Self-Reference in Law


Authors
Peter Suber
Earlham College
Abstract
We know from more than two millenia of experience that self-referential statements, such as the liar's ("This very statement is false"), can be debated by philosophers and logicians for millenia without producing consensus on their solutions. We should not be surprised, then, if self-referential laws produce paradoxes which puzzle lawyers. What is surprising, though, is that some of these paradoxes bother only the logicians and philosophers who study law from outside, and do not bother lawyers at all. This fact should interest philosophers of law even more than the paradoxes themselves.
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