Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments


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Vagueness, philosophy: there are descriptions of objects or situations that are necessarily not fully determined. For example, the indication whether a given hue is still red or already orange is not always decidable. It is a property of the language to provide vague predicates. Whether vagueness is a property of the world is controversial. See also sorites, indeterminacy, under-determinateness, intensification, penumbra.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Item Summary Meta data
I 44
Vagueness/Language/Gärdenfors: Language is full of vagueness. Since Leibniz, philosophers have dreamed of a precise language.
I 45
Gärdenfors thesis: vague concepts are necessary in a language for reasons of cognitive economy. The vagueness results for the most part from the fact that we learn concepts through individual examples and counterexamples.
I 46
Explanation of the vagueness:
1. With changing boundary lines of the domains, there is a different probability for the localization of a prototype.
2. Vagueness stems from the changing weighting of the dimensions in one domain. The different weights result in changing contexts. > Perception/Gärdenfors, > prototypes/Gärdenfors, categories/Gärdenfors.
I 47
General: cognitive limitations relating to the location of the prototypes and relative weighting of the dimensions explain why terms are generally vague and why categorial perception is omnipresent.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Gä I
P. Gärdenfors
The Geometry of Meaning Cambridge 2014

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-02-19
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