The solution to the Sorites paradox

The Sorites paradox (aka ‘paradox of the heap’) disappears as soon as you take the blinders off and make use of something that everybody knows and is expressed in many ways throughout literature, namely, that the essential contribution is made by the outsider (e.g., Shane). The so-called Sorites paradox is merely proof of that fact. It can be viewed as a special case of the fact that it is others, not you, who are the best judge of what you have done. You’re building a pile, grain by grain? It is for others, not you, to say when you have finished. A workman, no matter how good, isn’t finished until his boss says he’s finished. Notice that you can manufacture paradoxes by suppressing fundamentally false presuppositions. For example, the fundamentally false (but entirely natural) presupposition that all sets are countable quickly leads to a contradiction in mathematics, via the diagonalization argument of Cantor.

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