## Addiction, the Sorites Paradox and Rationality

There is an essential similarity between addiction (esp. quitting) and sorites paradoxes: What difference does one more cigarette/margarita/pebble/hair/etc. make?

First of all: sorites paradoxes (or ‘the paradox of the heap’). 1,000 pebbles together certainly constitutes a heap. 3 pebbles certainly doesn’t. What about 999 pebbles? Yes. 998? Yes. The question is: Where is the line? Is there a line where the collection of pebbles is no longer a heap? It seems not.

The same pattern is found in the reasoning of the addict who wants to quit: I’ll buy one more pack…What difference will one more day of smoking make? (I’ll quit tomorrow.)

The pattern should be clear, but what does it say? I’m not sure yet, but it says a lot.

The answer is to come.

There is an essential similarity between addiction (esp. quitting) and sorites paradoxes: What difference does one more cigarette/margarita/pebble/hair/etc. make?

First of all: sorites paradoxes (or ‘the paradox of the heap’). 1,000 pebbles together certainly constitutes a heap. 3 pebbles certainly doesn’t. What about 999 pebbles? Yes. 998? Yes. The question is: Where is the line? Is there a line where the collection of pebbles is no longer a heap? It seems not.

The same pattern is found in the reasoning of the addict who wants to quit: I’ll buy one more pack…What difference will one more day of smoking make? (I’ll quit tomorrow.)

The pattern should be clear, but what does it say? I’m not sure yet, but it says a lot.

The answer is to come.