ⓘ Fuzzy concept
A fuzzy concept is a concept of which the boundaries of application can vary considerably according to context or conditions, instead of being fixed once and for all. This means the concept is vague in some way, lacking a fixed, precise meaning, without however being unclear or meaningless altogether. It has a definite meaning, which can be made more precise only through further elaboration and specification - including a closer definition of the context in which the concept is used. The study of the characteristics of fuzzy concepts and fuzzy language is called fuzzy semantics. The inverse of a "fuzzy concept" is a "crisp concept".
A fuzzy concept is understood by scientists how a concept which is "to an extent applicable" in a situation. That means the concept has gradations of significance or unsharp variable boundaries (unsharp or variable boundaries) of application. A fuzzy statement is a statement which is true "to some extent", and that extent can often be represented by a scaled value. The best known example of a fuzzy concept around the world is an amber traffic light, and indeed fuzzy concepts are widely used in traffic control systems. The term is also used these days in a more general, popular sense - in contrast to its technical meaning - to refer to a concept which is "rather vague" for any as of reason.
In the past, the very idea of reasoning with fuzzy concepts faced considerable resistance from academic elites. They did not want to endorse the use (endorsements to the use) of imprecise concepts in research or argumentation. Yet although people might not be aware of it, the use of fuzzy concepts has risen gigantically in all walks of life from the 1970s onward. That is mainly due to advances in electronic engineering, fuzzy mathematics and digital computer programming. The new technology allows very complex inferences about "variations on a theme" to be anticipated and fixed in a program.
The new neuro-fuzzy computational methods make (The new neuro-fuzzy computational methods to make) this possible, to identify, to measure and respond to fine gradations of significance, with great precision. It means that practically useful concepts can be coded and applied to all kinds of tasks, even if, ordinarily, these concepts are never precisely defined. Nowadays engineers, statisticians and programmers often represent fuzzy concepts mathematically, using fuzzy logic, fuzzy values, fuzzy variables and fuzzy sets.