On The Sorites Paradox

The Sorites Paradox is not a paradox, for
“The predicate must be true of the first value in the series
and false of the last.” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites Paradox)

But the first premise of a Sorites series for HEAPS is always false
since all bodies are extended, and all extended bodies are heaps.
Therefore, one grain of sand–or rice,wheat,etc.,–DOES make a heap,
and one million grains DON’T make a heap.
One million grains make one million heaps.

Furthermore, no heap will ever be transformed into a non-heap.
Firstly, a non-heap is an impossible configuration for an extended body.
Reduce it to a collection of atoms, or reduce it further if you like;
each part will retain its property of heapness.
Secondly, as each heap is removed from the heaps around it,
those heaps are merely relocated.


The Sorites Paradox is not a paradox either, for
a man with no hair is not bald; he is follicly challenged.
But all men are follicly challenged, heaps of hair or not!
Any man who thinks all men are not follicly challenged
must think all men are immortal.


To use blueness to demonstrate a Sorites Paradox
is to use a red herring,
since Blueness has nothing of Heapness
–whether blueness is a property of that which is blue
or imposed by the mind that observes it–
and the Sorites Paradox is, by defintion,
strictly a paradox of heapness,
though as we have seen it’s not really a paradox at all.


The vagueness of the word HEAP remains.
One heap of rice could be big-grained or small-grained,
or a million heaps wide, deep, and tall.
But it is not the vagueness that undermines the paradox.
It is the falsity of the first premise in the series
that brings the whole paradox sideslipping down.

Note: If my argument has convinced me at rhetorical and entertainment levels,
I believe the real point of the paradox is to solve it for a formal logician.
Sad to say formal logic is not in my toolkit as yet.

Comments are most welcome

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