David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Synthese 153 (2):171 - 186 (2006)
The present offers a pragmatic solution of the Heap Paradox, based on the idea that vague predicates are “indexical” in the sense that their denotation does not only depend on the context of their use, but it is a function of the context. The analysis is based on the following three claims. The borderlines of vague terms are undetermined in the sense that though they may be determined in some contexts, they may differ from one context to the next. Vagueness serves the important communicative function, enabling speakers to identify entities as objects (as things we can talk about) in terms of some quantitative differences between the “object” and its background in the context. Thus, in some contexts we can naturally partition the group of men uniquely so as to distinguish the bald from the not-bald. Whether a man with a given hair number is among the bald in a given context depends not only on his own hair number but also on the hair number of others in that context. This provides the background for the claim that when we assert that John is bald, we presuppose that there is a unique demarcation to the bald in that context. I consider the truth of the Paradox’s statements in contexts where the presupposition is true and in contexts where it is false. The analysis yields that the contradiction is avoided because though each of the statements is often true, never are all the sentences in the Paradox true together.
|Keywords||Philosophy Philosophy Epistemology Logic Metaphysics Philosophy of Language|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
D. Barnett (2011). Does Vagueness Exclude Knowledge? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):22 - 45.
Kent Bach (2012). Context Dependence. In Manuel García-Carpintero & Max Kölbel (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Language. Continuum International Pub..
Dov Gabbay, Rolf Nossum & John Woods (2006). Context-Dependent Abduction and Relevance. Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (1):65 - 81.
David Barnett (2011). Does Vagueness Exclude Knowledge? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):22 - 45.
Christopher Gauker (2006). Against Stepping Back: A Critique of Contextualist Approaches to the Semantic Paradoxes. Journal of Philosophical Logic 35 (4):393 - 422.
Achille C. Varzi (2003). Vagueness. In L. Nadel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
Jason Stanley (2003). Context, Interest Relativity and the Sorites. Analysis 63 (4):269–281.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads31 ( #63,729 of 1,413,429 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #94,648 of 1,413,429 )
How can I increase my downloads?