Sorites without vagueness II: Comparative sorites

Theoria 76 (1):25-53 (2010)
Abstract
We develop a mathematical theory for comparative sorites, considered in terms of a system mapping pairs of stimuli into a binary response characteristic whose values supervene on stimulus pairs and are interpretable as the complementary relations 'are the same' and 'are not the same' (overall or in some respect). Comparative sorites is about hypothetical sequences of stimuli in which every two successive elements are mapped into the relation 'are the same', while the pair comprised of the first and the last elements of the sequence is mapped into 'are not the same'. Although soritical sequences of this kind are logically possible, we argue that their existence is grounded in no empirical evidence and show that it is excluded by a certain psychophysical principle proposed for human comparative judgements in a context unrelated to soritical issues. We generalize this principle to encompass all conceivable situations for which comparative sorites can be formulated.
Keywords comparison  regular minimality  regular mediality  connectedness  sorites  vagueness  closeness  matching  supervenience on stimuli  tolerant responses
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DOI 10.1111/j.1755-2567.2009.01057.x
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Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Structure of Appearance.Nelson Goodman - 1951 - Harvard University Press.
Wang's Paradox.Michael Dummett - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):201--32.
On the Coherence of Vague Predicates.Crispin Wright - 1975 - Synthese 30 (3-4):325--65.

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