## Monday, December 31, 2012

### On a formal Liar

A lot of formal work is done on the Liar paradox, so note that a formal logic is no more than a mathematical model of correct reasoning.
......E.g. Richard Heck was tempted by his formal version of the Liar paradox (Thought 1(1): 36–40) ‘to conclude that there can be no truly satisfying, consistent resolution of the Liar paradox’ (p. 39). And he did have a strong model because he assumed little more than two very weak logical principles, his equations 3 and 4 (p. 38). But it was still only a model.
......Heck’s informal illustration of equation 3 was: ‘It cannot be both that snow is white and that “snow is not white” is true’ (p. 38). That is unobjectionable because ‘snow is not white’ just means that it is not the case that snow is white. Insofar as snow is white, the claim made by ‘snow is not white’ is not true. And equation 4 was similar, e.g. it cannot be both that snow is not blue and that ‘snow is not blue’ is not true.
......Heck had a model of the Liar paradox because he had already introduced a term, λ, defined by his equation 2 (p. 36), which was a formal version of such definitions as the following: ‘L’ names the self-referential claim made by ‘L is not true’. It follows from that informal definition that insofar as L is true, it is true that L is not true. And L should conform to the logic behind equation 3, so insofar as L is true, it is not true that L is not true. But it does not follow logically that L is not true, because L may well be as true as not.
......Formally, equations 2 and 3 rule out T(λ). And similarly, equations 2 and 4 rule out ¬T(λ). But for a solution to Heck’s problem to be truly satisfying, it need only stay true to the underlying purpose of one’s formal logic. If we want to include terms like λ in our formal language, then we will need a better model of truth than T, but when deducing theorems from axioms we won’t normally need to allow for the possibility of terms like λ. And for such purposes as A.I. paraconsistent logic is sufficiently consistent.

Roy Sorensen (2001: Vagueness and Contradiction, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 169) considered the following pair of sentences:
......The neighbouring italicized sentence is not true.
......The neighbouring italicized sentence is not true.
While it is logically possible that one of those sentences – or rather, one of the claims made by those sentences – is true and the other false, those two tokens of that sentence-type should have the same truth-value because there are no significant contextual differences between them. It is therefore plausible that each is as true as not. For each token, were the claim expressed by it as true as not, the other claim would be as untrue as not, which clearly coheres with it too being as true as not.

In this month's issue of The Reasoner (page 185), Peter Eldridge-Smith gave the following informal description of his Unsatisfied paradox:
My favourite predicate just happens to be 'does not satisfy my favourite predicate'. Crete satisfies 'does not satisfy my favourite predicate' iff Crete does not satisfy my favourite predicate. Therefore, Crete satisfies my favourite predicate iff Crete does not satisfy my favourite predicate.
And not just Crete, there is no thing that satisfies Peter's favourite predicate, and no thing that fails to satisfy it without it also not being the case that it fails to satisfy it. Nevertheless, Peter's favourite predicate could be as true as not of Crete, or anything else. Predicates can do that, e.g. 'is blue' is as true as not of an object that is as blue as not, and some predicates apply equally to all things, e.g. 'is a thing' is true of all things.

## Friday, December 21, 2012

Suppose that Pinocchio's nose grows if, and only if, he says something that is not true, and that he says "My nose is growing". Then his nose is growing if and only if it is not growing. (This paradox originated with Veronique Eldridge-Smith.) According to Peter Eldridge-Smith:
The Pinocchio scenario is not going to arise in our world, so it is not a pragmatic issue. It seems though that there could be a logically possible world in which Pinocchio’s nose grows if and only if he is saying something not true. However, there cannot be such a logically possible world wherein he makes the statement ‘My nose is growing’.
In the world in which Pinocchio's nose grows and shrinks in such a way, suppose that he says, of various uniformly coloured objects, that they are blue. What happens if the object is as blue as not? (There must be such colours, because otherwise some colour that is blue is the same colour as some colour that is not blue.) Well, whatever happens, that could also be what happens when he says "My nose is growing". It is, for example, possible that Pinocchio's nose is in a quantum-mechanically entangled state, as much growing as not. That seems to be a logically possible world.