Why vagueness is a mystery

Acta Analytica 17 (1):11 - 17 (2002)
This paper considers two “mysteries” having to do with vagueness. The first pertains to existence. An argument is presented for the following conclusion: there are possible cases in which ‘There exists something that is F’ is of indeterminate truth-value and with respect to which it is not assertable that there are borderline-cases of “being F.” It is contended that we have no conception of vagueness that makes this result intelligible. The second mystery has to do with “ordinary” vague predicates, such as ‘tall’. An argument is presented for the conclusion that although there are people who are “tall to degree 1”—definitely tall, tall without qualification—, no greatest lower bound can be assigned to the set of numbers n such that a man who is n centimeters tall is tall to degree 1. But, since this set is bounded from below, this result seems to contradict a well-known property of the real numbers.
Keywords vagueness  borderline cases  sorites  existence  composition
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-002-1001-9
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