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The Sorites Paradox

  • Dominic Hyde
Chapter
Part of the Logic, Epistemology, and the Unity of Science book series (LEUS, volume 19)

Abstract

In a world of change, we see species go from common to rare and yet are unable to point to any moment at which they ceased to be common. We see people grow old and yet cannot nominate any moment at which they ceased to be young. Nonetheless, transitions like these surely must occur at some point, if at all. There must be a change somewhere but no particular point can be singled out as the point of change. Where then are we to draw the line? This puzzling question lies at the heart of the ancient sorites paradox and the more general class of paradoxical arguments that now go by that name. In what follows we look at the various forms the paradox can take and some of the responses that have been pursued.

In a world of change, we see species go from common to rare and yet are unable to point to any moment at which they ceased to be common. We see people grow old and yet cannot nominate any moment at which they ceased to be young, and we see societies become unjust and yet cannot nominate any moment at which they ceased to be just. Nonetheless, transitions like these surely must occur at some point, if at all. There must be a change somewhere but no particular point can be singled out as the point of change. Where then are we to draw the line?

Keywords

Classical Logic Borderline Case Modus Ponens Colour Patch Paraconsistent Logic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

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