The Heap of Sand Paradox is a problem posed in philosophy, originally attributed to the Greek thinker and harsh critic of Aristotle, Eubulides (4th century BCE).
Eubulides conceived of many different types of paradoxes, including the Liar paradox, which is similar to the well-known Cretan Liar paradox.
In a nutshell, Eubulides’ heap of sand paradox asks at what precise point a heap of sand no longer is a heap when a single grain of sand is repeatedly removed from a pile.
This is similar to Zeno‘s grain of millet paradox.
The heap of sand paradox may seem trite to some but it raises important questions about moral judgments based on the quantity or intensity of a characteristic or action.
For instance, one could ask at what precise point art becomes pornography, jesting becomes abuse, poking becomes assaulting, hugging becomes groping, and so on.
The heap of sand paradox also poses potentially complicated questions about the nature of valid reasoning and the often ambiguous role of representational symbols (such as numbers, characters and language) in logical problem solving.¹
¹ See for instance, the discussion here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorites_paradox
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