The sorites paradox and higher-order vagueness

Synthese 85 (3):417-474 (1990)
One thousand stones, suitably arranged, might form a heap. If we remove a single stone from a heap of stones we still have a heap; at no point will the removal of just one stone make sufficient difference to transform a heap into something which is not a heap. But, if this is so, we still have a heap, even when we have removed the last stone composing our original structure. So runs the Sorites paradox. Similar paradoxes can be constructed with any predicate which, like 'heap', displays borderline vagueness. Although I have frequently heard it said that there is no completely credible and satisfying dissolution of the paradoxes of the Sorites family; and although there is no possible approach to dissolution which has not been at least partially explored, philosophers continue glibly to use vague language as though it were entirely unproblematic. Since no argument has ever been produced which would justify our ignoring the para~doxes, this situation is extremely unsatisfactory.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00484836
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References found in this work BETA
Donald Davidson (2010). Truth and Meaning. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Synthese. Routledge 304 - 323.
David Lewis (1979). Scorekeeping in a Language Game. Journal of Philosophical Logic 8 (1):339--359.

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Citations of this work BETA
Patrick Greenough (2005). Contextualism About Vagueness and Higher-Order Vagueness. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):167–190.
J. A. Burgess (2008). When is Circularity in Definitions Benign? Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231):214–233.
David Barnett (2011). Does Vagueness Exclude Knowledge? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):22 - 45.
David Barnett (2013). Vague Entailment. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):325 - 335.

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