Single Idea 6008

[catalogued under 5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 6. Paradoxes in Language / b. The Heap paradox ('Sorites')]

Full Idea

The 'sorites' paradox of Eubulides says: if you take one grain of sand from a heap (soros), what is left is still a heap; so no matter how many grains of sand you take one by one, the result is always a heap.

Gist of Idea

Removing one grain doesn't destroy a heap, so a heap can't be destroyed


report of Eubulides (fragments/reports [c.390 BCE]) by R.M. Dancy - Megarian School

Book Reference

'Encyclopedia of Classical Philosophy', ed/tr. Zeyl,Donald J. [Fitzroy Dearborn 1997], p.329

A Reaction

(also Cic. Acad. 2.49) This is a very nice paradox, which goes to the heart of our bewilderment when we try to fully understand reality. It homes in on problems of identity, as best exemplified in the Ship of Theseus (Ideas 1212 + 1213).

Related Ideas

Idea 1212 Replacing timbers on Theseus' ship was the classic illustration of the problem of growth and change [Plutarch]