Publication details

Sorites Paradox and the Need for Many-Valued Logics



Year of publication 2015
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Sorites paradoxes are a class of paradoxical arguments which arise as a result of using vague terms such as "heap" or "bald". While precise terms have sharp boundaries of application, vague terms lack such precise boundaries. With vague terms there are objects to which: a) the vague term applies, b) the vague term doesn’t apply, and c) it is uncertain whether vague term applies or not (so called borderline cases). In borderline cases it is uncertain whether the vague term in question applies to them or not. Moreover, this uncertainty cannot be resolved by any enquiry. Since there are three aforementioned classes into which we can divide objects in a range of significance of any vague term, it might be tempting to use three-valued logic to deal with sorites paradoxes. This way we can ascribe exactly one truth value to all sentences of sorites paradox and we needn't resort to either supervaluationism or subvaluationism. Another approach to solving sorites paradoxes is based on an intuition that vagueness is a matter of degree and logic of vagueness should reflect that with different degrees of truth. If A measures 190 cm and B 195 cm then sentence "B is tall" seems to be truer than "A is tall". Fuzzy logic therefore takes advantage of its infinitely many truth values. In my talk I will critically assess many-valued logics and fuzzy logic. My goal is to show that these approaches to sorites paradoxes either have presuppositions that their proponents wouldn’t assent to or that they generate more problems than they claim to resolve.
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