Al-Taftāzānī on the Liar Paradox

Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy 4 (1) (2016)
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Al-Taftāzānī introduces the Liar Paradox, in a commentary on al-Rāzī, in a short passage that is part of a polemic against the ethical rationalism of the Muʿtazila. In this essay, we consider his remarks and their place in the history of the Liar Paradox in Arabic Logic. In the passage, al-Taftāzānī introduces Liar Cycles into the tradition, gives the paradox a puzzling name—the fallacy of the “irrational root” —which became standard, and suggests a connection between the paradox and what it tells us about truth and falsehood, and arguments for divine voluntarism and what they tell us about the nature of goodness and badness. On this last point, we also discuss a passage from al-Rāzī, which suggests similar connections.

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Ahmed Alwishah
Claremont College
David Sanson
Illinois State University

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