The sorites paradox and higher-order vagueness

Synthese 85 (3):417-474 (1990)
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Abstract

One thousand stones, suitably arranged, might form a heap. If we remove a single stone from a heap of stones we still have a heap; at no point will the removal of just one stone make sufficient difference to transform a heap into something which is not a heap. But, if this is so, we still have a heap, even when we have removed the last stone composing our original structure. So runs the Sorites paradox. Similar paradoxes can be constructed with any predicate which, like 'heap', displays borderline vagueness. Although I have frequently heard it said that there is no completely credible and satisfying dissolution of the paradoxes of the Sorites family; and although there is no possible approach to dissolution which has not been at least partially explored, philosophers continue glibly to use vague language as though it were entirely unproblematic. Since no argument has ever been produced which would justify our ignoring the para~doxes, this situation is extremely unsatisfactory

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John Burgess
Princeton University

Citations of this work

Is vagueness Sui generis ?David Barnett - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):5 – 34.
Does Vagueness Exclude Knowledge?David Barnett - 2010 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):22 - 45.
Is Vagueness Sui Generis?David Barnett - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):5-34.
Vagueness, epistemicism and response-dependence.J. Burgess - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (4):507 – 524.
Contextualism about vagueness and higher-order vagueness.Patrick Greenough - 2005 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 79 (1):167–190.

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Translations from the philosophical writings of Gottlob Frege.Gottlob Frege - 1952 - Oxford, England: Blackwell. Edited by P. T. Geach & Max Black.

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