David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Analysis 63 (4):269–281 (2003)
According to what I will call a contextualist solution to the sorites paradox, vague terms are context-sensitive, and one can give a convincing dissolution of the sorites paradox in terms of this context-dependency. The reason, according to the contextualist, that precise boundaries for expressions like “heap” or “tall for a basketball player” are so difficult to detect is that when two entities are sufficiently similar (or saliently similar), we tend to shift the interpretation of the vague expression so that if one counts as falling in the extension of the property expressed by that expression, so does the other. As a consequence, when we look for the boundary of the extension of a vague expression in its penumbra, our very looking has the effect of changing the interpretation of the vague expression so that the boundary is not where we are looking. This accounts for the persuasive force of sorites arguments
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References found in this work BETA
Hans Kamp & Uwe Monnich (1981). The Paradox of the Heap. In U. Mönnich (ed.), Journal of Symbolic Logic. Dordrecht 225--277.
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Citations of this work BETA
Joshua Armstrong & Jason Stanley (2011). Singular Thoughts and Singular Propositions. Philosophical Studies 154 (2):205 - 222.
Keith DeRose (2008). Gradable Adjectives: A Defence of Pluralism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):141-160.
John MacFarlane (2009). Nonindexical Contextualism. Synthese 166 (2):231--250.
Bert Baumgaertner (2012). Vagueness Intuitions and the Mobility of Cognitive Sortals. Minds and Machines 22 (3):213-234.
Diana Raffman (2005). How to Understand Contextualism About Vagueness: Reply to Stanley. Analysis 65 (287):244–248.
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