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John Buridan’s Theory of Truth and the Paradox of the Liar

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The solution John Buridan offers for the Paradox of the Liar has not been correctly placed within the framework of his philosophy of language. More precisely, there are two important points of the Buridanian philosophy of language that are crucial to the correct understanding of his solution to the Liar paradox that are either misrepresented or ignored in some important accounts of his theory. The first point is that the Aristotelian formula, ‘propositio est vera quia qualitercumque significat in rebus significatis ita est’, once amended, is a correct way to talk about the truth of a sentence. The second one is that he has a double indexing theory of truth: a sentence is true in a time about a time, and such times should be distinguished in the account of the truth-conditions of sentences. These two claims are connected in an important way: the Aristotelian formula indicates the time about which a sentence is true. Some interpreters of the Buridanian solution to the paradox, following the lead of Herzberger, have missed these points and have been led to postulate truth-values gaps, or surrogates of truth-value gaps, when there is nothing of this sort in his theory. I argue against this tradition of interpretation of Buridan and propose an interpretation of his solution to the Liar.

Affiliations: 1: UFMG Brazil


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