A Procedural Solution to the Unexpected Hanging and the Sorites Paradoxes
Shapiro (Stewart)
Source: Mind - 107/428 (October 1998)
Paper - Abstract

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Philosophers Index Abstract

  1. The paradox of the Unexpected Hanging, related prediction paradoxes, and the sorites1 paradoxes involve reasoning about ordered collections of entities. Each entity is assigned a value that depends on the previously assigned value of one of the neighboring entities.
  2. The final result is paradoxical because it conflicts with the obviously correct, commonsensical value. The paradox is due to the serial procedure of assigning a value based on the newly assigned value of the neighbor.
  3. An alternative procedure is to assign each value based only on the original values of neighbors - a parallel procedure. That procedure does not give paradoxical answers.

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