The Sorites Paradox and the Nature and Logic of Vague Language
This book reassesses philosophical approaches to linguistic vagueness, a puzzling feature of natural language that gives rise to the ancient Sorites paradox.
The paradox consists in three claims: (1) One grain of sand does not make a heap. (2) One billion grains of sand do make a heap. (3) For any two amounts of sand differing by at most one grain: either both are heaps of sand, or neither one is.
Claim (3) is rendered plausible by an initial conviction that vague predicates like ‘heap’ tolerate small changes. The repeated application of a tolerance principle to claim (2), however, yields the further proposition that one grain of sand does make a heap – which contradicts claim number one. Consequently, many philosophers reject or modify tolerance principles for vague predicates.
Inga Bones reassesses prominent responses to the Sorites and defends a Wittgensteinian dissolution of the paradox. She argues that vague predicates are, indeed, tolerant and discusses how this finding relates to the paradox itself, to the notion of validity and to the concept of a borderline case.
The purpose of teaching logic in philosophy is to enable us to evaluate arguments with respect to (formal) validity. Standard logics refer to a concept of validity which allows for the relation of implication to hold between premises and conclusion even in cases where there is no “relevant” connection between the premises and the conclusion. A prominent example for this is the rule “Ex-Falso-Quodlibet” (EFQ), which allows us to infer an arbitrary proposition from a contradiction. The tolerance of irrelevance endorsed by standard logics unfortunately engenders that they cannot adequately fulfill their intended task of analyzing and evaluating philosophical, scientific and everyday-life arguments – instead, their application even gives rise to a multitude of artificial philosophical pseudoproblems (like the problem of the disposition predicates or the problem of counterfactuals). As alternatives to standard logics, there exist non-standard systems called “relevance logics” or “relevant logics” meant to avoid irrelevance. The problem with these systems, however, is that the mainstream relational semantics (“worlds semantics”) available for them is to be considered unintuitive and complex to a degree which is apt to render relevant logics unattractive to the majority of philosophers who are on the lookout not only for adequate, but also simple and efficient technical means for evaluating arguments. Therefore, the main aim of this treatise is to provide an alternative semantics (“rules semantics”) which is comparatively easy to grasp and simple in application. A second aim of the book is to extend the semantics as least as far as it takes to cover more or less all the logical notions philosophers need in their “everyday analyzing”. This includes first order predicate logic, higher order logic (for analyzing talk about “properties” etc.), identity, definite descriptions, abstraction principles and modal logic. This book can be read without having any more background than a good introductory course in classical logic provides.
The primary aim is the reconstruction of the main argument of the second chapter of Anselm’s Proslogion. To be proved is the statement that God, or something than which nothing greater can be thought, exists in reality. I proceed by a piecemeal analysis of every sentence of the Latin original and its subsequent translation into a formal second-order language with choice operator. Reconstructing Anselm’s reasoning demands interpretative input and additions. For example, the formula ‘quod maius est’ has to be suitably interpreted and expanded. Furthermore, I try to explicate Anselm’s maius predicate in terms of a perfection predicate and to develop a general proof for Anselm’s theorem, i.e. the statement that something/that than which something greater cannot be thought has all greater-making attributes.
This paper considers a principal concept of metaphysics – the category of substance – as it figures in Kant’s critical program of establishing metaphysics as a science. Like Leibniz, Kant identifies metaphysical concepts through logical reflection on the form of cognitive activity. He thus begins with general logic’s account of categorical judgment as an act of subordinating predicate to subject. This categorical form is then considered in transcendental logic with reference to the possibility of its real use. Transcendental reflection reveals that the categorical form, in its potential for such use, constitutes the category of substance and accident, representing a first real subject and a determination of its existence. But to qualify for objective, scientific employment, metaphysics’ concepts must admit of real definitions, which show their objects to be possible, and such possibility, pace Leibniz, can be established only in relation to possible experience. Thus, relying on his doctrine of the schematism, Kant shows the category to figure constitutively in experience, as the ground of the first law of nature, that in all change substance persists.
2020 is a B-relation. I will make use of this practical terminology.
Concerning A-determinations, I will assume that the predicates “future,” “present,” and “past” are only of secondary importance and that they must be expressed primarily by means of the temporal forms of copula “will be,” “is (now
the Christian tradition has it that in some fashion Christ—the God-human—becomes so related to the mundane elements of bread and wine, that the predications »This is the body of Christ« or »This is the blood of Christ« become warranted. Hence, the tradition teaches an increasing concretizing of God
a thought, since only thoughts (and in derived form, sentences, which express them in a conventional way) are possible bearers of the truth predicate. Only one thought form is eligible, the singular thought, where a general concept is assigned to a singular item. The intuition is a “representatio