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The Universal Liar?

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There are no paradoxes.  In this case there is no paradox either.

 

 

 

Everyone: For reference: let's define universal liar as "a person whose every statement of necessity must be false" as against any other kind of statement...

 

Why?  And what conceptual roots applied to what concrete examples merged to produce this definition?

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Why?  And what conceptual roots applied to what concrete examples merged to produce this definition?

 

Sorry, there are no paradoxes in reality, only errors in thought.

 

The definition of "universal liar" was chosen for clarity and definitiveness.

 

 

My intent is for Objectivists to show their talents at avoiding rationalism and keeping it real, while having fun in the process.

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Someone says to you

 

"I am a universal liar"

 

 

Is he telling the truth?  What can you say about his statement?

 

It is an irrational (i.e. meaningless) proposition that violates the law of non-contradiction. It isn't paradoxical, it is illogical. It denies and asserts the proposition at the same time. Implicitly it says that I can be trusted (i.e. this statement is true), explicitly it says that I can't be trusted (i.e. this statement is false). 

Edited by thenelli01
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The prospect of someone telling you he is a universal liar is an obvious contradiction.  The statement cannot be true; as soon as he says it, even if everything else he said was a lie, his lying is no longer universal. 

 

Likewise, the prospect of trying to be a universal liar is also a contradiction.  If I make an honest effort to be a universal liar, I am beating a dead horse (not to mention destroying my mind).

 

 

But hell, let's ignore the contradiction and have some fun with this, like David Hume would have done.  So we have established that a person cannot make an honest effort to be a universal liar without compromising his mission; though a sociopath will lie to others and try to cheat them all day long, his actions remain honestly committed to chosen goals, no matter how dishonest or dubious those goals might be. 

 

So how could a man lie literally all the time?  Imagine a man developed a mental malfunction in which he could not think or act according to the evidence of his senses, which remained completely intact, and he could not do anything else but the opposite of the verdict of his conceptual judgment; he wouldn't live very long.  No matter how much his stomach wrenches, he will not eat; no matter how thirsty he became, he would not drink; would he even be able to breathe?  All he could do was lay there and wait to die, unless his senses told him it was time to lie down, in which case he would go for a drive in his car, but when his senses told him to stop at the RR tracks because a train was coming, he would drive right in front of the train. 

 

But in order for the universal liar to drive a car, this presents torturous complexity; I think this is where I pull a Hume and say, "Nevermind".  So the moral of the story is, don't be like Hume and don't play on the RR tracks. 

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Keep it real, there is an answer.

What do you mean that there's an answer? There is no particular answer any more than there is an answer to "I don't know anything". It's just an arbitrary statement, and I'd say the result is that it can't be true or false. The sentence literally makes no sense. Green ideas sure do sleep furiously, wouldn't you say? Back to the paradox. Grammatically correct? Yes. Any meaning? No.

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Not to pile on, but as I've said elsewhere, statements like this and all forms of refuting logic as such ("you know, logic doesn't solve all of life's problems!") are gibberish. They are not humanly-readable statements. They are the same as saying, "mombats winkfla bleezerburp planes trains and automobiles will eat catfish for football".

 

When somebody brings that to the conversation, the conversation is over. You might have a little fun barb at the end of your conversation like, "okay then, but don't use that mode of thought in real life or you might hurt yourself" or some such.

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Someone says to you

 

"I am a universal liar"

 

 

Is he telling the truth?  What can you say about his statement?

 

For the purposes of discussion we defined "universal liar" as "a person whose every statement of necessity must be false"

 

 

Starting with reality:

 

1.  A person stated that he is X.  The first question is whether X in reality is possible.  The statement will only be true if Xs can exist AND he in particular is an X. If Xs are impossible the statement MUST be false.  Granted, keeping it real I would say there is only an extremely tiny possibility that X would ever actually exist.  Since it is not psychologically impossible that a person could always state only falsehoods, never truths, gibberish or anything else (perhaps some rare mental condition) I will state that at this stage the question is still open.  Since it is (vanishingly?) possible Xs exist,there is a possibility that he "is an X".  Be careful, we have focused our evaluation so far on reality, we will deal more with the statement and its relation to reality below.  Already though the evidence weighs heavily in favor of the statement being false. 

 

2.  What is the nature of X?  If X is possible, then the next question is what is its nature and can we tell from the behavior of the person whether he is one?  A person who is X, i.e. as of necessity would only utter statements which are false would have to behave in the fallowing ways to fall under such a category:

a. would need to keep silent about everything he did not know the truth or falsity of

b. would only ever be able to make statements which were not meaningless (they must be false, not true and not meaningless gibberish)

c. would only state falsehoods about things he could have determined are true

All of these require a faculty of logic and very strict observance of whether a statement can be made false with a degree of certainty, etc. perhaps only ostensive truths could be spoken about "THAT is NOT green" etc.  All of this weighs against the claim of being a universal liar.  Such would be a rare and challenging abnormality. 

 

3.  What about the context of the statement?  If the person were an X, he would know whether or not he was a universal liar.  He would have a whole life of having to do 2. above and a whole life of making false statements and being quiet as needed.  Why on earth would a universal liar ever voluntarily state he was a universal liar?  This contradicts the nature of a universal liar.

 

A universal liar would never utter those words.  The person is therefore pretending to be a universal liar.  The statement is false.

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A universal liar would never utter those words.  The person is therefore pretending to be a universal liar.  The statement is false.

Blorps are zeeps because they live on Wulark..

 

Is that true or false? Really, you can't say this is false despite there being clear grammatical structure. It lacks anything to be evaluated as true or false. You are analyzing the syntax of a statement, while there is no semantic meaning. There is no context.  I don't see why a universal liar would need to be able to make only evaluable statements anyway. The whole example of a universal liar claiming to be such itself can't be evaluated! If say, the universal liar is a robot, you'd program it not to say such meaningless sentences. Or you'd allow it to lie, and state meaningless propositions, but never the truth.

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Self-reference is a well-known problem in philosophy. See the stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. There are a number of resolutions to this problem, going back to Bergrand Russell. Type Theory is one solution, as is Kripke's multi-valued logic. Just as the set of all sets requires a serious solution, so here a serious change, making heirarchies of statements or altering our understanding of truth, is required.

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What is the Objectivist accepted concept of "truth"?

 

How is it related to reality, i.e. what part in the definition of this "truth" does reality play?

 

 

Can such a "truth" be divorced completely from reality?  If so, can it have any relevance whatever to existence?

 

 

What is "rationalism" according to Objectivism?

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:-)

How universal? Does every statement have to be the exact opposite of his own knowledge, or do fibs count? Because a truly and fully universal liar is impossible.

With self reference involved, every statement must have SOME element of truth (and self reference is inescapable, in human life).

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Truth is correspondence to reality, which is whatever you can sense.

Although pure sensation is unintelligible while perception is fallible, so I think it must be a bit more complex than that (but not substantively different).

Example: suppose you suddenly saw dark spots clouding your vision. Would you think they actually existed, in front of you? Of course not; you'd have your eyes checked- implicitly rejecting your own senses.

So why does the rejection of the self evident seem proper in that case? As I said, I think there's much more going on there than meets the eye.

Obviously not a problem to or a contradiction of Oist epistemology; men can rationally identify errors of their own senses. Only an intriguing puzzle for anyone curious as to how.

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The process of abstracting and integrating one's percept's into concepts (esp. higher level) is fallible, but perception is automatic. You can direct your eyes in a given direction, the senses simply register what is there. A floater inside the optic fluid registers as being in the field of sight. Learning to distinguish what it is, and what it contributes to the process is the fallible portion.

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Automatic does not mean infallible. People can and do percieve falsely; that's why we have the concept of an "illusion". Furthermore, perception can be done consciously, and generally is when people suspect such an illusion.

But that's not the interesting part because illusions aren't a very prominent part of human life; when you think about it, we're remarkably capable of finding and fixing such errors.

That's the interesting part.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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But are they perceiving falsely, or concluding falsely? The stick appears bent in water. The senses automatically take in the full context. Our conclusions require us to understand how light refracts in water leading to the illusion (or wrong conclusion) that the stick is bent, artificially or misintegratively challenging the infallablity of the senses. We find and fix such errors by recognizing (as in the case of the stick, perhaps via touch) that what we conclude based on one sense without integrating it with the data from the other senses can potentially lead to error. The more interesting aspect is: given the finite nature of our 5 senses, is there data out there that our senses are not cognizant of? Consider our ability to build equipment capable of registering data and presenting it within our sensory ranges, that lie outside of our sensory ranges. (Magnetic Resonance Imaging, radar, infrared imaging, x-rays, microwaves, ultrasound, etc.)

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you dont seem to be real in being living, from the way you dont know that fact, where everyone is a liar

 

a liar is who knows that truth exist and actually he means to be living by taking advantage from knowing everything true

 

a liar has all the intersts to declare himself being a liar, because he is then recognized being existing while all he is through is by reversing truth which exist

 

a liar is the true subject, always one only himself fact never related with any objective fact as never real then

so a true subject one

 

a sentence such as, i am a universal liar, is a lie, which prove its fact existing

 

it is a lie, because it doesnt say the truth, the truth lied about, is what the freedom is untrue, when being free is by definition being true

that freedom since claiming something alone, is being really a liar by forcing the concept of being something else then truth through lying about its will of being untrue, so acting according to its will to kill the truth for lies to be possibly existing objectively from others kind of recognition, which allows the mean to be for a universal life, through fooling everyone else

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