Vagueness by Numbers? No Worries
Smith (Nicholas J.J.)
Source: Mind - 112/446 (April 2003)
Paper - Abstract

Paper Summary

Philosophers Index Abstract

    Rosanna Keefe ("Vagueness by Numbers" Mind 107, 1998, pp. 565-579) argues that theories of vagueness based upon fuzzy logic and set theory rest on a confusion: once we have assigned a number to an object to represent (for example) its height, there is no distinct purpose left to be served by assigning a number to the object to represent its degree of tallness; she claims that "any numbers assigned in an attempt to capture the vagueness of 'tall' do no more than serve as another measure of height." In this paper I defend fuzzy theories of vagueness against Keefe's attack. I show that the numbers that we assign to objects to measure (for example) heights serve a quite distinct purpose from the numbers that fuzzy theories of vagueness assign to objects to measure degrees of tallness: the two sorts of assignment are both formally and conceptually distinct; the fuzzy approach to vagueness is well-motivated and free of confusion.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2017
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - October 2017. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page