Photo of Roy Sorensen

Roy Sorensen

​Professor of Philosophy
PhD, Michigan State University
research interests:
  • Epistemology
  • Philosophy of Language
  • Metaphysics

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • Campus Box 1073
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
image of book cover

​Professor Sorensen's current research interests include vagueness, lying, and perception. 

Roy Sorensen is the author of six books: Blindspots (Oxford University Press/Clarendon Press, 1988), Thought Experiments (Oxford University Press, 1992) and Pseudo-Problems (Routledge, 1993), Vagueness and Contradiction, (Oxford University Press, 2001), A Brief History of the Paradox, (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2003), and Seeing Dark Things (Oxford, 2008).

Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows

Seeing Dark Things: The Philosophy of Shadows

Shadows appear to be counterexamples to the causal theory of perception. After all, an absence of light cannot reflect light into our eyes. Roy Sorensen sets out to resolve this anomaly and to show how the causal theory solves a broad range of visual puzzles about dark things.

A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind

A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind

Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift? Can time have a beginning? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Riddles, paradoxes, conundrums--for millennia the human mind has found such knotty logical problems both perplexing and irresistible. Now Roy Sorensen offers the first narrative history of paradoxes, a fascinating and eye-opening account that extends from the ancient Greeks, through the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and into the twentieth century.

Vagueness and Contradiction

Vagueness and Contradiction

Roy Sorenson offers a unique exploration of an ancient problem: vagueness. Did Buddha become a fat man in one second? Is there a tallest short giraffe? According to Sorenson's epistemicist approach, the answers are yes! Although vagueness abounds in the way the world is divided, Sorenson argues that the divisions are sharp; yet we often do not know where they are. Written in Sorenson's usual inventive and amusing style, this book offers original insight on language and logic, the way the world is, and our understanding of it.

Pseudo-Problems: How Analytic Philosophy Gets Done

Pseudo-Problems: How Analytic Philosophy Gets Done

A fast-moving, fascinating alternative history of twentieth-century analytic philosophy. Using many examples, Sorenson explains how problems are dissolved rather than solved. 

Thought Experiments

Thought Experiments

Can merely thinking about an imaginary situation provide evidence for how the world actually is--or how it ought to be? In this lively book, Roy A. Sorensen addresses this question with an analysis of a wide variety of thought experiments ranging from aesthetics to zoology. Presenting the first general theory of thought experiment, he sets it within an evolutionary framework and integrates recent advances in experimental psychology and the history of science, with special emphasis on Ernst Mach and Thomas Kuhn.

Blindspots

Blindspots

Sorensen here offers a unified solution to a large family of philosophical puzzles and paradoxes through a study of "blindspots": consistent propositions that cannot be rationally accepted by certain individuals even though they might by true.