Tolerance and the distributed sorites

Synthese 196 (3):1071-1077 (2019)
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On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny problem afflicting this approach to vagueness. In particular, it is shown that, on the foregoing view, whether an object is a heap will sometimes depend on factors extrinsic to that object, such as whether its components came from other heaps. More generally, the paper raises the issue of how to count heaps in a tolerance-friendly framework.

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Zach Barnett
University of Notre Dame

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Blindspots.Roy A. Sorensen - 1988 - New York: Oxford University Press.
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