[FOM] The liar "revenge"?

Sara L. Uckelman s.l.uckelman at durham.ac.uk
Tue Jul 21 09:44:03 EDT 2015

On 07/20/2015 08:43 PM, Josh Cole wrote:
> 5. I conclude I will never find a meaning to the sentence by this form
> of analysis: we might view it as an infinite regress in a search for the
> ultimate reference. Now, if the liar sentence had a meaning, surely it
> would be susceptible to this kind of analysis, which carefully looks for
> the reference of every phrase. So, I conclude that the liar sentence has
> no meaning. At first it may look like the sort of string of words that
> would have a meaning, but it is in reality not coherent. Sort of like,
> "Dog five over blue times Johnson."

One relevant different is that "This sentence is not true" is wholly
grammatically correct, whereas "Dog five over blue times Johnson" is
not.  Thus, it is easy to identify why the latter is not meaningful/is
meaningless.  It is less easy to give a non-circular explanation of why
"This sentence is not true" is meaningless while the parallel "This
sentence is not grammatical" isn't meaningless (and is in fact false).


Dr. Sara L. Uckelman
Department of Philosophy
Durham University

The Dictionary of Medieval Names from European Sources

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