Event Detail

Wed Sep 12, 2007
Dennes Room, 6–8 PM
Working Group in the History and Philosophy of Logic, Mathematics, and Science
Kevin Scharp (Ohio State University )
Replacing Truth

Of the dozens of purported solutions to the liar paradox published in the past fifty years, the vast majority are “traditional” in the sense that they reject one of the premises or inference rules that are used to derive the paradoxical conclusion. Over the years, however, several philosophers have presented an alternative to the traditional approaches; according to them, our very competence with the concept of truth leads us to accept that the reasoning used to derive the paradox is sound. That is, our conceptual competence leads us into inconsistency. I call this alternative the inconsistency approach to the liar. Although this approach has positive features, I argue that several of the well-developed versions of it that have appeared recently are unacceptable. In particular, they do not recognize that if truth is an inconsistent concept, then we should replace it with new concepts that do the work of truth without giving rise to paradoxes. I outline an inconsistency approach to the liar paradox that satisfies this condition.