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Wittgenstein, for instance, urged that “an indefinite boundary is not really a boundary at all” (1953: 45e).

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/vagueness/

What did he make of the Sorites paradox, then? If a limit is indefinite, can be shown to be indefinite, would he infer that it does not exist? If not, what we he be able to do with a claim that the absence of consciousness is vague?

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  • "What did he make of the Sorites paradox?" Sorites shows exactly that there is no clear boundary between e.g bald and not bald. Jul 6 at 12:48
  • But the absence of a definite limit regarding bald vs not bald does not mean that there are no bald men. The same for consciousness, maybe... Jul 6 at 12:49
  • In conclusion, what W's statement above adds to the usual conundrum related to vagueness? Jul 6 at 12:53
  • 2
    This essay covers Wittgenstein's attitude/approach to the sorites paradox. Jul 6 at 13:27
  • 1
    Intriguing, no? Jul 6 at 16:35

1 Answer 1

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Wittgenstein

trace[s] the steps of how we arrived at the supposed problem in the first place

https://www.sorites.org/Issue_19/wolach.htm

which is that we either choose to draw a sharp boundary and resolve its fuziness with a supposed discovery of what e.g. "heap" means, when this is impossible because we cannot get beyond language, or decide that the term (e.g. "heap") makes sense independent of other language games, when language games infect each other, and are only a local victory over vagueness

we cannot isolate necessary and sufficient conditions for the application of a term or concept, save by making a choice (or by having a choice foisted upon us by customs and practices surrounding our particular endeavor), [but that] does not render the term or concept useless, lacking in sense.


If a limit is indefinite, can be shown to be indefinite, would he infer that it does not exist?

Of course, Wittgenstein would deny that we can show a boundary is indefinite, anymore than we can discover or isolate a boundary at a specific location.

what we he be able to do with a claim that the absence of consciousness is vague

Depends on whether it has the same source as the Sorites paradox, which I'd guess is a concealment of how language functions.

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