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  1. Roy Sorensen, The Vanishing Point: The Self as an Absence.
    The vanishing point is a representational gap that organizes the visual field. Study of this singularity revolutionized art in the fifteenth century. Further reflection on the vanishing point invites the conjecture that the self is an absence. This paper opens with perceptual peculiarities of the vanishing point and closes with the metaphysics of personal identity.
     
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  2. Roy A. Sorensen, Truthmaker Gaps and the No-No Paradox.
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  3. Roy Sorensen, Do Butterflies Dream?
    If people never dreamed, would it make a difference to how they picture reality? Or themselves? Philosophers would certainly lose the most natural way of introducing skepticism. The Chinese Taoist, Chuang Tzu (369 B. C. - ?), dreamt he was a butterfly. When he awoke he wondered whether he was a man who dreamt he was butterfly or a butterfly now dreaming he is a man. Any experience can be explained as either a faithful representation of the world or as (...)
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  4. Roy Sorensen, Forthcoming in Analysis Permission to Cheat.
    Seizing the opportunity to apply what they had learned, the students declared a cheating competition. Outspoken participants (future lawyers, politicians, and captains of industry) bragged about their ruses. But to their chagrin, an ethics student prevailed.
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  5. Roy Sorensen, Forthcoing in the Monist the Vanishing Point: A Model of the Self as an Absence.
    The vanishing point is a representational gap that organizes the visual field. Study of this singularity revolutionized art in the fifteenth century. Further reflection on the vanishing point invites the conjecture that the self is an absence. This paper opens with perceptual peculiarities of the vanishing point and closes with the metaphysics of personal identity.
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  6. Roy Sorensen, Published in Philosoohy and Phenomenological Research 42/166 (January 1992) 95-98.
    This enjoyable book presents a potpourri of paradoxes with the purpose of showing how they connect to serious philosophical issues. The main paradoxes are Zeno's, the sorites, Newcomb's problem, the paradoxes of confirmation, the surprise examination, and the paradoxes of self-reference. A final chapter defends the assumption that contradictions are unacceptable and an appendix throws in sixteen minor paradoxes. Along the way, R. M. Sainsbury peppers the reader with helpful queries and provocative asides.
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  7. Roy Sorensen, Published in the Philosophical Quarterly 48/192 July 1998: 319-334.
    "Logic and ethics are fundamentally the same, they are not more than duty to oneself"(Otto Weininger). So goes the head quotation of Ray Monk's biography Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. Monk thereby introduces Wittgenstein's peculiar admiration for the crackpot author of Sex and Character along with Wittgenstein's moralistic dedication to logic. Monk elaborates with anecdotes. For instance, Wittgenstein would pace Bertrand Russell's room mixing logic with selfcriticism. Russell asked Wittgenstein whether he was thinking about logic or his sins. "Both!" (...)
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  8. Roy Sorensen, Shadowplay.
    Imagine a child playing in the afternoon sun, suddenly jerking her arm one way then the other, trying to catch her shadow out. The game, the child soon learns, is one that she can never win. Her shadow moves the moment she does. Such childish games father common sense wisdom; when things move, so do their shadows. Or do they? A spinning sphere casts a shadow. But does its shadow also spin? The question takes you by surprise. Surely not? you (...)
     
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  9. Roy Sorensen, This Appears in Pyrrhonian Skepticism Ed. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Oxford Univerity Press).
    This report is also a consolidated response to three memoranda. The legal division requested an historical review as patent support. Engineering has solicited input on product development. Thirdly, I am responding to a plea from the Personnel Department. Their headhunters have asked for more specific advice on how to recruit skeptics.
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  10. Roy Sorensen, The Unbearable Lightness of Logical Conclusions.
    When my son Maxwell was a toddler, he did not believe he was ever an infant. This skepticism became manifest when he started identifying himself in photographs. Maxwell was accurate with photographs that were taken after age six months. But he dismissed earlier pictures as photographs of "BABIES".
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  11. Roy Sorensen, Can the Dead Speak?
    Do not pass by my epitaph, Wayfarer, but when you have stopped, hear and learn, then depart. There is no boat, To carry you to Hades, No ferryman Charon, No judge Aeacus, No Dog Cerberus. All of us below have become bones and ashes. Truly, I have nothing more to tell you. So depart, wayfarer, Lest dead though I am I seem to you to be a teller of vain tales.
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  12. R. A. Sorensen (forthcoming). Vagueness Entry in The. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  13. Roy Sorensen (2014). Fugu for Logicians. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
    What do you get when you cross a fallacy with a good argument? A fugu, that is, a valid argument that tempts you to reach its conclusion invalidly (named after the dangerous but delicious Japanese puffer fish). You have yielded to the temptation more than you realize. If you are a teacher, you may have served many fugus. They arise systematically through several mechanisms. Fugus are interesting intermediate cases that shed light on the following issues: bare evidentialism, false pleasure, philosophy (...)
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  14. Roy Sorensen (2013). Parsimony for Empty Space. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):1-16.
    Ockham's razor is popularly phrased as a prohibition against multiplying entities beyond necessity. This prohibition should extend to the receptacle for these entities. To state my thesis more positively and precisely, both qualitative and quantitative parsimony apply to space, time, and possibility. All other things equal, we ought to prefer a hypothesis that postulates less space. Smaller is better. Admittedly, scientists are ambivalent about economizing on the void. They praise simplicity. Yet astronomers have a history of helping themselves to as (...)
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  15. Roy Sorensen (2013). The Symmetry Problem. In Fred Feldman Ben Bradley (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death. 234.
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  16. Roy Sorensen (2013). The Twin Towers Riddle. Philosophical Studies 162 (1):109-117.
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  17. Roy Sorensen (2013). Zande Sorites. Erkenntnis:1-14.
    When Bertrand Russell alerted Gottlob Frege to an inconsistency in his Grundgesetze, Frege relinquished deep commitments. When Edward Evans-Pritchard alerted the Azande to an inconsistency in their beliefs about witchcraft inheritance, they did not revise their beliefs. Nor did they engage in the defensive maneuvers depicted in Plato’s dialogues. Evans-Pritchard characterized their indifference to contradiction as irrational. My historical thesis is that the ensuing anthropological debate mirrors the debate about the sorites paradox. I favor a simple explanation of this parallelism: (...)
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  18. R. Sorensen (2012). The Sorites and the Generic Overgeneralization Effect. Analysis 72 (3):444-449.
    Sorites arguments employ an induction step such as ‘Small numbers have small successors’. People deduce that there must be an exception to the generalization but are reluctant to conclude that the generalization is false. My hypothesis is that the reluctance is due to the "Generic Overgeneralization Effect". Although the propounder of the sorites paradox intends the induction step to be a universal generalization, hearers assimilate universal generalizations to generic generalizations (for instance, ‘All birds fly’ tends to be remembered as ‘Birds (...)
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  19. Roy Sorensen (2012). Dark Matters. The Philosophers' Magazine 56 (56):42-46.
    Shadows haunt the world of common sense by being “out there” independently of whether anyone is looking. Yet they are confi ned to a single sense: sight. Like ghosts, shadows evade tactile corroboration. They do not obey the laws governing material things.
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  20. Roy Sorensen (2012). Lying with Conditionals. Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):820-832.
    If you read this abstract, then you will understand what my essay is about. Under what conditions would the preceding assertion be a lie? Traditional definitions of lying are always applied to straight declaratives such as ‘The dog ate my homework’. This one sided diet of examples leaves us unprepared for sentences in which conditional probability governs assertibility. The truth-value of conditionals does not play a significant role in the sincere assertion of conditionals. Lying is insincere assertion. So the connection (...)
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  21. Abigail L. Rosenthal, Hallvard Lillehammer, Nml Nathan, William Lane Craig, Roy Sorensen & Christopher Miles Coope (2011). Philoso. Philosophy 86 (336).
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  22. R. Sorensen (2011). Bottomless Determination: How Yablo Can Get Proportionality From Gunk. Analysis 71 (4):627-630.
    Consider the beginningless sequence: ... being less than 0.01 grams, being less than 0.1 grams, being less than 1 gram, being less than 10 grams ... There is no super-determinate in this chain. Just as the possibility of bottomless constitution shows that there may be no fundamental layer of reality with respect to objects , the possibility of bottomless determination shows that there may be no fundamental level of reality with respect to properties . This possibility supports Stephen Yablo's proportionality (...)
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  23. R. Sorensen (2011). Simpler Without a Simplest: Ockham's Razor Implies Epistemic Dilemmas. Analysis 71 (2):260-264.
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  24. Roy Sorensen (2011). Interestingly Dull Numbers. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):655-673.
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  25. Roy Sorensen (2011). Silhouettes: A Reply From the Dark Side. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 26 (2):199-211.
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  26. Roy Sorensen (2011). Two Fields of Vision. Philosophical Issues 21 (1):456-473.
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  27. Roy Sorensen (2011). Vague Music. Philosophy 86 (2):231-248.
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  28. Roy Sorensen (2011). What Lies Behind Misspeaking. American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4):399.
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  29. Roy A. Sorensen (2011). Das Chinesische Musikzimmer. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 59 (1).
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  30. R. Sorensen (2010). Borderline Hermaphrodites: Higher-Order Vagueness by Example. Mind 119 (474):393-408.
    The Pyrrhonian sceptic Favorinus of Arelata personified indeterminacy, cultivating his (or her) borderline status to undermine dogmatism. Inspired by the techniques of Favorinus, I show, by example, that ‘vague’ has borderline cases. These concrete steps lead to a more abstract argument that ‘vague’ has borderline borderline cases and borderline borderline borderline cases. My specimens are intended supplement earlier non-constructive proofs of the vagueness of ‘vague’.
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  31. R. Sorensen (2010). Knowledge-Lies. Analysis 70 (4):608-615.
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  32. Roy Sorensen (2010). The Liar's Loophole. The Philosophers' Magazine 50 (50):106-107.
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  33. Roy Sorensen (2009). Generalizing the Disappearing Act: A Reply to István Aranyosi. [REVIEW] Acta Analytica 24 (1):11-15.
    In “The Reappearing Act” István Aranyosi postulates a new way of seeing to solve a puzzle posed in “The Disappearing Act;” an object that is exactly shaded can be seen simply by virtue of its contrast with its environment – just like a shadow. This object need not reflect, refract, absorb or block light. To undermine the motive for this heretical innovation, I generalize the puzzle to situations involving inexact shading. Aranyosi cannot extend his solution to these variations because he (...)
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  34. Roy Sorensen (2009). Meta-Agnosticism: Higher Order Epistemic Possibility. Mind 118 (471):777-784.
    In ‘Epistemic Modals’ (2007), Seth Yalcin proposes Stalnaker-style semantics for epistemic possibility. He is inspired by John MacFarlane’s ingenious defence of relativism, in which claims of epistemic possibility are made rigidly from the perspective of the assessor’s actual stock of information (rather than from the speaker’s knowledge base or that of his audience or community). The innovations of MacFarlane and Yalcin independently reinforce the modal collapse espoused by Jaakko Hintikka in his 1962 epistemic logic (which relied on the implausible KK (...)
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  35. Roy A. Sorensen (2009). Hearing Silence: The Perception and Introspection of Absences. In Matthew Nudds & Casey O'Callaghan (eds.), Sounds and Perception. Oxford University Press.
    in Sounds and Perception: New Philosophical Essays, ed. by Matthew Nudds and Casey O’Callaghan (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2008).
     
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  36. Roy Sorensen, Nothingness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  37. Roy Sorensen (2008). Philosophy for the Eye. The Philosophers' Magazine 42 (42):31-39.
    The tower of language overshadows a cluster of smaller towers. These are the towers corresponding to the sensory systems. Tallest among this group is the tower of vision, “the master sense”.
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  38. Roy Sorensen (2008). Semivaluationism: Putting Vagueness in Context in Context. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):471–483.
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  39. Roy Sorensen, Vagueness. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  40. Roy A. Sorensen (2008). Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows. Oxford University Press.
    The eclipse riddle -- Seeing surfaces -- The disappearing act -- Spinning shadows -- Berkeley's shadow -- Para-reflections -- Para-refractions : shadowgrams and the black drop -- Goethe's colored shadows -- Filtows -- Holes in the light -- Black and blue -- Seeing in black and white -- We see in the dark -- Hearing silence.
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  41. Roy Sorensen (2007). Can the Dead Speak? Moore's Paradox and Postmortem Messages. In Susana Nuccetelli & Gary Seay (eds.), Themes From G. E. Moore: New Essays in Epistemology and Ethics. Clarendon Press.
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  42. Roy Sorensen (2007). Knowledge Beyond the Margin for Error. Mind 116 (463):717 - 722.
    Epistemicists say there is a last positive instance in a sorites sequence-we just cannot know which is the last. Timothy Williamson explains that knowledge requires a margin for error and this ensures that the last heap will not be knowable as a heap. However, there is a class of disjunctive predicates for which knowledge at the thresholds is possible. They generate sorites paradoxes that cannot be diagnosed with the margin for error principle.
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  43. Roy Sorensen (2007). The Vanishing Point A Model of the Self as an Absence. The Monist 90 (3):432 - 456.
    The vanishing point is a representational gap that organizes the visual field. Study of this singularity revolutionized art in the fifteenth century. Further reflection on the vanishing point invites the conjecture that the self is an absence. This paper opens with perceptual peculiarities of the vanishing point and closes with the metaphysics of personal identity.
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  44. Roy Sorensen (2007). Bald-Faced Lies! Lying Without the Intent to Deceive By. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 88 (2):251-264.
    Surprisingly, the fact that the speaker is lying is sometimes common knowledge between everyone involved (the addressee, the general audience, bystanders, etc.). Strangely, we condemn these bald-faced lies more severely than disguised lies. The wrongness of lying springs from the intent to deceive – just the feature missing in the case of bald-faced lies. These puzzling lies arise systematically when assertions are forced. Intellectual duress helps to explain another type of non-deceptive false assertion : lying to yourself. (...)
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  45. Roy Sorensen (2007). The All-Seeing Eye : A Blind Spot in the History of Ideas. In Mitchell S. Green & John N. Williams (eds.), Moore's Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality, and the First Person. Oxford University Press.
     
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  46. Roy Sorensen (2007). The Vanishing Point. The Monist 90 (3):432-456.
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  47. Roy Sorensen (2007). Logically Equivalent—But Closer to the Truth. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (2):287 - 297.
    Verisimilitude has the potential to deepen the understanding of mathematical progress, the principle of charity, and the psychology of regret. One obstacle is the widely held belief that two statements can vary in truthlikeness only if they vary in what they entail. This obstacle is removed with four types of counterexamples. The first concerns necessarily coextensive measurements that differ only with respect to their units (specifically length, area, and volume). The second class ofcounterexamples is composed of mathematical falsehoods. The third (...)
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  48. Roy Sorensen (2007). Permission to Cheat. Analysis 67 (3):205 - 214.
    Seizing the opportunity to apply what they had learned, the students declared a cheating competition. Outspoken participants (future lawyers, politicians, and captains of industry) bragged about their ruses. But to their chagrin, an ethics student prevailed.
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  49. Roy A. Sorensen (2007). Knowledge Beyond the Margin for Error. Mind 116 (463):717 - 722.
    Epistemicists say there is a last positive instance in a sorites sequence-we just cannot know which is the last. Timothy Williamson explains that knowledge requires a margin for error and this ensures that the last heap will not be knowable as a heap. However, there is a class of disjunctive predicates for which knowledge at the thresholds is possible. They generate sorites paradoxes that cannot be diagnosed with the margin for error principle.
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  50. R. Sorensen (2006). Sharp Edges From Hedges: Fatalism, Vagueness and Epistemic Possibility. Philosophical Studies 131 (3):607 - 626.
    Mights plug gaps. If p lacks a truth-value, then ‘It might be that p’ should also lack truth-value. Yet epistemic hedges often turn an unassertible statement into an assertible one. The phenomenon is illustrated in detail for two kinds of statements that are frequently alleged to be counterexamples to the principle of bivalence: future contingents and statements that apply predicates to borderline cases. The paper concludes by exploring the prospects for generalizing this gap-plugging strategy.
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