Context-Dependence and the Sorites

In Section 1 we describe the Sorites paradox and lay out options for a solution. In Section 2 we consider approaches which deny that all premises are true, and note that these solutions all seem open to a certain serious objection. In Section 3 we note a problem for the principle of transitivity of the conditional and present a contex- tualist resolution of the problem, according to which the “counterexamples” to transitivity involve the informal fallacy of shifting the context. In Section 4 we consider the possibility of applying the contextualist resolution of the general transitivity puzzle to Sorites arguments in particular, discussing the views of Kamp, Pinkal and Soames. Our negative conclusion, developed in Section 5, is that the paradoxes can be formulated in a way that does not commit the informal fallacy: context is held fixed. In the final section, we suggest a different defense against the objection used in Section 2.
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