Sorites Argument Analysis

Improved Essays
Originating from soros, the Greek word for “heap,” sorites arguments utilize statements with miniscule differences which are centered around vague keywords to arrive at very paradoxical conclusions. For instance, one would typically be able to agree with the following statements:
1. A man with no hairs on his head is bald.
2. A bald man, if given one more hair, is still bald.
These two statements, however, can be used to say that everyone is bald. For example, consider a man with no hairs on his head. He is, by definition of statement 1, bald. When he is given one hair, he is still bald by definition of statement 2. This process can be repeated over and over again, to the point that we are able to conclude that a man with 10,000 hairs is bald,
…show more content…
Modus ponens, which says “if p, then q; p, therefore q” is applied many times consecutively in these arguments, to the point that we ultimately arrive at paradoxical conclusions. The use of the “degrees of truth” approach, however, is able to solve this paradox by ultimately suggesting the invalidity of modus ponens and therefore rejecting the reasoning of these arguments. While the rejection of modus ponens is undoubtedly a controversial decision to make, it is ultimately supported due to the idea that modus ponens is only true for statements that are completely true or completely false. For everything in between, it tends to “leak” a small amount of truth, and over multiple applications this small loss in truth value is enough to show the invalidity of the argument. This approach to vagueness is refuted by many philosophers due to the idea that a vague question is given a vague answer, but it is important to understand that truth values ultimately describe confidence in the trueness or falsity of the answer. For that reason, vague questions must always have intermediate truth values. For this reason, the “degrees of truth” approach to vagueness provides a very acceptable theory for the sorites

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Inductive Argument

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages

    The definition of validity is given as: “in a valid argument, the conclusion has been correctly inferred from the premises”. Because of the problem of induction, a conclusion cannot necessarily be true if the premises are not definite. If the argument cannot be valid, it also cannot be sound. However, inductive arguments are not therefore useless, but instead must be analysed differently. Though an inductive argument can never be certain, an argument can be strong or weak dependent on the number of times it has been observed .…

    • 1811 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When it comes to the different types of knowledge, the two whose authenticity are always debated are genuine knowledge and false knowledge. Genuine knowledge is when something is known definitely; it can be proved, referenced, and be almost general knowledge to all who go after it since it only has one true conclusive deduction. Genuine knowledge differs from false knowledge in the fact that false knowledge is based on a person’s belief. There goes a phrase “what happens when you assume: you’re almost always wrong”. An assumption does not always have true facts behind it and is just based on a personal belief, therefore making the conclusion that the person has come to wrong in most cases.…

    • 725 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    It implies that most of our beliefs are false, which allows for the generalisation that none of our beliefs are good enough to count as knowledge. One example of a sceptical argument is the infinite regress argument. This argument starts with the premise that whenever we claim to know or justifiably believe something, we imply that we are in possession of good supporting or justifying reasons for our claim. For any claim to knowledge, it may legitimately be asked: How do you know? One of the most natural way to justify a belief is by producing a justificatory argument: belief A is justified by citing some other belief B, from which A is inferable.…

    • 1084 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Prologue 1. In the first two chapters of The Invisible Man the tone was depressing. He felt worthless because he looked at himself invisible. 2. The irony between the narrator and the blond man is that the narrator sees himself as invisible.…

    • 664 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In this way, Gettier did not really come up with a completely new system to define knowledge, he simply refined Justified True Belief by showing that not all JTB’s are knowledge, making JTB almost correct when it comes to being accurate most of the time in cases of knowledge. For the most part, Gettier cases do only show that not all actual or possible justified true beliefs are knowledge. However, most epistemologists tend to view the impact of Gettier cases in a stronger way by saying these cases proved that being justified and true is never enough to make a belief knowledge. The reason for this is that they wish to have a universally applicable definition, formula, or analysis to understand knowledge in all of its actual or possible instances and manifestations, not only in some of them. Therefore, epistemologists strive to understand how to avoid ever being in a Gettier situation.…

    • 968 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Truth Is Good Analysis

    • 1528 Words
    • 7 Pages

    After that I will present ideas that contradict Lynch’s statement and discuss them. Some of the ideas that I will talk about are lies, pragmatism, importance, and the definition of good.Truth is applicable to many concepts, but does not have a definite quality as either good nor bad, contrary to Lynch’s belief that truth is cognitively good in his book True To Life. The first argument for truth as a cognitive good appears in Lynch’s chapter…

    • 1528 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    It’s so much easier just to accept what you believe and allow others to have their own beliefs on things. While this is a very modest and openminded approach to the search for truth. It is not the most accurate way to gain more true information. It is an epistemic responsibility to call out bullshit, which keeps inaccurate or misleading information out of circulation. If we take in bullshit and accept it as truth just because it satisfies our current set of beliefs then we will spout it to others and it will continue to spread.…

    • 1335 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    At first when I recognized the contradiction in Anselm’s writing, I was confused, but as I contemplated his words, his use of a reduction really works for me. It works because he again sides with the “another side” which is against his argument. When saying the opposite of what is wanted to be proved, turns the minds of the reader to realize that the first premises are true, making it a sound…

    • 778 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Moral relativists such as David Wong and Gilbert Harman have provided a more sophisticated version of moral relativism which mitigated some flaws of the inaugural and naïve form which Rachel argued against. Cultural relativism is also a relevant theory to explain the extreme cases of disagreements in our world. However, there is still invalidity and shortcomings of the cultural relativism argument that hinders moral progress, or deteriorate the view about morality into nihilistic grounds. Hence it is still essential to maintain some moral truths as objective instead of accepting the theory in…

    • 1886 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The Sorites Paradox, or the Paradox of the Heap is a paradox which comes in two forms; the many-premise version, and the two-premise version. Both versions lead to the same conclusions but offer different ways to reach that conclusion. This essay will focus on the workings of the two-premise version. The paradox arises as a result of vague predicates (Barker, 2009); demonstrating a problem with human language. This is the idea of human language being excessively vague, and that measurements we use every day being unscientific, and unable to be used accurately.…

    • 1230 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays