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If you keep removing single grains of sand from a heap, when is it no longer a heap? From discussions of the heap paradox in classical Greece, to modern formal approaches like fuzzy logic, Timothy Williamson traces the history of the problem of vagueness. He argues that standard logic and formal semantics apply even to vague languages and defends the controversial, realist view that vagueness is a form of ignorance - there really is a grain of sand whose removal turns a heap into a non-heap, but we can never know exactly which one it is.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 344 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 20.83mm | 454g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0415139805
  • 9780415139809
  • 471,507

Back cover copy

Vagueness is the first comprehensive treatment of this increasingly important topic in metaphysics and the philosophy of logic and language. Students in these areas and researchers in artificial intelligence and linguistics will find its non-technical approach invaluable. For the technically-minded, an appendix shows how the treatment can be formalized within the framework of epistemic logic.
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Table of contents

Preface Introduction 1. The Early History of Sorites Paradoxes 2. The Ideal of Precision 3. The Rehabilitation of Vagueness 4. Many-Valued Logic and Degrees of Truth 5. Supervaluations 6. Nihilism 7. Vagueness as Ignorance 8. Inexact Knowledge 9. Vagueness in the World Appendix: The Logic of Clarity Notes Bibliography Index
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Review quote

""Vagueness provides a copmlete and lucid account of one of the hottest topics in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of logic . . . His effort drives epistemicism to a new level of depth and distinction."
-Roy Sorenson, New York University
"Nothing should henceforth be written on vagueness which fails to learn from this book. It should not be read only for its contribution to vagueness, but also for what it says about knowledge; for the purity of its style. . . and as an example of philosophy at its best."
-Mark R. Sainsbury, "British Journal of the Philosophy of Science
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Rating details

23 ratings
4.13 out of 5 stars
5 35% (8)
4 43% (10)
3 22% (5)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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