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Cuts and CloudsVagueness, its Nature, & its Logic$
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Richard Dietz and Sebastiano Moruzzi

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570386

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570386.001.0001

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The Possibility of Partial Definition

The Possibility of Partial Definition

(p.46) 2 The Possibility of Partial Definition
Cuts and Clouds

Scott Soames

Oxford University Press

The chapter rebuts arguments against the view that partial definition for predicates is impossible, in the sense of partial definition in which it leads to sentences that cannot correctly be characterized as true, or as not true. Next, it gives a positive account of how partially-defined predicates might arise. After context sensitivity is added to the model, the resulting predicates are compared to, and contrasted with, vague predicates in natural language. A strategy is suggested for treating apparent penumbral truths of concern to theories of vagueness, and for explaining why instances of some logical laws seem transparently to be true (when according to these theories, they are, in fact, undefined); whereas instances of other logical laws lack the appearance of undeniable truth.

Keywords:   context sensitivity, logical laws, partial definition, penumbral truths, vagueness

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