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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 13, 2008

Logic and Philosophy of Logic

Hartley Slater
Pages 87-104

Paradoxes and Pragmatics

Tarski’s assessment that natural language is inconsistent on account of the Liar Paradox is shown to be incorrect: what Tarski’s theorem in fact shows is that Truth is not a property of sentences but of propositions. By using propositions rather than sentences as the bearers of Truth, semantic closure within the same language is easily obtained. Tarski’s contrary assessment was partly based on confusions about propositions and their grammatical expression. But more centrally it arose through blindness to pragmatic factors in language — a blindness that was common in his time, and it has continued to the present day, in discussions of ‘Open Pairs’, and Yablo-type paradoxes, for instance. For completeness, it is also shown that the Fixed Point Theorem does not apply to propositions, because of categorical differences between sentences and propositions — also predicates and properties.

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