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Theoria. Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia

Volume 11, Issue 3, Septiembre 1996

Rohit Parikh
Pages 97-107

Vague Predicates and Language Games

Attempts to give a Logic or Semantics for vague predicates and to defuse the Sorites paradoxes have been largely a failure. We point out yet another problem with these predicates which has not been remarked on before,namely that different people do and must use these predicates in individually different ways. Thus even if there were a semantics for vague predicates, people would not be able to share it. To explain the occurrence nonetheless of these troublesome predicates in language, we propose a different approach based on asking the question, “How do these vague predicates help people to communicate with each other?” We show that in general, even though different people assign different extensions to vague predicates, they usually benefit from receiving information framed in terms of them.

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