Solving the Heap

Synthese 153 (2):171 - 186 (2006)
Abstract
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 No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,788
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

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

29 ( #59,116 of 1,099,024 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #114,795 of 1,099,024 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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