[FOM] Fw: LW & The Liar

mjmurphy 4mjmu at rogers.com
Wed May 7 18:39:20 EDT 2003

Thinking about it, LW's remarks concerning Godel's 1st can be rephrased as remarks concerning The Liar expressed in ordinary English.  For one of the standard premises (and, according to Kirkham, an "unassailable" one) of the Liar derivation is that The Liar, call it P, says that it P is false.  But suppose ~P, in fact suppose that we have proved/verified ~P.
Then this would be a good reason to reject the interpretation of P as saying that it is false.  Further, suppose that we had proved/verified P.  This too would be a good reason to reject P as saying P is false.  At first blush this seems odd, in that, after proving P or ~P we would then say that we didn't know the meaning of what we had just proved.  But, on the other hand, I have no idea, under the circumstances, why we would say that The Liar says that it is false in the first place (why the premise in unassailable).  How would you determine what it says?  So I am agnostic.

I should point out that this all bears no resemblance to LW's actual discussion of The Liar in the Cambridge lectures or anywhere else, as far as I know.



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