Vagueness and utility: The semantics of common nouns [Book Review]

Linguistics and Philosophy 17 (6):521 - 535 (1994)
A utility-based approach to the understanding of vague predicates (VPs) is proposed. It is argued that assignment of truth values to propositions containing VPs entails unjustifiable assumptions of consensus; two models of VP semantics are criticized on this basis: (1) the super-truth theory of Kit Fine (1975), which requires an unlikely consensus on base points; (2) the fuzzy logic of Lotfi Zadeh (1975), on fuzzy truth values of sentences. Pragmatism is held to provide a key: successful behavior justifies a person's knowledge of the content of a VP. Instead of attempting to determine a consensus underlying successful communication, the utility of individual communications is held to rest on sufficient approximation of meanings between people. 3 Figures, 17 References. Adapted from the source document
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DOI 10.1007/BF00985317
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Michael Dummett (1975). Wang's Paradox. Synthese 30 (3-4):201--32.

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