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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: September 2019

13 - The Sorites Paradox in Linguistics

from Part II - The Influence of the Sorites Paradox


This chapter outlines the impact of the Sorites Paradox in linguistics, with particular focus on its relation to semantic and pragmatic analyses of gradability and comparison. Section 2 describes the importance of philosophical work on vagueness and the Sorites Paradox for early attempts in linguistics to provide compositional analyses of the relation between positive and comparative adjectives. Section 3 then discusses subsequent linguistic analyses of these phenomena, and the extent to which they succeed or fail in providing isnights on vagueness and the Sorites Paradox. Section 4 explores the ways in which the Sorites Paradox has been used to uncover grammatically significant distinctions between classes of gradable predicates, and Section 5 concludes with a discussion of the connection between the Sorites Paradox and new lines of research geared towards understanding communication under semantic uncertainty.

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