Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

9 - Non-Transitivism and the Sorites Paradox

from Part I - Solutions to the Sorites Paradox


Non-transitivism solves the Sorites Paradox by denying the transitivity of logical consequence. After introducing the non-transitivist solution, the chapter presents the main reasons in its favour: its fit with the intuitive diagnosis of what goes wrong in soritical reasoning, its vindication of the naive theory of vagueness and its preservation of the compelling classical fundamental operational principles. The chapter then examines a rival of non-transitivism – on-contractivism – which might seem equally well supported in those respects, arguing that non-transitivism is variously superior to it. Next, the chapter focuses on a specific family of non-transitive logics – tolerant logics – explaining their basic lattice-theoretic semantics and giving details of one particularly strong logic. Finally, the chapter develops a non-transitivist approach to the Forced-March Paradox, arguing that the ideal behaviour of a non-transitivist’s confidence along the Forced March requires a super-additive and boundedly non-monotonic theory of probability, and showing how, by using the tolerant logic just mentioned, one can go through the Forced March and return a knowledgeable verdict about each case.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO