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Sunday, August 07, 2011

A Dilemma for Dialetheism

I've just published a revised version of my article "A Dilemma for Dialetheism" on, which was originally published in the Spring 2010 edition of the Stanford undergraduate philosophy journal The Dualist (vol. 15). In the article I argue that dialetheists, who believe that some sentences are both true and false, either cannot express the notion that some sentences are not both true and false, or else that their accounts suffer from "revenge" liar paradoxes that not even they can regard as being both true and false. If you like logic and paradoxes as much as I do, please check it out and let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, Charles Myro here,

This issue venters on the law of excluded middle.
While I agree that it is not usual(some say undoable) for someone to assert that a state of affairs is the case and also mean it is not the case. I hold there is nothing wrong with saying or holding that a statement is both true and false.
Seems to me that, indeed every statement may be seen to be true in one sense and false in another; true from one perspective and false from another-- Thus for example: "Yes, it is true that I am here now, and yet while I am thinking of something
unrelated to and far removed from this here and now---can it not be said that, in the main I am not here and now? But substantially somewhere else? For is not the attention of the mind a determining factor in deciding the issue? Is not here and now also a mental, a mind issue?"----or some such.
The real issue is how to establish that only one perspective, one sense of a statement is valid or legitimate or correct or the like.
As to the law of excluded middle------it seems to me that if a statement is taken only in one particular sense---one may see that sense from two perspectives which render it true and false---
and further divide those two senses and so on and on----and thus the law of excluded middle is
violated and therefore invalid all the way down. Thus if I say is being in the here and now also a mind issue?---this can be true from one definition of mind and false from another.
Someone may object that the different perspectives or senses are unconnected and one cannot hold two perspectives at the same time and so the one statement is not true and false simultaneously but only true under one sense and then false under another and so the law of excluded middle is not violated. A reply would be that one can hold two perspectives but can only express one at a time and so a statement may true and false at the same time---the law of excluded middle is then kaput.
One could also argue that there are not two perspectives on one
statement--rather there are two statements, the different perspectives creating the difference.
I have long felt that the law of excluded middle---subscribed to by
even Philosophers unconcerned with formal logic--is a kind of narrow fixation that needs prying open, as it is an inhibition to the philosophical imagination; it is a kind of prejudice.
In other words, I can't call myself either a dialetheist nor
its opposite.