The Dennes Room

Event Detail

Wed Oct 6, 2021
Zoom, 4–6 PM
Townsend Visitor
Susanne Bobzien (All Souls, Oxford)
Vagueness: grey areas, context, and viewpoint sensitivity, Lect. 2

Vagueness: grey areas, context, and viewpoint sensitivity

Lecture 2: How the relevance of contextual factors changes across a Sorites series

I consider the relevance of context to Sorites series and to the use of vague predicates more broadly. I examine how speaker behaviour manifests itself near the polar cases of vague predicates and how it changes in several respects when cases closer to, and eventually in, the grey area are considered. Speakers move from being ‘underwhelmed’ to being ‘overwhelmed’ by contextual factors, as it were. Additionally, it seems that very small changes can be relevant to truth values in the that area. The self-sustaining grey area (Lecture 1) is then connected with these shifts in relevance of contextual factors, and I offer an explanation of what’s going on. As context can in principle be kept fixed, contextualist theories as such are not accepted.