Free assumptions and the liar paradox

American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (2):115 - 135 (2001)
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Abstract

A new solution to the liar paradox is developed using the insight that it is illegitimate to even suppose (let alone assert) that a liar sentence has a truth-status (true or not) on the grounds that supposing this sentence to be true/not-true essentially defeats the telos of supposition in a readily identifiable way. On that basis, the paradox is blocked by restricting the Rule of Assumptions in Gentzen-style presentations of the sequent-calculus. The lesson of the liar is that not all assumptions are for free. One merit of this proposal is that it is free from the revenge problem.

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Patrick Greenough
University of St. Andrews

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