Not Exactly: In Praise of Vagueness

Paperback | May 16, 2012

byKees van Deemter

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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 (a new class of programs will allow computers to handle descriptions such as "the man in the yellowshirt"). 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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From the Publisher

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 th...

Kees van Deemter is a Reader in Computing Science at the University of Aberdeen. He works in computational linguistics, the area of artificial intelligence where computer science meets linguistics and his main areas of expertise are computational semantics and natural language generation. He has previously authored 90 research publicat...

other books by Kees van Deemter

Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 7.72 × 5.08 × 0.68 inPublished:May 16, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199645736

ISBN - 13:9780199645732

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Table of Contents

Prologue1. Introduction: False ClarityPart 1: Vagueness, where one leasts expects it2. Sex and similarity: On the Fiction of Species3. Measurements that Matter4. Identity and Gradual Change5. Vagueness in Numbers and MathsPart II: Theories of Vagueness6. The Linguistics of Vagueness7. Reasoning with Vague Information8. Parrying a Paradox9. Degrees of TruthPart III: Working Models of Vagueness10. Artificial Intelligence11. When to be Vague: Computers as Authors12. The Explusion from Boole's ParadiseEpilogue: Guaranteed CorrectEndnotesFurther ReadingBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Engaging and approachable book." --John Gilbey, Times Higher Education Supplement 04/02/2010