Vagueness is rational under uncertainty

  • Frazee J
  • Beaver D
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Abstract

We seek to show that some properties of vague scalar adjectives are consequences of rational communication. Theories of vagueness are usually directed at a cluster of traditional philosophical desiderata: how vagueness fits into a theory of truth (or metaphysics), the sorites, and related issues. These are important, and we will have more to say about some of them, but we also seek to refocus the analysis of vagueness, moving away from consideration of abstract philosophical problems, and towards consideration of the problems faced by ordinary language users. It is our contention that it is by considering the latter that the former can best be understood. Using standard mathematical tools, we suggest that, given a certain model of communication, what have typically been taken to be puzzles in the truth conditions of vague expressions, should just be expected consequences of communication under uncertainty

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Authors

  • Joey Frazee

  • David Beaver

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