Let's say you have a heap of sand. Take away one grain. Do you still have a heap of sand? What if you take away another grain? Do you still have a heap of sand? If you keep repeating this process, at what point do you no longer have a heap of sand? Where is the delineation between "heap" and "no heap"? This is the sorites paradox, attributed to a contemporary of Aristotle, Eubulides of Miletus. It applies to both finite nouns (e.g., a pile of sand, a bucket of water, even an ocean of water) as well as adjectives (e.g., tall, old, rich). The sorites paradox calls attention to matters of judgment, which vary with the individual -- how old is "old" anyway? -- as well as the limitations of language (do we have the words necessary to describe all the gradations between a "heap" of sand and a single grain?).
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