Absolute Contradiction, Dialetheism, and Revenge

Review of Symbolic Logic 7 (2):193-207 (2014)
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Is there a notion of contradiction—let us call it, for dramatic effect, “absolute”—making all contradictions, so understood, unacceptable also for dialetheists? It is argued in this paper that there is, and that spelling it out brings some theoretical benefits. First it gives us a foothold on undisputed ground in the methodologically difficult debate on dialetheism. Second, we can use it to express, without begging questions, the disagreement between dialetheists and their rivals on the nature of truth. Third, dialetheism has an operator allowing it, against the opinion of many critics, to rule things out and manifest disagreement: for unlike other proposed exclusion-expressing-devices (for instance, the entailment of triviality), the operator used to formulate the notion of absolute contradiction appears to be immune both from crippling expressive limitations and from revenge paradoxes—pending a rigorous nontriviality proof for a formal dialetheic theory including it.

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Franz Berto
University of St. Andrews


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