JUST WHAT IS VAGUENESS?
Version of Record online: 10 FEB 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 25, Issue 1, pages 19–33, March 2012
How to Cite
Bueno, O. and Colyvan, M. (2012), JUST WHAT IS VAGUENESS?. Ratio, 25: 19–33. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9329.2011.00513.x
- Issue online: 10 FEB 2012
- Version of Record online: 10 FEB 2012
We argue that standard definitions of ‘vagueness’ prejudice the question of how best to deal with the phenomenon of vagueness. In particular, the usual understanding of ‘vagueness’ in terms of borderline cases, where the latter are thought of as truth-value gaps, begs the question against the subvaluational approach. According to this latter approach, borderline cases are inconsistent (i.e., glutty not gappy). We suggest that a definition of ‘vagueness’ should be general enough to accommodate any genuine contender in the debate over how to best deal with the sorites paradox. Moreover, a definition of ‘vagueness’ must be able to accommodate the variety of forms sorites arguments can take. These include numerical, total-ordered sorites arguments, discrete versions, continuous versions, as well as others without any obvious metric structure at all. After considering the shortcomings of various definitions of ‘vagueness’, we propose a very general non-question-begging definition.