Prefaces, Sorites and Guides to Reasoning

In Lee Walters & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conditionals, Paradox, and Probability: Themes from the Philosophy of Dorothy Edgington. Oxford, England: Oxford University press. pp. 212-226 (2021)
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Abstract

Is there an interesting relation between the Preface paradox and the Sorites paradox that might be used to illuminate either or both of those paradoxes and the phenomena of rationality and vagueness with which they, respectively, are bound up? In particular, if we consider the analogy alongside a familiar response to the Preface Paradox that employs degrees of belief, does this give any support to the thought that we should adopt some kind of degree-theoretic treatment of vagueness and the sorites? This chapter argues that it does not; indeed exploring the disanalogies contributes to a case against such a treatment of vagueness more generally. Among other views, it considers Edgington’s account of vagueness that employs a probabilistic structure of “verities”. It then contends that appeal to the framework of supervaluationism yields a better guide to reasoning in vague language than the degree-theoretic treatment can sustain.

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Rosanna Keefe
University of Sheffield

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