The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Mon Oct 4, 2021
Zoom, 4–6 PM
Townsend Visitor
Susanne Bobzien (All Souls, Oxford)
Vagueness: grey areas, context, and viewpoint sensitivity, Lect. 1

Vagueness: grey areas, context, and viewpoint sensitivity

Lecture 1: The self-sustaining grey areas of vague predicates

I look at the relation between linguistic communication and the ‘grey area’ in a Sorites series and in the application of vague predicates F more broadly. I suggest that ordinary speaker behaviour and conventions are such that they produce and keep up the grey areas of vague predicates in a way that explains (i) their continuous existence and (ii) the fact that we cannot say where exactly these areas start and end. Based on this result, I tentatively suggest that assertions that cases in the grey area of F are F (or are not F) are not warranted. Conclusions that the self-sustaining grey areas directly affect either meaning or extension of vague predicates are deliberately not drawn.