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Encyclopedia > Continuum fallacy

Continuum fallacy, also called fallacy of the beard is a logical fallacy which abuses the paradox of the heap. The fallacy appears to prove that two states are not different, or do not exist at all, because there is a continuum of states between them; that there is no difference in quality because there exists a difference in quantity. A logical fallacy may mean nothing more than a fallacy or it may mean an error in deductive reasoning, i. ... The paradox of the heap (or the Sorites Paradox, sõros being Greek for heap and sõrites the adjective, so literally, the heaper paradox) is a paradox that arises when people apply common sense to certain vague concepts. ... Look up Continuum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Quality refers to the inherent or distinctive characteristics or properties of a person, object, process or other thing. ... Quantity is a generic term used when referring to the measurement (count, amount) of a scalar, vector, number of items or to some other way of denominating the value of a collection or group of items. ...

The fallacy is often described in form of a conversation:

Q: Does one grain of wheat form a heap?
A: No.
Q: If we add one, do two grains of wheat form a heap?
A: No.
Q: If we add one, do three grains of wheat form a heap?
A: No.
Q: If we add one, do one hundred grains of wheat form a heap?
A: No.
Q: Therefore, no matter how many grains of wheat we add, we will never have a heap. Therefore, heaps don't exist!

Other examples of this fallacy prove that no one has a beard, no matter how long it is (or that everyone has a beard, no matter how cleanly shaven), because a beard can have varying lengths, that no one can be bald (or that everyone is bald) because there are people with varying quantities of hair, or that languages don't exist because they are in a dialect continuum. The word grain has several meanings, most being descriptive of a small piece or particle. ... In [[computer Fibonacci heap Leftist heap Soft heap 2-3 heap Treap See also Heaps at Wikiversity External links Priority Queues by Lee Killough Categories: ‪Data structures‬ | ‪Trees (structure)‬ ... A man with a full beard A beard is the hair that grows on a mans chin, cheeks, neck, and the area above the upper lip (the opposite is a clean-shaven face). ... A razor shaving some stubble off the underside of a chin. ... Baldness (formally alopecia) is the state of lacking hair where it usually would grow, especially on the head. ... Hair with a round cross-section will fall straight, as opposed to curly hair, which has a flat cross-section Hair is a filamentous outgrowth of the skin found only in mammals. ... It has been suggested that language continuum be merged into this article or section. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Logical Fallacy: Slippery Slope (1541 words)
This type of argument is by no means invariably fallacious, but the strength of the argument is inversely proportional to the number of steps between A and Z, and directly proportional to the causal strength of the connections between adjacent steps.
A differs from Z by a continuum of insignificant changes, and there is no non-arbitrary place at which a sharp line between the two can be drawn.
This continuum is the "slope", and it is the lack of a non-arbitrary line between hairiness and baldness that makes it "slippery".
  More results at FactBites »



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