Sorting out the sorites

In Francesco Berto, Edwin Mares & Koji Tanaka (eds.), Paraconsistency: Logic and Applications. 329-348 (2013)
Supervaluational theories of vagueness have achieved considerable popularity in the past decades, as seen in eg [5], [12]. This popularity is only natural; supervaluations let us retain much of the power and simplicity of classical logic, while avoiding the commitment to strict bivalence that strikes many as implausible. Like many nonclassical logics, the supervaluationist system SP has a natural dual, the subvaluationist system SB, explored in eg [6], [28].1 As is usual for such dual systems, the classical features of SP (typically viewed as benefits) appear in SB in ‘mirror-image’ form, and the nonclassical features of SP (typically viewed as costs) also appear in SB in ‘mirror-image’ form. Given this circumstance, it can be difficult to decide which of two dual systems is better suited for an approach to vagueness.2 The present paper starts from a consideration of these two approaches— the supervaluational and the subvaluational—and argues that neither of them is well-positioned to give a sensible logic for vague language. §2 presents the systems SP and SB and argues against their usefulness. Even if we suppose that the general picture of vague language they are often taken to embody is accurate, we ought not arrive at systems like SP and SB. Instead, such a picture should lead us to truth-functional systems like strong Kleene logic (K3) or its dual LP. §3 presents these systems, and argues that supervaluationist and subvaluationist understandings of language are better captured there; in particular, that a dialetheic approach to vagueness based on the logic LP is a more sensible approach. §4 goes on to consider the phenomenon of higher-order vagueness within an LP-based approach, and §5 closes with a consideration of the sorites argument itself.
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