Liar Paradox (Eubulid or Epimenides Paradox)

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Liar Paradox (Eubulid or Epimenides Paradox) - Back to the Paradoxes

This is a well known paradox written by the great stoical logician Chrysippos. The poet, grammarian and critic Philetus of Cos was said to have died of exhaustion attempting to resolve it.

1. A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore: "All Cretans are liars." Did he speak the truth, or did he lie?

2. A week later, the Cretan sailed to Greece again and said: "All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth." Although the Greeks on the shore weren't aware of what he had said the first time, they were truly puzzled.

If someone says "I always lie", are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

1. Liars do not necessarily lie all of the time. Similarly, telling a lie does not make you a liar.

2. Typically when someone says that they always do something then they are exaggerating. However, for the sake of enjoyment, let's assume that the Cretan wasn't exaggerating. In this case, the Cretan is obviously a liar or is at least lying. If he literally always told the truth then all Cretans would have to be liars. As he is a Cretan who always tells the truth all Cretans couldn't be liars, therefore making the first part of his statement false, which in turn would make the second part false. If he was a liar like he claims all Cretans are then the second part of his statement is false, therefore not contradicting the first part. Either way he lyes yet is not necessarily a liar (see number 1).

If someone says that they always lie then they are just exaggerating.

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I interpret the first Cretan's words as the truth.

'All Cretans are liars' means they all lie, but not always. If always, then it would have to be specified: 'All Cretans always lie.'

Since a liar does not have to always lie, this is an instance when one is telling the truth. A liar, even a pathological liar, does not always lie.

I interpret the second Cretan's words as a lie:

'All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth.' must be a lie. First, we now know that Cretans are liars and therefore capable of lying. Second, he cannot always tell the truth if he is a liar and therefore often lies. Third, this sentence is a paradox and therefore cannot be truth.

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It would mean that he is still lying right? If he says all Cretans are lairs, and his a Cretan then isn't he lying?

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Well, it seems like everyone feels they have the "right" answer; and so I'm here to say I have the right answer, really. This is the way I see it and I'm sure I'll do a better job at explaining myself than those who have tried, with wrong answers btw... Ready!?

When 1. A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore: "All Cretans are liars." Did he speak the truth, or did he lie? -The answer to this is, he lied. One can only assume that not every single Cretan is a liar and so he cannot speak for everyone.

2. A week later, the Cretan sailed to Greece again and said: "All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth." Although the Greeks on the shore weren't aware of what he had said the first time, they were truly puzzled. -Here, he is lying again. By stating that all he says is the truth and already knowing he lied about "all" Cretans being liars, you know he is lying about speaking the truth.

If someone says "I always lie", are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

Now, if someone says they always lie, not only can you assume they ARE telling the TRUTH, but if they were "lying," then again, they'd be speaking the TRUTH about always lying. (crazy huh, not really)

Thank you, Thank you... If this isn't clear enough for you, I am very worried for you and wonder what you are doing in the Paradox section of this site. You know they have "optical illusions" on here too, you should try those out, they're "crazy..."

Please message me.

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Liar Paradox (Eubulid or Epimenides Paradox) - Back to the Paradoxes

This is a well known paradox written by the great stoical logician Chrysippos. The poet, grammarian and critic Philetus of Cos was said to have died of exhaustion attempting to resolve it.

1. A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore: "All Cretans are liars." Did he speak the truth, or did he lie?

2. A week later, the Cretan sailed to Greece again and said: "All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth." Although the Greeks on the shore weren't aware of what he had said the first time, they were truly puzzled.

If someone says "I always lie", are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?

The key to this 'paradox' lies (no pun intended) within the semantics of the question.

We are asked if this man is telling the truth when he says 'I always lie.' That is a different question than if we are asked if the statement itself is true or not. It is only a paradox when the statement itself is perceived as a logical argument, forcing us to reason him always lying against him always telling the truth.....

The exact answer to the exact question is no he is not telling the truth and/or yes he is lying. He can be a liar and still tell the truth some of the time. It is a human statement and not a scientific one.

If more people were able to make the differentiation, then perhaps religion would be a thing of the past.

Edited by StreetLethal
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Well... he used a stereotype, which stereotypes are not usually true. Therefore, some Cretans are liars, but it doesn't mean he is. He never said admitted he himself was a liar just that all Cretans are liars.

Example of Stereotypes- All people who live in New York have a New York accent.

Which not all do, we just assume they do because they live in New York, but they dont ALL have New York accents

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This is pretty simple.

"All Cretans are liars." He is a Cretan. He's lying about him lying meaning he's telling the truth.

"All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth." He is lying about him lying so he is telling the truth - but he is lying that he's telling the truth - thus cancelling each other out so it does not make sense.

"I always lie" also does not make sense, if they were to lie about always lying we would never know, they would say "I always tell the truth."

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i think the Cretan is lying because "He said ALL CRETANS LYE[bOLD]" so if he is Cretan he is lying. :D happymaniac!

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Either all Cretans (or some and he is speaking generaly) are liars except him,

or he is a liar and holds some grudge (to other Cretans, who can be either liars or truthtellers)

so in this case he is willing to tell (or must tell) the thruth.

Considering the "thruth" about sailes and politics...

...isn't it suspicious, his emphasizm of Cretans being liars?

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When he says that all cretans are liers he is lying because only some of them lie. and he is one of those people. there may be very truthful crtans too. it makes perfect sense. when he says that all cretans are liers i am telling the truth. (or something to that effect) it is just the same case. he is lying and only some of the cretans are liers. So, if anybody can understand that... I'm glad I could help!

Quote: Don't tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon!

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if you say all liers are liers and you are a lier you are teling the truth so you are a truth sayer so what you sayid is the truth. since if you say that all humens are liers and you are telling the troth you are a lier becouse you are disegreing with your own statment of all humens are lyers and you are telling the truth so if you are actualy telling the truth you are lying about your quote of all humens are lyers so that makes you a lier

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If someone says "I always lie" then it is a lie. They don't ALWAYS lie, but they are when they say they do.

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1. A Cretan sails to Greece and says to some Greek men who are standing upon the shore: "All Cretans are liars." Did he speak the truth, or did he lie?

He Lied. All Cretans are not liars but he is.

2. A week later, the Cretan sailed to Greece again and said: "All Cretans are liars and all I say is the truth." Although the Greeks on the shore weren't aware of what he had said the first time, they were truly puzzled.

He Lied again. All cretans are not liars and all he says is not the truth, therefore he is a liar and nothing he said was true.

I hope this makes sense.... :D

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Well, if it were true the he says all truth, then it wouldn't make sense that all cretans are liars. Therefore, wouldnt it make sense that he was lying about saying all the truth and not all cretans are liars. I hope I explained myself well.

YES THIS AND SIMILAR ARE DISCUSSION POINTS ALMOST UNSOLVABLE... IT IS A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE... WHO SAID THE CRETAN SAILED... THE CRETAN... THEREFORE IT IS POSSIBLE IT NEVER HAPPENED... LIE OR TRUTH AGAIN... IF CRETAN SAID A CRETAN SAILED WE ARE HITTING THE REVOLVING DOOR... AND WHO SAID IT WAS A CRETAN, MAYBE IT WAS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY, THEFT OF GARB OR ATTIRE TO SURVIVE, OR A PLOY TO START A WAR... CAUSE TO DISTRACTION WITHOUT CONTEXT IT IS ULTIMATELY A RIDDLE...

HAVE A GREAT DAY! :P

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FREDI, NOT SURE YOUR DIALECT OR LANGUAGE, BUT AM NOT SURE YOU ARE INFERRING A DIFFERENT ARGUEMENT OR POSITION BY CHANGING THE SPELLING OF WORDS.

CLARIFY IF POSSIBLE WITH LANGUAGE/DIALECT OR LACK OF SPELL CHECK, THANK YOU!

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if you say " i always lie"

then ask "is he telling the truth"

why would a liar tell you he is lying?..He wouldn't.

You shouldn't believe he/she when they say.." i always lie"

would they not be lying right there?

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If someone says "I always lie" they are lying. Here is my logic:

If the person is telling the truth, that means that the statement is a lie, which means that they are not telling the truth.

If, however, they are lying, this could still be a lie because "not always lying" does not necessarily imply "always telling the truth".

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saying i always lie can be just saying something like i always eat apples it dosent mean they always eat apples they eat other things too but when you say i never tell the truth at all

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Ok, I am new here so be gentle in any responses to my reply. In my opinion, you don't even really need to know the story of the Cretan sailing to Greece in order to figure out the solution of the paradox. The only thing you need to look at is the final question. (If someone says "I always lie", are they telling the truth? Or are they lying?) If they say I always lie, and that is a true statement in regards to every other statement they have ever made, than although it is a true statement in regards to all previous statements, it is still a lie about always lying, and is a lie solely because it is true. But if you take all of the statements that this man has ever made including this one, he is still a liar, because the statement "I always lie" is true therefore a lie. The word "always" is what makes the man a liar. I hope I got that across, with out spinning anyone in a knot like I did myself. I am curious to see what anyone has to say about my comment but that will have to wait until later as I have a headache and must rest now. :D

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There is no paradox.

people think, if someone says: I always lie. it means the statement is a lie then he always tells the truth, meaning it is true so he always lies meaning it's a lie then he always tells the truth... and so on.

The flaw is that if "I always lie" is false it doesn't mean "I always say the truth" it means "i DO NOT always lie" then the circle is broken before even starting.

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There is no paradox.

people think, if someone says: I always lie. it means the statement is a lie then he always tells the truth, meaning it is true so he always lies meaning it's a lie then he always tells the truth... and so on.

The flaw is that if "I always lie" is false it doesn't mean "I always say the truth" it means "i DO NOT always lie" then the circle is broken before even starting.

not going beyond the limits of the purpose of this story..

to call someone a liar.. it must mean that they lie all the time..

if he tells a lie occasionally.. then u cant call him a liar becuase he also tells the truth

it would also ruin the purpose of the puzzle to find loop holes to solve it.

BUT! Check this out..

... if someone lies about lying.. he would ultimately be telling the truth...but!! he would still be a liar..

the difference is.. that he is contradicting himself. (basically he lied to himself) ultimately telling the truth

the question asks.. is he lying or telling the truth..

it is not asking if he is a liar or not (my point is that he can tell the truth and still be a liar)

The ultimate solution is that he is definitely lying.. becuase..

In the first part.. he basically calls himself a liar.. lets say hes telling the truth this time..

the second part would mean that he is lying because.. he said that he always tell the truth

he cant always tell the truth if he calls himself a liar..

( he speaks for the whole group .. but he is also a part of that group .. if all Cretans are liars.. then he cant be telling the truth..because he is also a Cretan.. if he tells the truth then all Cretans cannot be liars.. )

also In the story He is a Cretan.. it is told by a 3rd person point of view. not by Greek Perspective .. because if there is a possibility that he isnt a Cretan.. then theres no point to this puzzle

The Paradox in this story is the fact that his existance contradicts himself.

to say that "i always lie" your contradicting yourself because your telling the truth

Trust me hes a liar.. just ask him what color the sky is.. . i mean.. he probably sees purple monkeys.. }=P

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This is a paradox. I argue there is simply no way to make it stick without venturing outside of the original intention of the post. It's supposed to contradict itself, isn't that the definition of a paradox??? The event could not have actually happened, but since we have the ability to imagine, we can invent paradoxes like this that mess with our heads. I think that's all this is supposed to do.

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This is not a paradox.

So, person A: Everything I say is a lie.

This is a lie, and some of what he says is a lie. In truth, he would be saying this:

Person A (Revised): Some of what I say is a lie.

Apply this concept to what the Cretan said, and you receive the same results. The flaw in this is that it is assumed that a "lie" is the opposite of the truth. However, it is a lie if it is not the truth and a lie is not required to be the opposite of truth.

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Simple?

All people (Cretans) are liars. People do not always lie. Statement #1 is true. (Did Dyogenes ever find an Honest man.)

If I say I always lie I am lying, because for once in my life I just spoke the truth.

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Well, first of all, the truth is not necessarily the opposite of a lie.

Second, Cretans have been regarded as fools by other cultures. In fact, Cretan is synonymous with "idiot" in some parts of the world, including Greece, so if a Cretan got off a boat in Greece, it wouldn't really matter what he said.

However, I think the first point is more fruitful to pursue. The truth is not something that is either disclosed nor hidden in a lie, but something altogether more subjective and elusive. That is where the paradox is. You have to look beyond the obvious puzzle to the virtue. Why would someone pose such a question if not to enlighten? It is not enlightening to figure out whether or not someone is lying, because he is not qualified to tell the truth in the first place.

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