PSL Research University

Paul Egré is a Researcher at the CNRS Institut Jean-Nicod, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy of Ecole Normale Supérieure. Most of his research is in the areas of philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and epistemology. He has written extensively on the topic of vagueness in language. He has collaborated regularly with the Department of Philosophy at NYU since 2013, first as a visiting professor in 2013, and as a coordinator of the philosophy program at NYU Paris in 2015. Paul Egré is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Review of Philosophy and Psychology, a quarterly journal published by Springer.



Why is Our Language Vague?

Most of the words we use in everyday language, such as “tall,” “expensive,” or “young,” are vague words. Such words are called “vague” because our use fails to delineate a sharp boundary between objects to which they apply and objects to which they do not apply. To say someone is tall is to say something less precise than to say that he or she is taller than 187cm. Likewise, to say that someone is young is not to communicate any precise age or even age range. Yet vague words can be used informatively, and most of what we communicate in ordinary conversation relies on vague expressions. In this talk, Egré will try to explain why our language is vague in the way it is, and whether this is a defect or an advantage. A related issue he will consider is whether the phenomenon of vagueness in language originates from a single source, or from several different sources.

Time: 12:00 am
Location: Ukrainian Institute of America / Concert Hall