Paradox of the heap.

I was just going through the concept of fuzzy logic when I came across this beautiful paradox commonly called ‘ The paradox of the heap’. It essentially goes like this- If we take one grain of sand at one go from a heap of sand will the last grain remaining still be called a heap? If no then when did the thing cease to remain a heap?’ The whole concept is one of a definite boundary that separates the grain from being in a heap from being just a grain.

Just as theres no way one can say that at this evry point it stoppoed being a heap there’s no way to tell when a person crosses the line. What will that line be anyway? Relativity kicks in here as well. One way to come out of this problem would be to define what is right and what is not but then that itself comes under the jurisdiction of whom?? There’s no way one can define a boundary for someone else here, it all comes down to what YOU think should be the break point and not let others decide the thing for you.

Paradoxes abound and never cease to arouse interest. Its pretty annoying to see that every theoretical paradox can be explained in natural terms. All models comes down to the real life as and when it trickles down to the last drop. Imprecise logic as it is called popularly is one hell of a subject with applied uses in social sciences as well!!

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1 Comment

  1. Similar paradox(s) exist at almost every stage of our day-to-day activities. For instance, a glass of water can never be full or empty. (Though the mess food can always be classified as s**t). [:D]

    As you yourself quoted long ago, “Nothing is entirely black or white” – it is the fuzzy gray area. Herein lies the beauty of fuzzy logic of actually finding a way of quantifying thing which cannot be included in restricted boundaries. I guess this is the main reason why it is used in social sciences as well.

    P.S: I think CIA reports on the predictions of the actions of Adolf Hitler, during the World War II, included a fuzzy analysis of his past life etc. Go through the report or the documentary if you have time to kill. [:)]

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