Implicit comparatives and the Sorites

A person with one dollar is poor. If a person with n dollars is poor, then so is a person with n + 1 dollars. Therefore, a person with a billion dollars is poor. True premises, valid reasoning, a false a conclusion. This is an instance of the Sorites-paradox. (There are infinitely many such paradoxes. A man with an IQ of 1 is unintelligent. If a man with an IQ of n is unintelligent, so is a man with an IQ of n+1. Therefore a man with an IQ of 200 is unintelligent.) Most attempts to solve this paradox reject some law of classical logic, usually the law of bivalence. I show that this paradox can be solved while holding on to all the laws of classical logic. Given any predicate that generates a Sorites-paradox, significant use of that predicate is actually elliptical for a relational statement: a significant token of "Bob is poor" means that Bob is poor compared to x, for some value of x. Once a value of x is supplied, a definite cutoff line between having and not having the paradox-generating predicate is supplied. This neutralizes the inductive step in the associated Sorites argument, and the would-be paradox is avoided.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/01445340500232401
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive John-Michael Kuczynski, Implicit comparatives and the Sorites
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Roy A. Sorensen (1988). Blindspots. Oxford University Press.
Timothy Williamson (2010). Vagueness and Ignorance. In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume. Routledge 145 - 177.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

45 ( #75,553 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

23 ( #38,308 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.