It is fairly well known that Darwin was inspired to formulate his theory of natural selection by reading Thomas Malthus’s Essay on the Principle of Population. In fact, by reading Darwin’s notebooks, we can even locate one particular sentence which started Darwin thinking about population and selection. What has not been done before is to explain exactly where this sentence – essentially Malthus’s ideas about geometric population growth – came from. In this essay we show that eighteenth century mathematician Leonhard (...) Euler is responsible for this sentence, and in fact forms the beginning of the logical chain which leads to the creation of the theory of natural selection. We shall examine the fascinating path taken by a mathematical calculation, the many different lenses through which it was viewed, and the path through which it eventually influenced Darwin. (shrink)
This note has three goals. First, we discuss a presentation of Bertrand's paradox in a recent issue of Philosophia Mathematica, which we believe to be a subtle but important misinterpretation of the problem. We compare claims made about Bertrand with his 1889 Calcul des Probabilités. Second, we use this source to understand Bertrand's true intention in describing what we now call his paradox, comparing it both to another problem he describes in the same section and to a modern treatment. Finally, (...) we briefly consider the importance of knowing when a specific example represents a general case. (shrink)
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being with one activity, sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the best life available for (...) humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
Images have power - for good or ill. They may challenge us to see things anew and, in widening our experience, profoundly change who we are. The change can be ugly, as with propaganda, or enriching, as with many works of art. Sight and Sensibility explores the impact of images on what we know, how we see, and the moral assessments we make. Dominic Lopes shows how these are part of, not separate from, the aesthetic appeal of images. His (...) book will be essential reading for anyone working in aesthetics and art theory, and for all those intrigued by the power of images to affect our lives. '...tightly focused and carefully argued... an exceptionally interesting contribution to the philosophy of art: it contains subtle, concise, and convincing discussions of a number of difficult concepts and contentious doctrines... lucid and meticulous'. (shrink)
In _ Psychiatry in the Scientific Image, _Dominic Murphy looks at psychiatry from the viewpoint of analytic philosophy of science, considering three issues: how we should conceive of, classify, and explain mental illness. If someone is said to have a mental illness, what about it is mental? What makes it an illness? How might we explain and classify it? A system of psychiatric classification settles these questions by distinguishing the mental illnesses and showing how they stand in relation to one (...) another. This book explores the philosophical issues raised by the project of explaining and classifying mental illness. Murphy argues that the current literature on mental illness -- exemplified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -- is an impediment to research; it lacks a coherent concept of the mental and a satisfactory account of disorder, and yields too much authority to commonsense thought about the mind. He argues that the explanation of mental illness should meet the standards of good explanatory practice in the cognitive neurosciences, and that the classification of mental disorders should group symptoms into conditions based on the causal structure of the normal mind. (shrink)
There are not enough solid organs available to meet the needs of patients with organ failure. Thousands of patients every year die on the waiting lists for transplantation. Yet there is one currently available, underutilized, potential source of organs. Many patients die in intensive care following withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment whose organs could be used to save the lives of others. At present the majority of these organs go to waste.In this paper we consider and evaluate a range of ways (...) to improve the number and quality of organs available from this group of patients. Changes to consent arrangements (for example conscription of organs after death) or changes to organ donation practice could dramatically increase the numbers of organs available, though they would conflict with currently accepted norms governing transplantation.We argue that one alternative, Organ Donation Euthanasia, would be a rational improvement over current practice regarding withdrawal of life support. It would give individuals the greatest chance of being able to help others with their organs after death. It would increase patient autonomy. It would reduce the chance of suffering during the dying process. We argue that patients should be given the choice of whether and how they would like to donate their organs in the event of withdrawal of life support in intensive care.Continuing current transplantation practice comes at the cost of death and prolonged organ failure. We should seriously consider all of the alternatives. (shrink)
Ethical analyses, professional guidelines and legal decisions support the equivalence thesis for life-sustaining treatment: if it is ethical to withhold treatment, it would be ethical to withdraw the same treatment. In this paper we explore reasons why the majority of medical professionals disagree with the conclusions of ethical analysis. Resource allocation is considered by clinicians to be a legitimate reason to withhold but not to withdraw intensive care treatment. We analyse five arguments in favour of non-equivalence, and find only relatively (...) weak reasons to restrict rationing to withholding treatment. On the contrary, resource allocation provides a strong argument in favour of equivalence: non-equivalence causes preventable death in critically ill patients. We outline two proposals for increasing equivalence in practice: (1) reduction of the mortality threshold for treatment withdrawal, (2) time-limited trials of intensive care. These strategies would help to move practice towards more rational treatment limitation decisions. (shrink)
For centuries, philosophers have identified beauty with what brings pleasure. Dominic McIver Lopes challenges this interpretation by offering an entirely new theory of beauty - that beauty engages us in action, in concert with others, in the context of social networks - and sheds light on why aesthetic engagement is crucial for quality of life.
On 24 July 2017, the long-running, deeply tragic and emotionally fraught case of Charlie Gard reached its sad conclusion. Following further medical assessment of the infant, Charlie’s parents and doctors finally reached agreement that continuing medical treatment was not in Charlie’s best interests. Life support was subsequently withdrawn and Charlie died on 28 July 2017.Box 1 ### Case summary and timeline21–23 Charlie Gard was born at full term, apparently healthy, in August 2016. At a few weeks of age his parents (...) noticed early signs of muscle weakness. At 2 months of age, he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital with poor feeding, failure to thrive and respiratory failure. He was admitted to intensive care, where investigations led to the diagnosis of a rare severe mitochondrial disorder – infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The specific genetic form of MDDS in Charlie Gard had previously been reported in approximately 15 infants, with typical clinical features including early onset, rapid progression and death in infancy.24 By that point, Charlie was paralysed and unable to breathe without respiratory support. He was found to have congenital deafness, and his heart, liver and kidneys were affected by the disorder. Doctors felt that Charlie’s prognosis was extremely poor. In early 2017, Charlie’s parents identified an experimental treatment, previously used in a different form of MDDS, which they hoped might benefit Charlie. In mouse models of a myopathic form of MDDS, early supplementation with deoxypryrimidine nucleosides apparently bypasses the genetic defect and leads to a reduction in the biochemical defect and in the severity of the clinical phenotype.25 26 Doctors at GOSH initially planned to use nucleoside treatment in Charlie, but in January he developed evidence of electrical seizures, and clinicians became convinced that treatment, both continued intensive care and the requested …. (shrink)
When is it permissible to allow a newborn infant to die on the basis of their future quality of life? The prevailing official view is that treatment may be withdrawn only if the burdens in an infant's future life outweigh the benefits. In this paper I outline and defend an alternative view. On the Threshold View, treatment may be withdrawn from infants if their future well-being is below a threshold that is close to, but above the zero-point of well-being. I (...) present four arguments in favor of the Threshold View, and identify and respond to several counterarguments. I conclude that it is justifiable in some circumstances for parents and doctors to decide to allow an infant to die even though the infant's life would be worth living. The Threshold View provides a justification for treatment decisions that is more consistent, more robust, and potentially more practical than the standard view. (shrink)
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic raises a host of challenging ethical questions at every level of society. However, some of the most acute questions relate to decision making in intensive care. The problem is that a small but significant proportion of patients develop severe viral pneumonitis and respiratory failure. It now seems likely that the number of critically ill patients will overwhelm the capacity of intensive care units within many health systems, including the National Health Service in the UK. The experience (...) of Northern Italy—a couple of weeks ahead of the UK, suggests that it will simply not be possible to provide mechanical ventilation to every patient who might need it. When the crunch comes, the unpalatable question facing clinicians is which patient to save. There are some obvious strategies to avoid or reduce the problem—through measures to increase intensive care capacity, and via society-level interventions to reduce the spread of the virus. These are vitally important, but unfortunately they are unlikely to prevent the problem of demand outstripping supply from occurring. What, then, should clinicians do? How should they allocate the scarce resource of intensive care—particularly over the coming weeks as the crisis escalates? There are different values at stake in triage decisions, but at a basic level the key values are those of benefit and …. (shrink)
Les Arts et les Images se veut une introduction aux principaux terrains d’investigation de Dominic McIver Lopes, philosophe canadien contemporain, figure incontournable de l’esthétique et de la philosophie de l’art en langue anglaise au cours des vingt dernières années. Il ouvre une réflexion sur les méthodes employées en esthétique et philosophie de l’art aujourd’hui, qu’on soit un philosophe dit « analytique » ou bien « continental », Lopes cherchant à penser le lien entre les deux traditions. -/- À travers (...) leur textes respectifs, Laure Blanc-Benon, Jacques Morizot et Frédéric Pouillaude instaurent un dialogue avec Dominic McIver Lopes, sur plusieurs de ses livres : Understanding Pictures (1996), ouvrage de référence sur la question philosophique des images et de la représentation, Beyond Art (2014), livre qui traite de la question classique au XXe siècle de la définition de l’œuvre d’art, et Four Arts of Photography (2016) dans lequel Dominic Lopes met en avant une nouvelle philosophie de la photographie. À ce dialogue s’ajoutent trois textes de Lopes inédits en français, portant sur la méthode de l’esthétique et de la philosophie de l’art et également sur la question de la beauté et de la valeur esthétique. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore three separate questions that are relevant to assessing the prudential value of life in infants with severe life-limiting illness. First, what is the value or disvalue of a short life? Is it in the interests of a child to save her life if she will nevertheless die in infancy or very early childhood? Second, how does profound cognitive impairment affect the balance of positives and negatives in a child’s future life? Third, if the life of (...) a child with life-limiting illness is prolonged, how much suffering will she experience and can any of it be alleviated? Is there a risk that negative experiences for such a child will remain despite the provision of palliative care? We argue that both the subjective and objective components of well-being for children could be greatly reduced if they are anticipated to have a short life that is affected by profound cognitive impairment. This does not mean that their overall well-being will be negative, but rather that there may be a higher risk of negative overall well-being if they are expected to experience pain, discomfort, or distress. Furthermore, we point to some of the practical limitations of therapies aimed at relieving suffering, such that there is a risk that suffering will go partially or completely unrelieved. Taken together, these considerations imply that some life-prolonging treatments are not in the best interests of infants with severe life-limiting illness. (shrink)
Interpreters of Hume on causation consider that an advantage of the ‘quasi-realist’ reading is that it does not commit him to scepticism or to an error theory about causal reasoning. It is unique to quasi-realism that it maintains this positive epistemic result together with a rejection of metaphysical realism about causation: the quasi-realist supplies an appropriate semantic theory in order to justify the practice of talking ‘as if’ there were causal powers in the world. In this paper, I problematise the (...) quasi-realist reading of Hume on causation by showing how quasi-realism does not speak to inductive scepticism. I also offer evidence that Hume takes inductive scepticism to result from his theory of causation, and that his scepticism is tied to his rejection of metaphysical causal realism. (shrink)
End-of-life decision-making is controversial. There are different views about when it is appropriate to limit life-sustaining treatment, and about what palliative options are permissible. One approach to decisions of this nature sees consensus as crucial. Decisions to limit treatment are made only if all or a majority of caregivers agree. We argue, however, that it is a mistake to require professional consensus in end-of-life decisions. In the first part of the article we explore practical, ethical, and legal factors that support (...) agreement. We analyse subjective and objective accounts of moral reasoning: accord is neither necessary nor sufficient for decisions. We propose an alternative norm for decisions – that of ‘professional dissensus’. In the final part of the article we address the role of agreement in end-of-life policy. Such guidelines can ethically be based on dissensus rather than consensus. Disagreement is not always a bad thing. (shrink)
There is not one but many ways to picture the world--Australian "x-ray" pictures, cubish collages, Amerindian split-style figures, and pictures in two-point perspective each draw attention to different features of what they represent. Understanding Pictures argues that this diversity is the central fact with which a theory of figurative pictures must reckon. Lopes advances the theory that identifying pictures' subjects is akin to recognizing objects whose appearances have changed over time. He develops a schema for categorizing the different ways pictures (...) represent--the different kinds of meaning they have--and argues that that depiction's epistemic value lies in its representational diversity. He also offers a novel account of the phenomenology of pictorial experience, comparing pictures to visual prostheses like mirrors and binoculars. (shrink)
Predictions of poor prognosis for critically ill patients may become self-fulfilling if life-sustaining treatment or resuscitation is subsequently withheld on the basis of that prediction. This paper outlines the epistemic and normative problems raised by self-fulfilling prophecies (SFPs) in intensive care. Where predictions affect outcome, it can be extremely difficult to ascertain the mortality rate for patients if all treatment were provided. SFPs may lead to an increase in mortality for cohorts of patients predicted to have poor prognosis, they may (...) lead doctors to feel causally responsible for the deaths of their patients, and they may compromise honest communication with patients and families about prognosis. However, I argue that the self-fulfilling prophecy is inevitable when life-sustaining treatment is withheld or withdrawn in the face of uncertainty. SFPs do not necessarily make treatment limitation decisions problematic. To minimize the effects of SFPs, it is essential to carefully collect and appraise evidence about prognosis. Doctors need to be honest with themselves and with patients and their families about uncertainty and the limits of knowledge. (shrink)
Aesthetic hedonism is the view that to be aesthetically good is to please. For most aesthetic hedonists, aesthetic normativity is hedonic normativity. This paper argues that Kant's third critique contains resources for a non-hedonic account of aesthetic normativity as sourced in autonomy as self-legislation. A case is made that the account is also Kant's because it ties his aesthetics into a key theme of his larger philosophy.
Given its brevity, Plato's Meno covers an astonishingly wide array of topics: politics, education, virtue, definition, philosophical method, mathematics, the nature and acquisition of knowledge and immortality. Its treatment of these, though profound, is tantalisingly short, leaving the reader with many unresolved questions. This book confronts the dialogue's many enigmas and attempts to solve them in a way that is both lucid and sympathetic to Plato's philosophy. Reading the dialogue as a whole, it explains how different arguments are related to (...) one another and how the interplay between characters is connected to the philosophical content of the work. In a new departure, this book's exploration focuses primarily on the content and coherence of the dialogue in its own right and not merely in the context of other dialogues, making it required reading for all students of Plato, be they from the world of classics or philosophy. (shrink)
What is computer art? Do the concepts we usually employ to talk about art, such as ‘meaning’, ‘form’ or ‘expression’ apply to computer art? _A Philosophy of Computer Art_ is the first book to explore these questions. Dominic Lopes argues that computer art challenges some of the basic tenets of traditional ways of thinking about and making art and that to understand computer art we need to place particular emphasis on terms such as ‘interactivity’ and ‘user’. Drawing on a (...) wealth of examples he also explains how the roles of the computer artist and computer art user distinguishes them from makers and spectators of traditional art forms and argues that computer art allows us to understand better the role of technology as an art medium. (shrink)
The actions of pregnant women can cause harm to their future children. However, even if the possible harm is serious and likely to occur, the law will generally not intervene. A pregnant woman is an autonomous person who is entitled to make her own decisions. A fetus in-utero has no legal right to protection. In striking contrast, the child, if born alive, may sue for injury in-utero; and the child is entitled to be protected by being removed from her parents (...) if necessary for her protection. Indeed, there is a legal obligation for health professionals to report suspected harm, and for authorities to protect the child's wellbeing. We ask whether such contradictory responses are justified. Should the law intervene where a pregnant woman's actions risk serious and preventable fetal injury? The argument for legal intervention to protect a fetus is sometimes linked to the concept of ‘fetal personhood’ and the moral status of the fetus. In this article we will suggest that even if the fetus is not regarded as a separate person, and does not have the legal or moral status of a child, indeed, even if the fetus is regarded as having no legal or moral status, there is an ethical and legal case for intervening to prevent serious harm to a future child. We examine the arguments for and against intervention on behalf of the future child, drawing on the example of excessive maternal alcohol intake. (shrink)
The chief sources of aesthetic experience for most people around the world are now the mass broadcasting and recording technologies. Yet analytic aesthetics has had little to say about mass art. Recent accounts of art and the aesthetic, while accommodating the consensus concerning central cases, are largely propelled by problem cases drawn from the avant-garde, and one wonders what the effect will be of adding works of mass art to the equation. One also wonders whether making room for mass art (...) will put pressure on standard views about art and emotion, or the moral or political content of art. It’s time for a comprehensive and sensible philosophical examination of mass art, and this is what we have in Noël Carroll’s latest book. (shrink)
This book offers a bold new approach to the philosophy of art. General theories of art don't work: they can't deal with problem cases. Instead of trying to define art, we should accept that a work of art is nothing but a work in one of the arts. Lopes's buck passing theory works well for the avant garde, illuminating its radical provocations.
Clinical guidelines summarise available evidence on medical treatment, and provide recommendations about the most effective and cost-effective options for patients with a given condition. However, sometimes patients do not desire the best available treatment. Should doctors in a publicly-funded healthcare system ever provide sub-optimal medical treatment? On one view, it would be wrong to do so, since this would violate the ethical principle of beneficence, and predictably lead to harm for patients. It would also, potentially, be a misuse of finite (...) health resources. In this paper, we argue in favour of permitting sub-optimal choices on the basis of value pluralism, uncertainty, patient autonomy and responsibility. There are diverse views about how to evaluate treatment options, and patients’ right to self-determination and taking responsibility for their own lives should be respected. We introduce the concept of cost-equivalence, as a way of defining the boundaries of permissible pluralism in publicly-funded healthcare systems. As well as providing the most effective, available treatment for a given condition, publicly-funded healthcare systems should provide reasonable suboptimal medical treatments that are equivalent in cost to the optimal treatment. We identify four forms of cost-equivalence, and assess the implications of CE for decision-making. We evaluate and reject counterarguments to CE. Finally, we assess the relevance of CE for other treatment decisions including requests for potentially superior treatment. (shrink)
The four thoughtful commentaries on our feature article draw out interesting empirical and normative questions. The aim of our study was to examine the views of a sample of the general public about a set of cases of disputed treatment for severely impaired infants.1 We compared those views with legal determinations that treatment was or was not in the infants’ best interests, and with some published ethical frameworks for decisions. We deliberately did not draw explicit ethical conclusions from our survey (...) findings, both because of the acknowledged limitations of survey methodology, and because survey conclusions cannot, in themselves, yield answers about what the right threshold should be for providing or withholding treatment.2 In this brief response, we are going to address head-on the important ethical question raised within our survey – when life is worth living for an infant. We follow-up on the suggestion of two commentators that the presence or absence of “relational potential” might be ethically important to report in studies of the outcome of severely impaired infants,3 and to whether parental requests for treatment should be supported.4 The notion of “relational potential” was introduced by John Arras in a 1984 commentary.5 Arras was responding to the Baby Doe Regulations and a …. (shrink)
In a series of recent works, Ian Hacking has produced a model of social causation in mental illness and begun to sketch in outline how this might be integrated with the medical model of psychiatry. This article elaborates and revises Hacking 's model of social forces, criticizes him for attempting a merely semantic resolution of the tension between the social and the biological, and sketches an alternative approach that builds upon his substantial insights.
Life-sustaining treatment is sometimes withdrawn or withheld from critically ill newborn infants with poor prognosis. Guidelines relating to such decisions place emphasis on the best interests of the infant. However, in practice, parental views and parental interests are often taken into consideration.In this paper I draw on the example of newborn infants with severe muscle weakness. I provide two arguments that parental interests should be given some weight in decisions about treatment, and that they should be given somewhat more weight (...) in decisions about newborns than for older children. Firstly, the interests of the infant and of parents intersect, and are hard to separate. Parents’ views about treatment may be relevant to an assessment of the infant’s interests, and they may also affect those interests. Secondly, the interests of the infant in her future are relatively reduced by her developmental immaturity. In some situations parents’ welfare interests outweigh those of the infant. However, I argue that this would not justify treatment limitation except in the setting of severe impairment. (shrink)
Comment on "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'". Arguments in defense of the death penalty typically fall into one of two groups. Consequentialist arguments point out beneficial aspects of capital punishment, normally focusing on deterrence, while non-consequentialist arguments seek to justify execution independently of its effects, for example, by appealing to the concept of retribution. Michael Keane's target article "The ethical 'elephant' in the death penalty 'room'" should, we believe, be read as an interesting new consequentialist defense of (...) physician involvement in capital punishment. (shrink)
Controversial cases in medical ethics are, by their very nature, divisive. There are disagreements that revolve around questions of fact or of value. Ethical debate may help in resolving those disagreements. However, sometimes in such cases, there are opposing reasonable views arising from deep-seated differences in ethical values. It is unclear that agreement and consensus will ever be possible. In this paper, we discuss the recent controversial case of Vincent Lambert, a French man, diagnosed with a vegetative state, for whom (...) there were multiple court hearings over a number of years. Both family and health professionals were divided about whether artificial nutrition and hydration should be withdrawn and Lambert allowed to die. We apply a ‘dissensus’ approach to his case and argue that the ethical issue most in need of scrutiny is different from the one that was the focus of attention. (shrink)
In many forms of severe acute brain injury there is an early phase when prognosis is uncertain, followed later by physiological recovery and the possibility of more certain predictions of future impairment. There may be a window of opportunity for withdrawal of life support early, but if decisions are delayed there is the risk that the patient will survive with severe impairment. In this paper I focus on the example of neonatal encephalopathy and the question of the timing of prognostic (...) tests and decisions to continue or to withdraw life-sustaining treatment. Should testing be performed early or later; and how should parents decide what to do given the conflicting values at stake? I apply decision theory to the problem, using sensitivity analysis to assess how different features of the tests or different values would affect a decision to perform early or late prognostic testing. I draw some general conclusions from this model for decisions about the timing of testing in neonatal encephalopathy. Finally I consider possible solutions to the problem posed by the window of opportunity. Decision theory highlights the costs of uncertainty. This may prompt further research into improving prognostic tests. But it may also prompt us to reconsider our current attitudes towards the palliative care of newborn infants predicted to be severely impaired. (shrink)
Aesthetic hedonists agree that an aesthetic value is a property of an item that stands in some constitutive relation to pleasure. Surprisingly, however, aesthetic hedonists need not reduce aesthetic normativity to hedonic normativity. They might demarcate aesthetic value as a species of hedonic value, but deny that the reason we have to appreciate an item is simply that it pleases. Such is the approach taken by an important strand of South Asian rasa theory that is represented with great clarity and (...) ingenuity in the work of K. C. Bhattacharyya. Bhattacharyya is an aesthetic hedonist who grounds aesthetic normativity in freedom. (shrink)
Certain representations are bound in special ways to our sensory capacities. What do these representations have in common, and what makes them different from representations of other kinds? Dominic Gregory employs novel ideas on perceptual states and sensory perspectives to explain the special nature of distinctively sensory representations.
Dominic Scott compares the Republic and Nicomachean Ethics from a methodological perspective. He argues that Plato and Aristotle distinguish similar levels of argument in the defence of justice, and that they both follow the same approach: Plato because he thinks it will suffice, Aristotle because he thinks there is no need to go beyond it.
The sorites paradox is the name given to a class of paradoxical arguments, also known as little by little arguments, which arise as a result of the indeterminacy surrounding limits of application of the predicates involved. For example, the concept of a heap appears to lack sharp boundaries and, as a consequence of the subsequent indeterminacy surrounding the extension of the predicate ‘is a heap’, no one grain of wheat can be identified as making the difference between being a heap (...) and not being a heap. Given then that one grain of wheat does not make a heap, it would seem to follow that two do not, thus three do not, and so on. In the end it would appear that no amount of wheat can make a heap. We are faced with paradox since from apparently true premises by seemingly uncontroversial reasoning we arrive at an apparently false conclusion. (shrink)
Vagueness, Logic and Ontology explores various responses to the philosophical problems generated by vagueness and its associated paradox - the sorites paradox. Hyde argues that the theoretical space in which vagueness is sometimes ontologically grounded and modelled by a truth-functional logic affords a coherent response to the problems posed by vagueness. Showing how the concept of vagueness can be applied to the world, Hyde's ontological account proposes a substantial revision of orthodox semantics, metaphysics and logic. This book will be of (...) particular interest to readers in philosophy, linguistics, cognitive science and geographic information systems. (shrink)