Three-valued semantic pluralism: a defense of a three-valued solution to the sorites paradox

Wen fang Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disagreeing with most authors on vagueness, the author proposes a solution that he calls ‘three-valued semantic pluralism’ to the age-old sorites paradox. In essence, it is a three-valued semantics for a first-order vague language with identity with the additional suggestion that a vague language has more than one correct interpretation. Unlike the traditional three-valued approach to a vague language, three-valued semantic pluralism can accommodate the phenomenon of higher-order vagueness and the phenomenon of penumbral connection when equipped with ‘suitable conditionals’. The author also shows that three-valued semantic pluralism is a natural consequence of a restricted form of the Tolerance principle (T R) and a few related ideas, and argues that (T R) is well-motivated by considerations about how we learn, teach, and use vague predicates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4441-4476
Number of pages36
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Conditionals
  • Pluralism
  • Sorites paradox
  • Three-valued semantics
  • Tolerance principle
  • Vagueness


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