How to find an attractive solution to the liar paradox

Pinder, Mark (2018). How to find an attractive solution to the liar paradox. Philosophical Studies, 175(7) pp. 1661–1680.



The general thesis of this paper is that metasemantic theories can play a central role in determining the correct solution to the liar paradox. I argue for the thesis by providing a specific example. I show how Lewis’s reference-magnetic metasemantic theory may decide between two of the most influential solutions to the liar paradox: Kripke’s minimal fixed point theory of truth and Gupta and Belnap’s revision theory of truth. In particular, I suggest that Lewis’s metasemantic theory favours Kripke’s solution to the paradox over Gupta and Belnap’s. I then sketch how other standard criteria for assessing solutions to the liar paradox, such as whether a solution faces a so-called revenge paradox, fit into this picture. While the discussion of the specific example is itself important, the underlying lesson is that we have an unused strategy for resolving one of the hardest problems in philosophy.

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