Random Predicate Logic I: A Probabilistic Approach to Vagueness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Predicates are supposed to slice reality neatly in two halves, one for which the predicate holds, the other for which it fails. Yet far from being razors, predicates tend to be dull knives that mangle reality. If reality is a tomato and predicates are knives, then when these knives divide the tomato, plenty of mush remains unaccounted for. Of course some knives are sharper than others, just as some predicates are less vague than others. “x is water” is certainly sharper than “x is beautiful.” But perfect sharpness, perfect boundaries, and perfect separation seem only to obtain in mathematics. The vagueness inherent in many predicates became particularly evident in the twentieth century. Quantum mechanics, the revival of certain ancient paradoxes, and the philosophy of science all contributed to a growing awareness that vagueness was ineliminable from many predicates. Quantum mechanical superposition seems to allow mutually exclusive simultaneous states. In searching for plausible interpretations of quantum mechanics, some researchers attempted to do away with classical bivalent logic. In its place they substituted multivalent quantum logics. Any logic with more than two values forces its predicates to slice reality into more than two parts. Ancient paradoxes involving heaps and baldness also pointed up the 1 Random Predicate Logic 2..
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