Talk: Berta Grimau (Glasgow)
Fuzzifying Degree-Based Semantics
Some predicates apply to the world in degrees. For instance, 'warm', 'clean' and 'acute' all appear to be graded. Graded predicates have been the subject matter of important debates in philosophy, logic and linguistics -- often focussed on the sub-class of vague graded predicates. Despite the previous efforts to build bridges between the different communities, we believe there is room for more. In particular, the link between mathematical logic and linguistic semantics should be further explored.
In this talk, we aim to do that by sketching a way in which linguistic semantics could benefit from recent developments in mathematical fuzzy logic. We start by giving an overview of the wealth of data linguists have gathered, which our semantics should aim to account for. Next we present the mainstream view on graded predicates in linguistics (i.e. degree-based semantics) and we point out some of its weaknesses. Then we describe an alternative account which makes use of fuzzy logic. We argue that it overcomes the problems suffered by degree-based semantics and offer replies to some potential objections. We finish by noting a couple of limitations and suggesting a way to liberalise our semantics so as to overcome them.