PHI 215: Lecture 1, Truth Value

Poseted Prickle-Prickle, Discord 67 YOLD 3173

“This statement is false.”

A classic example of a paradox, this is known as The Liar’s Paradaox, and belongs to a larger class of paradoxes, Self-referential Paradoxes. This particular one creates an interesting problem in that we cannot say if this is true or false. If we declare it true, then the statement, by its own nature, must be false, which is impossible. If we then declare it false, it cannot be false, as it claims, and must therefore be true, which is a case we have already looked at. Perplexing, no?

This particular statement is important to the Discordian mind, because it is our version of a koan. The koan is meant to be contemplated, and is considered to be mastered when the student reaches an enlightenment. Being no different, this statement is meant to bring you to an enlightenment while contemplating it, and , in my interpretation, whether or not it is a true statement. To be more precise, the enlightenment is conferred upon realization of the truth value of the statement. Put quite simply, it has none. The enlightenment attainable is that a truth value is not a requisite portion of a statement. Words, sentences, claims; none of these actually require truth values. As an example, take the statement, “All grakels lorviate.” This statement has no truth value. It cannot be declared false, because that would mean that grakels do not, in fact, lorviate. Since we neither know what grakels are, or what lorviation is, we cannot make statements about the lorviation of grakels, and assign them truth values.

That wraps it up for this lesson. Today’s homework is to come up with a one-word answer to the question, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” I expect justifications for your answer, but since homework will neither be collected nor graded, the exercise is purely for your own benefit.

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