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Not Exactly In Praise of Vagueness

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ISBN-10: 0199545901

ISBN-13: 9780199545902

Edition: 2010

Authors: Kees van Deemter

List price: $16.99
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Description:

Not everything is black and white. Our daily lives are full of vagueness or fuzziness. Language is the most obvious example - for instance, when we describe someone as tall, it is as though there is a particular height beyond which a person can be considered 'tall'. Likewise the terms 'blond' or 'overweight' in common usage. We often think in discontinuous categories when we are considering something continuous.In this book, van Deemter cuts across various disciplines in considering the nature and importance of vagueness. He looks at the principles of measurement, and how we choose categories; the vagueness lurking behind what seems at first sight crisp concepts such as that of the biological 'species'; uncertainties in grammar and the impact of vagueness on the programmes of Chomsky and Montague; vagueness and mathematical logic; computers, vague descriptions, and Natural Language Generation in AI (anew class of programs will allow computers to handle descriptions such as 'the man in the yellow shirt'). Van Deemter shows why vagueness is in various circumstances both unavoidable and useful, and how we are increasingly able to handle fuzziness in mathematical logic and computer science.
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Book details

List price: $16.99
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 1/28/2010
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.75" long x 1.75" tall
Weight: 1.496

List of Figures
Prologue
Introduction: False Clarity
Vagueness
Paradox
Academic perspectives on vagueness
Vagueness, Where One Least Expects It
Sex and Similarity: On the Fiction of Species
What is a species?
The Ensatina salamander
Lessons learned
Measurements that Matter
A short history of the metre
Obesity
Poverty
Intelligence
Dialogue intermezzo: After the job interviews
Scientific discovery and word meaning
Identity and Gradual Change
Identity: The case of Old Number One
Multiplying objects
Dialogue intermezzo: On Old Number One
What makes a book?
What makes a person?
What is a language?
Digression: Protection against change
So what?
Vagueness in Numbers and Maths
Vagueness in mathematics
Talking about numbers
Which computer program is fastest?
Statistical significance
Theories of Vagueness
The Linguistics of Vagueness
Chomsky's machine: Computing grammaticality
Montague's machine: Computing meaning
The role of language corpora
Vague adjectives
The meaning of adjectives
Vagueness and ambiguity
Lack of specificity
Prototypes
Comparatives
Packaging what we say: Hedging
Future work
Reasoning with Vague Information
Reasoning with vague concepts
The sorites paradox
Vagueness as ignorance
Similarity is in the eye of the beholder: The case of colour
Dialogue intermezzo: On vagueness as ignorance
Continuity and vagueness
Parrying a Paradox
Logic and paradox
A crash course in classical logic
First deviation: Supervaluations and partial logic
Second deviation: Context-aware reasoning
Third deviation: Introspective agents
Degrees of Truth
Fuzzy logic
Dialogue intermezzo: On fuzzy logic
Fuzzy logic and the sorites paradox
Probabilistic versions of many-valued logic
What's wrong with degrees?
Working Models of Vagueness
Artificial Intelligence
A brief history of AI
Artificial intelligence?
Qualitative reasoning
Applying fuzzy logic: An artificial doctor
The future of AI
When to be Vague: Computers as Authors
Example: Generating vague descriptions
Dialogue intermezzo: What use is a theory?
Tolerance revisited
A game theory perspective
Vagueness in the absence of conflict
Why do we speak?
The Expulsion from Boole's Paradise
Earlier questions revisited
Coping with vagueness
Epilogue: Guaranteed Correct
Notes
Recommended Reading
References
Index