Fuzziness and the sorites paradox

Dissertation, Catholic University of Louvain (2006)
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Abstract
The dissertation has two parts, each dealing with a problem, namely: 1) What is the most adequate account of fuzziness -the so-called phenomenon of vagueness?, and 2) what is the most plausible solution to the sorites, or heap paradox? I will try to show that fuzzy properties are those which are gradual, amenable to be possessed in a greater or smaller extent. Acknowledgement of degrees in the instantiation of a property allows for a gradual transition from one opposite to the other, each intermediate stage constituting an overlap in certain proportion of both contraries. Hence, degrees in the possession of a property give rise to simple contradictions. The reason why I have chosen those two questions is that they provide the main philosophical motivation for a particular brand of an infinite valued and paraconsistent logic. I will claim that Classical logic (CL) is not adequate to handle fuzzy situations, and, being deficient, is in need of being expanded to make room for degrees of truth and weak contradictions. One can hardly deny the importance of the debate, since what is ultimately at stake is what the limits of truth, rationality, intelligibility and possibility are. The main disciplines within which the research moves are the philosophy of language, philosophy of logic, and ontology.
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