Vagueness

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Author: Darren Hibbs
Categories: Philosophy of Language, Metaphysics 
Word Count: 1000

How tall do you have to be to be tall? How much hair do you have to lose to be bald? How old do you have to be to be old?

It is an unremarkable feature of language that words such as ‘tall’, ‘bald’, and ‘old’ are vague in the sense that it may be unclear whether someone is tall, bald, or old. (Many other words are vague also). However, vagueness plays a crucial role in a range of philosophical issues, including fundamental problems in logic, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of language.[1]

A heap of sand.A heap of sand.

1. Vague terms

If Kathryn has no money, then she is clearly not rich. However, suppose $20 is deposited into her bank account every minute of every day for a year. Assuming she did not spend the…

View original post 1,365 more words

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑