A procedural solution to the unexpected hanging and sorites paradoxes

Mind 107 (428):751-762 (1998)
The paradox of the Unexpected Hanging, related prediction paradoxes, and the Sorites paradoxes all involve reasoning about ordered collections of entities: days ordered by date in the case of the Unexpected Hanging; men ordered by the number of hairs on their heads the case of the bald man version of the Sorites. The reasoning then assigns each entity a value that depends on the previously assigned value of one of the neighboring entities. The final result is paradoxical because it conflicts with the obviously correct, commonsensical value. The paradox is due to the serial procedure of assigning a value based on the newly assigned value of the neighbor. An alternative procedure is to assign each value based only on the original values of neighbors - a parallel procedure. That procedure does not give paradoxical answers.
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DOI 10.1093/mind/107.428.751
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