January 10, 2005

Matt Carter and Nick Trakakis are arguing over dialetheism. What’s dialetheism? It’s the view that some contradictory pairs of statements are true.

It’s interesting that Nick is trying the line that contradictions (conjunctions of the form ‘p and not-p’) are meaningless. I always find it hard to judge claims of meaninglessness (since I don’t have on hand a general theory of meaningfulness), but I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for that line of argument. I would have thought that it was because we understood the meaning the statement ‘p and not-p’ that we could see that it couldn’t be true.

But Nick’s in good company here. His view that contradictions (and tautologies) has proponents like the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus.

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I’m Greg Restall, and this is my personal website. ¶ I am the Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Philosophy at the University of St Andrews.



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