecision. In short, that means we cannot say exactly who is bald and who is not because we have never decided the precise meaning of the word 'bald'--there are some borderline cases in the middle, which might be bald or might not. That is a popular general strategy for addressing vagueness. Those who use it, however, do not often say what they mean by 'borderline case'. It is most frequently used in a loose way to refer to in-between items: those people who are neither clearly bald nor clearly not bald. But under that loose description, the notion of borderline cases is ambiguous, and some of its possible meanings create serious problems for semantic theories of vagueness.Here, I clarify the notion of a borderline case, so that borderline cases can be used profitably as a key element in a successful theory of vagueness. After carefully developing my account of borderline cases, I demonstrate its usefulness by proposing a theory of vagueness based upon it. My theory, vagueness as permission, explains how classical logic can be used to model even vague natural language.
Type:
Electronic Dissertation; text
Keywords:
borderline; logic; natural language; semantics; sorites; vagueness
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Philosophy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Horgan, Terry; Lavine, Shaughan

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleVagueness and Borderline Casesen_US
dc.creatorDaly, Helenen_US
dc.contributor.authorDaly, Helenen_US
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractVagueness is ubiquitous in natural language. It seems incompatible with classical, bivalent logic, which tells us that every statement is either true or false, and none is vaguely true. Yet we do manage to reason using vague natural language. In fact, the majority of our day-to-day reasoning involves vague terms and concepts. There is a puzzle here: how do we perform this remarkable feat of reasoning? I argue that vagueness is a kind of semantic indecision. In short, that means we cannot say exactly who is bald and who is not because we have never decided the precise meaning of the word 'bald'--there are some borderline cases in the middle, which might be bald or might not. That is a popular general strategy for addressing vagueness. Those who use it, however, do not often say what they mean by 'borderline case'. It is most frequently used in a loose way to refer to in-between items: those people who are neither clearly bald nor clearly not bald. But under that loose description, the notion of borderline cases is ambiguous, and some of its possible meanings create serious problems for semantic theories of vagueness.Here, I clarify the notion of a borderline case, so that borderline cases can be used profitably as a key element in a successful theory of vagueness. After carefully developing my account of borderline cases, I demonstrate its usefulness by proposing a theory of vagueness based upon it. My theory, vagueness as permission, explains how classical logic can be used to model even vague natural language.en_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.subjectborderlineen_US
dc.subjectlogicen_US
dc.subjectnatural languageen_US
dc.subjectsemanticsen_US
dc.subjectsoritesen_US
dc.subjectvaguenessen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHorgan, Terryen_US
dc.contributor.advisorLavine, Shaughanen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSartorio, Carolinaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest11630-
dc.identifier.oclc752261484-
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