Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Vagueness in Context$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Stewart Shapiro

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199280391

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280391.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 October 2019

The Nature of Vagueness: Humpty Dumpty Gets His Due

The Nature of Vagueness: Humpty Dumpty Gets His Due

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Nature of Vagueness: Humpty Dumpty Gets His Due
Source:
Vagueness in Context
Author(s):

Stewart Shapiro (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199280391.003.0001

This chapter provides a simplified account of how vagueness arises in language and is manifested in the use of language. It is a commonplace that the extensions of vague terms vary with such contextual factors as the comparison class and paradigm cases. A person can be tall with respect to male accountants and not tall (or even short) with respect to professional basketball players. A person can be wealthy with respect to local business tycoons, but not wealthy with respect to CEOs of major software companies. The main feature of the present account is that the extensions (and anti-extensions) of vague terms also vary in the course of a conversation, even after the external contextual features, such as the comparison class, are fixed. A central thesis of the view is that, in some cases, a competent speaker of the language can go either way in the borderline area of a vague predicate without sinning against the meaning of the words and the non-linguistic facts.

Keywords:   vague terms, language, determinacy, tolerance, open-texture, conversation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .