Vagueness, Measurement, and Blurriness
Sorensen (Roy)
Source: Synthese, Vol. 75, No. 1 (Apr., 1988), pp. 45-82
Paper - Abstract

Paper StatisticsBooks / Papers Citing this PaperNotes Citing this PaperColour-ConventionsDisclaimer

Author’s Abstract

  1. My thesis is that the sorites1 paradox can be resolved by viewing vagueness as a type of irremediable ignorance.
  2. I begin by showing that the paradox cannot be solved through restrictions, revisions, or rejection of either classical logic or common sense.
  3. I take the key issue raised by the sorites2 to be "limited sensitivity": are there changes too small to ever affect the applicability of a vague predicate?
  4. I argue that the only consistent answer is negative, and blame our tendency to think otherwise on a fallacious proportionality principle and a background of anti-realist theories of meaning.
  5. These theories of meaning encourage the view that perceptual, pedagogical, and memory limits would preclude unlimited sensitivity.
  6. Refutation of this view comes in the form of a reduction of vague predicates to "blurry" predicates.
  7. Since blurry predicates have unlimited sensitivity and are indistinguishable from their vague counterparts, I conclude that either vague predicates are dispensable or they are identical to blurry predicates.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

© Theo Todman, June 2007 - April 2019. Please address any comments on this page to File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page