Language and the complexity of the world

Abstract

Nature is complex, exceedingly so. A repercussion of this “complex world constraint” is that it is, in practice, impossible to connect words to the world in a foolproof manner. In this paper I explore the ways in which the complex world constraint makes vagueness, or more generally imprecision, in language in practice unavoidable, illuminates what vagueness comes to, and guides us to a sensible way of thinking about truth. Along the way we see that the problem of ceteris paribus laws is exactly the problem of vagueness and susceptible to similar treatment.

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2021-08-29

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