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Gradability in Natural LanguageLogical and Grammatical Foundations$
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Heather Burnett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198724797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198724797.001.0001

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Vagueness and linguistic analysis

Vagueness and linguistic analysis

(p.9) 2 Vagueness and linguistic analysis
Gradability in Natural Language

Heather Burnett

Oxford University Press

This chapter serves as an introduction to one of the main empirical phenomena to be analyzed in the monograph and the formal tools that will be used in the analysis. In the first part, the empirical phenomenon known as vagueness in the linguistics and philosophical literatures is presented, and it is outlined why this phenomenon appears so threatening to our classical semantic theories in logic and linguistics. In the second part, there is a basic account of the puzzling properties of vague language that will be adopted in this work: Cobreros et al.’s (2012) Tolerant, Classical, Strict (TCS) similarity-based non-classical logical framework. A comparison between TCS and Lasersohn’s (1999) Pragmatic Halos framework is presented, and it is argued that, while the TCS analysis (as applied to the interpretation of English) is empirically superior, they share many of the same driving intuitions.

Keywords:   Vagueness, logic, linguistics, pragmatic halos, TCS, sorites paradox

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