It's a recurring problem I encounter (maybe problem is a bit of a big word here):
I'm trying to describe something as not discrete, some phenomenon that shouldn't be described or thought of in binary or categorical terms, but allows for nuances of values, and then tend to use the adjective "continuous".
But then the more formally inclined among my friends tend to snarkily ask whether I'm sure the phenomenon I'm talking about is really continuous and eventually Cauchy will be brought up.
In other words, I'm wondering: what's a good synonym for "continuous" (in the sense above), without the strong mathematical associations?
So far I can think of:
"gradual", but that seems to be used slightly different, not describing a phenomenon mainly, but a process (at least, that's my intuition)
"graded", not sure about that one...
"gradable", feels like a good candidate, but is mainly understood as a linguistics terms (for adjectives). Right?
Any other (perhaps better) ideas?
(edit) By comment suggestion of FumbleFingers, some examples:
"I don't think anyone is absolutely, completely 'progressive' or 'conservative' in his or her political leanings, even if they claim that they are. In my opinion, the political belief system of any actual person is necessarily _____ [continuous/on a continuum/non-categorical/fluid/etc.]", where ____ is a placeholder for the word I am looking for.
Discussing philosophical concepts, like choice or free will, expressing the idea that these concepts should be thought of as [continuously] defined, not in discrete or categorical terms.
Similarly, in political discussions: political leanings (left/right) being on a spectrum, not binary.
Another two remarks:
Comment suggestion of "(not) simplistic" is solid, but ideally, I'd like to express it as a positive claim, not by negation
"Continuous" is perhaps the closest term I have, and the best in general, but it is most likely not the best when discussing with some people (since for them, the term is mainly understood in a formal sense).