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Cuts and CloudsVagueness, its Nature, & its Logic$
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Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570386.001.0001

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The Sorites, Linguistic Preconceptions, and the Dual Picture of Vagueness

The Sorites, Linguistic Preconceptions, and the Dual Picture of Vagueness

Chapter:
(p.228) 13 The Sorites, Linguistic Preconceptions, and the Dual Picture of Vagueness
Source:
Cuts and Clouds
Author(s):

Mario Gómez‐Torrente

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570386.003.0014

This chapter postulates that the extension of a degree adjective is fixed by implicitly accepted non-analytic reference-fixing principles (‘preconceptions’) that combine appeals to paradigmatic cases with generic principles designed to expand the extension of the adjective beyond the paradigmatic range. In regular occasions of use, the paradigm and generic preconceptions are jointly satisfied and determine the existence of an extension/anti-extension pair dividing the adjective's comparison class into two mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive subclasses. Sorites paradoxical occasions of use are irregular occasions of use in which the paradigm and generic preconceptions are not jointly satisfied. In them, the relevant degree adjective lacks an extension, and utterances of sentences containing it appearing in Sorites arguments do not have truth conditions. The chapter also postulates a probable psychology of paradigm intuitions, used in a psychological explanation of the preference for solutions of the Sorites paradox on which paradigm preconceptions retain their intuitive truth-values.

Keywords:   vagueness, Sorites paradox, preconception, reference, paradigmatic cases

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