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Kenny Davis

Fallacy of Pure Self reference

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The fallacy of pure self-reference occurs when a concept or statement is asserted as referring exclusively to its own object-less referring

Example: This statement is true

It originates with Dr. Harry Binswanger

 

The problem I see with this fallacy is it seems to not be universally ture.

"This sentence has exactly six words" is true while also only referring to itself.

I think the key to my misunderstanding of it is the part about "its own objectless referring".

However im unsure, is the fallacy of pure self reference actually a thing? 

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Another sentence Dr. Binswanger used in his example of the fallacy of self reference was:

This sentence is true.

The problem is that the sentence only refers to itself as true.

Here is the example given along with another variation that the good Dr. provided in one of his audio presentations.

This sentence has exactly six words.

or

This sentence is in written in English.

True, the latter two sentences refer to themselves, but not purely as self reference. Both name facts that can be verified. An individual can count the words, or recognize the words as belonging to the English language.

What about the first sentence can be independently verified as true? What about the first sentence is true? It has no cognitive content. It has no what. He draws a parallel to Miss Rand's identification of "A consciousness conscious of nothing but itself is a contradiction in terms." Again, there is no cognitive content.

Welcome to the forum.

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On 8/30/2017 at 6:09 PM, Kenny Davis said:

The fallacy of pure self-reference occurs when a concept or statement is asserted as referring exclusively to its own object-less referring

Example: This statement is true

What is a "statement" and what is "truth"? The statement of exactly six words (the primary meaning of which is only itself) also has secondary and tertiary meanings about lingual generation, metaphysics and the relationship between consciousness and existence.

The key word in the definition is "exclusively".

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On 9/30/2017 at 8:54 PM, Harrison Danneskjold said:

What is a "statement" and what is "truth"? The statement of exactly six words (the primary meaning of which is only itself) also has secondary and tertiary meanings about lingual generation, metaphysics and the relationship between consciousness and existence.

The key word in the definition is "exclusively".

What about "This statement refers exclusively to itself."? The statement refers exclusively to itself and is true.

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This statement is true.

The problem with this proposition is not that it refers purely to itself, but that it refers purely to an evaluation of itself. To be true means to be in accordance with something else. With what is the statement in accordance? There is no context or standard for the evaluation, therefore the statement's epistemological status is arbitrary.

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I agree with the posters here. In English, statements that are not gramatically complete are called sentence fragments. I.E. The sentence "walking the dog." There is no object of the sentence, who is walking the dog.

I would propose that sentences that are purely self-referential such as "This sentence is true" are cognitive fragments. There isn't enough information in the sentence to evaluate it.

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2 hours ago, SpookyKitty said:

The statement "This statement is true" can be evaluated and is, in fact, true.

if it were false, then the statement "This statement is false" would be true. But that's a contradiction. So it must be that "This statement is true" is true.

No. If it were false, then the statement "This statement is true" would be false. So it must be that the statement is false, since there are no contradictions.

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On 12/16/2017 at 3:54 PM, MisterSwig said:

With what is the statement in accordance? There is no context or standard for the evaluation, therefore the statement's epistemological status is arbitrary.

Then wouldn't "this statement is false" be merely arbitrary?

I'm not sure I can disprove that it is arbitrary, in a certain sense, but in another sense it also seems self-contradictory. And in that same sense "this statement is true" seems tautological (and therefore true).

 

On 12/16/2017 at 6:01 PM, SpookyKitty said:

 

If it were false, then the statement "This statement is false" would be true.

That doesn't seem to follow, either. If "this statement is true" were arbitrary then "this statement is false" would also be arbitrary. The Objectivist concept of the "arbitrary" is not quite the same as "false".

 

Edit:

 

What about "this is a statement" - which is implicit in "this statement is true"? Again, you both seem to be looking at a single thing it means while there are multiple layers of meaning involved even in something as simple as this.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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