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WHY THE VAGUENESS PARADOX IS AMAZING

  • Bryan Frances

Abstract

One of the hardest problems in philosophy, one that has been around for over two thousand years without generating any significant consensus on its solution, involves the concept of vagueness: a word or concept that doesn't have a perfectly precise meaning. There is an argument that seems to show that the word or concept simply must have a perfectly precise meaning, as violently counterintuitive as that is. Unfortunately, the argument is usually so compressed that it is difficult to see why exactly the problem is so hard to solve. In this article I attempt to explain just why it is that the problem – the sorites paradox – is so intractable.

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Horgan, T. (1994) ‘Robust Vagueness and the Forced-March Sorites Paradox’, Philosophical Perspectives, Logic and Language 8: 159–88.
Priest, G. (2003) ‘A Site for Sorites’, in Beall, J. C. (ed.), Liars and Heaps: New Essays on Paradox (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003), 2438.
Williamson, T. (1994) Vagueness (London: Routledge).

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WHY THE VAGUENESS PARADOX IS AMAZING

  • Bryan Frances

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