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Unruly Words – A Study of Vague Language - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Unruly Words: A Study of Vague Language

Diana Raffman


Because they lack sharp boundaries of application, vague words like ‘tall’ and ‘adult’ cause logical and semantic problems in philosophy, decision theory, and the law, among other disciplines. Several theories of vagueness have been proposed to resolve these difficulties, but none has been widely accepted. The book contends that previous accounts have made two critical mistakes: they suppose that a semantic (non-epistemic) theory must abandon bivalence, and they overlook the character of ordinary speech using vague words. The book develops a new theory of vagueness — the multiple range theo ... More

Keywords: vagueness, bivalence, semantics, arbitrariness, context, borderline cases, sorites paradox, definiteness operator

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199915101
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199915101.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Diana Raffman, author
University of Toronto