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date: 26 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

All abstracts over-simplify. But the truth is close to the following: the ancient Greeks, true to stereotype, pioneered semantic paradoxes. There was no indigenous awareness of them east of the Euphrates River. They emerged piecemeal from the Greek love of irony and holistically from the Greek ambition to encompass the whole Truth. After the Greeks there is mostly regress until Thomas Aquinas. After a couple of outstanding centuries, there is decline until twentieth-century advances in logic. These advances have been consolidated by the computer revolution. We are now in an unusual stage of history in which semantic paradoxes have become part of popular consciousness. Sophistication with these paradoxes has been driven by concerted theorizing about truth. Generalizations about truth purport to be true—making the theories naturally self-referential. This circularity can be eliminated by substituting infinity. But infinity also generates paradox, albeit through paths that have only recently been explored.

Keywords: self-defeat, verisimilitude, robot, expertise, exemplification, Yablo’s paradox, Curry paradox, possible truth-teller

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