David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
If grains of sand are added, one by one, to a growing collection of sand on an otherwise empty table, there will eventually be a "heap" of sand on the table. It seems impossible, however, to specify the precise point at which the collection becomes a heap. One grain of sand is certainly not a heap of sand. Does two grains comprise a heap? Can the collection be called a heap at three grains, at 10 grains, or at 500 grains? The commonly used term "heap" is vague -- there is no clear line, which demarcates the heaps from the non-heaps. The difficulty presented by this vagueness becomes clear when we examine the sorites paradox, a very old philosophical problem, which is centered around the premise that the term "heap" has no precise definition. If it is impossible to specify exactly which objects are heaps and which objects are not heaps, how do we continue to use the term with such impunity? Is it possible for a system of logic to model the use of vague terms, if their application is often "neither true nor false," or, "only a matter of interpretation?" How are we to understand the role of vagueness within language?
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Tuomas E. Tahko (2009). Against the Vagueness Argument. Philosophia 37 (2):335-340.
Timothy Williamson (1994). Vagueness. Routledge.
Jesse Prinz (1998). Vagueness, Language, and Ontology. Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 6.
Rosanna Keefe (2010). Teaching & Learning Guide For: Vagueness: Supervaluationism. Philosophy Compass 5 (2):213-215.
Dominic Hyde, Sorites Paradox. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Rosanna Keefe (2000). Theories of Vagueness. Cambridge University Press.
Elizabeth Barnes (2005). Vagueness in Sparseness: A Study in Property Ontology. Analysis 65 (288):315–321.
Ruth Manor (2006). Solving the Heap. Synthese 153 (2):171 - 186.
Timothy Williamson (1996). What Makes It a Heap? Erkenntnis 44 (3):327 - 339.
Scott Soames (2012). Vagueness in the Law. In Marmor Andrei (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Law. Routledge 95.
Ulrich Pardey (2002). Unscharfe Grenzen.Über Die Haufen-Paradoxie, den Darwinismus Und Die Rekursive Grammatik. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (2):323-348.
Added to index2012-06-08
Total downloads10 ( #227,665 of 1,725,153 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #349,161 of 1,725,153 )
How can I increase my downloads?