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Why isn't this a legitimate answer?


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I'm sure we all know the paradox about 'If I say 'I am lying', am I telling the truth or lying', so I won't write it out. My question is, why isn't the following a legitimate answer?

You aren't lying. You're just mistaken.

Maybe I'm sounding stupid, but seriously. Just because you state something doesn't mean it's true at all. Paradoxes themselves are evidence of that. And the very spirit of philosophers- i.e., everything anyone has ever said might be wrong accepts that people can just be plain mistaken. I've never heard this logic being followed before, and I'm wondering why. Anyone know?

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I agree, just because you make a false statement you are not necessarily lying. You could just be mistaken. But whether you are lying or mistaken about a statement, it is still false. So consider the statement "this statement is false". This paradox can't be so easily sidestepped.

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Yeah, the paradox does make a lot more sense when you say 'false' instead of 'lying'. A lot of paradoxes are the same way- in the unmovable object/unstoppable force paradox, it only really works if you say something like 'unbreakable, unmovable object' and 'unstoppable, un-divertible force', or else the object could break and not move, or the force could change direction. Word choice really matters...

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  • 2 months later...

Interesting post.

In theology Wesley defined "sin" as "willful transgression of a known law of God."

So, an act could be a sin or not, based on the actor's state of knowledge or intent.

Many logicians attribute the prefix "It is true that ..." or "It is the case that ..." to all declarative statements.

That permits a paradox to become instead a simple contradiction.

In American courts, there is a permissible disclaimer of "upon information and belief" that allows a witness to tell things as s/he knows them without saddling them with proving the truth of their statements.

If we take the liar's paradox as [possibly flawed] informal conversation, we get some added "outs" from the paradox.

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