Granular Partitions and Vagueness

In Chris Welty & Barry Smith (eds.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS). New York, USA: ACM Press. pp. 309-320 (2003)
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There are some who defend a view of vagueness according to which there are intrinsically vague objects or attributes in reality. Here, in contrast, we defend a view of vagueness as a semantic property of names and predicates. All entities are crisp, on this view, but there are, for each vague name, multiple portions of reality that are equally good candidates for being its referent, and, for each vague predicate, multiple classes of objects that are equally good candidates for being its extension. We provide a new formulation of these ideas in terms of a theory of granular partitions. We show that this theory provides a general framework within which we can understand the relation between vague terms and concepts on the one hand and correlated portions of reality on the other. We also sketch how it might be possible to formulate within this framework a theory of vagueness which dispenses with the notion of truth-value gaps and other artifacts of more familiar approaches.
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