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Justina Berskyte

PhD thesis

Fuzziness in Contexts


Research interests

Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic, Formal Semantics

Current research

My overall project is to look at the relationship between fuzzy concepts and contexts, with the aim of providing an account that incorporates fuzzy logic and context-sensitive semantics.

A concept is fuzzy if it is gradable or applicable to greater or lesser degrees. For example, take the concept of being old, there does not appear to be a definite threshold for oldness. Oldness comes in degrees. Natural language sentences containing fuzzy concepts are thus true or false to a certain extent or in certain respects.

The existence of fuzzy concepts has motivated logicians and semanticists to consider fuzzy logic, which is an infinite-valued logic that allows a sentence to be true to a certain degree – rather than employ clear truth and falsity in every case. Fuzzy logic seems to be able to account for the fuzzy concepts, thus still proving a means to deal with natural language sentences (which contain fuzzy concepts) in a somewhat systematic manner.

I am looking at different linguistic phenomena, analysing how they behave in different contexts, and using fuzzy semantics to try and account for them. Specifically, I am focusing on: pure indexicals and demonstratives; gradable adjectives; predicates of personal taste; and expressives.

Other information

I got my BA and MA at the University of Manchester. My PhD research is funded by the School of Social Sciences.