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Sorites Paradoxes and the Legacy of the Ideal Language Approach (SOPhiA 2016, 8. 9. 2016, Salzburg)



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Popis Bertrand Russell was among the first philosophers to comment on the problem of vagueness during the resurgence of philosophical interest in sorites paradoxes early in the twentieth century. His solution consists in banishing all vague terms from the realm of logic, since logic can only be applied when precise terms are used. This "ideal language approach" doesn't belong among the most prominent even though its proponents were influential philosophers like Frege and Quine. Most of the contemporary approaches to solving sorites paradoxes agree that logic applies even to vague terms. They, however differ in their opinions regarding how logic should be applied when dealing with vague terms or even which logic should be utilized. Epistemicists, for example, believe that it is only our ignorance that prevents us from distinguishing clearly between cases to which vague terms apply and cases to which it doesn't. Supervaluationists claim that we need to consider different sharpenings or precisifications of vague terms in question. Degree theorists assert that since possessing a vague property is a matter of degree, so should be truth value we assign to sentences containing vague predicates. These are just a few of responses to sorites paradoxes. In my talk I would like to show that most of modern approaches to solving sorites paradoxes share a common feature with the ideal language approach. So even though ideal language approach plays only a marginal role in a contemporary discussion of vagueness, it still can reveal substantial details regarding vagueness and logic itself.
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