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Thread: The Liar's Paradox

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post The Liar's Paradox

    The Liar's Paradox points to the elusive nature of truth.
    It says;

    "I am now telling a lie"

    If true, then false; if false then true.

    But if we turn that around, and say;

    "I am now telling a truth"

    If true then true, if false then false.

    Then the statement doesn't really say much in and of itself.

    Some may believe it to be true, others believe it to be false.

    This leads us to examine the different kinds of truth - a truth where the statement corresponds to a fact out there in the world; a statement that reflects a certain state of affairs etc., etc.,

    But even then, we know from propaganda, historical revisionism etc. that it is not always easy to establish facts and the like to everybody's satisfaction.

    This brings in the idea of perspective, and the sense that truth is never really absolute, but always relative to an extent.

    "There are no GLOBAL truths" [notice something about this statement?]

    I may FEEL to the roots of my being that something is true - but I could be wrong.

    Liars pass truth-tests because they convince themselves that they are telling the truth ... and are we all not liars to an extent?

    Truth is far more elusive than the lie ...

    Life IS a lie in the main

    But then I have just stated a series of 'truths' about the lie, and so have entered once more into the Liar's Paradox.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: The Liar's Paradox

    A "lie" (defined as "having the intent to deceive") is an action directed to without; as one cannot have the intent to deceive oneself--for intention negates the possibility of lying to oneself, by definition. In short: If I were to say that 'today, I will lie and say I am not me' I would still know myself as myself: I had the intention to lie (deceive myself), but it fell flat as who else could I be? Having deceived oneself, and realizing this in retrospect, is still no "lie" in the definitive sense--but, merely the opening of a door into hindsighted self-deception. In a larger context: no one, at any time, is capable of "lying" to themselves: lying to others is an entirely different issue.

    Regardless of whether or not someone passes a 'truth-test' has very little to do (in general) with whether or not someone is "lying." For example: x has murdered y, and knows it. x takes the truth-test and passes--he did not murder y. x is nonetheless in possession of a Fact: he knows he murdered (according to z et. Al.) y. That x was able to deceive others (z et Al.)holds no necessary connection to x having lied to himself. An explanation?: perhaps x has overcome 'justification' or the notion/definition of murder in general; or, how it applies to x in this particular instance. "Lying" is a reaction. Perspective is an intra-action; and, interaction from without which, together, form a cohesive picture with respect to A: perspective does not rule out, or, negate Facts--logically speaking. There are Facts: the question is, as you have alluded/implied, from what perspective does one proceed?

    "Life" IS True. There is no "in the main" about it. If one is unaware that one is incorrect about something, at any given time; and, later cedes to either a new perspective or a preponderance of evidence to the contrary of a once held (T)ruth--no "lie" in the definitive sense can be said to have taken place. In fact, one is now in posession of a (T)ruth, retrospective from necessity: that it has been unveiled, as it were, is no argument that it was a lie; but rather, an argument against anything--being (F)alse. This is the perspective of the affirmer as logic applies to ethics and morality, for one who affirms unreservedly: Nothing is (F)alse; everything is (t)rue. From the (t)rue sprouts (T)ruth. Ad Infinitum.

    The "liar's paradox" is only paradoxical if one is ignorant of the exit; or is, ironically, lying. How can the sphinx lie?

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    Re: The Liar's Paradox

    Self-deception is constantly practiced; from the most overt strong self-lies [paedophiles, for example, rarely will accept that they *are* paedophilies], to the little white self-deceptive things that we tell ourselves [I am handsome/ugly; or I didn't/did really hurt that person etc.,].

    Human consciousness consists in a whole range of self-serving lies to oneself.

    We begin by telling lies to ourselves about ourselves from childhood because we *need* to do that to remain stable, secure; that is how we get so practiced in telling lies so that we can then lie to others.

    Indeed, I would say that people tell more lies to themselves than they do to others.

    All in all, then, life is a web of deceit; as Nietzsche said:
    'Life is in Love with the Lie'.

    And how many Lies are told [to oneself and to the Other] in Love?

    Going further, perhaps amnesia is a form of telling lies to oneself.

    When human beings are shocked, fearful, frightened etc., - they quickly resort to the self lie.

    Confidence tricksters, conjurors, stage-magicians all know how easy it is to get people to *lie to themselves*.
    That is the best way to deceive - far superior than telling lies to them yourself.

    Are reports of psychic phenomena a form of lying to oneself?

    UFO abduction stories?

    Or how about religious/mystic visions?

    In many cases we are in the realm of "false memory syndrome".

    How many people convinced themselves that they were victims when they weren't?
    They lied to themselves so much that they began to believe it.

    Self-Fantasy is *very* seductive; and can be lucrative.

    And so on.

    As to perspective; I suggest that all our truths are derived via our personal'social perspectives and are therefor 'coloured' by our perceiving them; they are 'our' truths.
    That we may share them with many others has more to do with the commonality of consciousness and language than of the intrinsic 'truth' of Life [consciousness and language evolved as the need for communication evolved].

    The liar's paradox just points to the insufficiency of language to present 'unvarnished truth'.
    This is not surprising when language was forged in the main to tell lies [to oneself and others].

    Yes, language was a means to decieve - very necessary in the harsh conditions of primitive life where one is in constant danger of 'giving oneself away'.

    That 'the lie' is so profound is adverted in that its intrinsic meaning from its Indo-European or Aryan root remains unchanged;

    IE Root:*'Leugh-' ; To tell a lie.
    1a. warlock, from Old English leogan, to lie; b. belie, f. OE beleogan, to deceive [both f. Germanic *leugan.
    2. Lie, f. OE lyge, a lie, a falsehood, f. Germanic *lugiz.
    Last edited by Moody; Sunday, March 5th, 2006 at 08:56 PM.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Re: The Liar's Paradox

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless
    Self-deception is constantly practiced; from the most overt strong self-lies [paedophiles, for example, rarely will accept that they *are* paedophilies], to the little white self-deceptive things that we tell ourselves [I am handsome/ugly; or I didn't/did really hurt that person etc.,].

    Human consciousness consists in a whole range of self-serving lies to oneself.

    We begin by telling lies to ourselves about ourselves from childhood because we *need* to do that to remain stable, secure; that is how we get so practiced in telling lies so that we can then lie to others.

    Indeed, I would say that people tell more lies to themselves than they do to others.

    All in all, then, life is a web of deceit; as Nietzsche said:
    'Life is in Love with the Lie'.

    And how many Lies are told [to oneself and to the Other] in Love?

    Going further, perhaps amnesia is a form of telling lies to oneself.

    When human beings are shocked, fearful, frightened etc., - they quickly resort to the self lie.

    Confidence tricksters, conjurors, stage-magicians all know how easy it is to get people to *lie to themselves*.
    That is the best way to deceive - far superior than telling lies to them yourself.

    Are reports of psychic phenomena a form of lying to oneself?

    UFO abduction stories?

    Or how about religious/mystic visions?

    In many cases we are in the realm of "false memory syndrome".

    How many people convinced themselves that they were victims when they weren't?
    They lied to themselves so much that they began to believe it.

    Self-Fantasy is *very* seductive; and can be lucrative.

    And so on.

    As to perspective; I suggest that all our truths are derived via our personal'social perspectives and are therefor 'coloured' by our perceiving them; they are 'our' truths.
    That we may share them with many others has more to do with the commonality of consciousness and language than of the intrinsic 'truth' of Life [consciousness and language evolved as the need for communication evolved].

    The liar's paradox just points to the insufficiency of language to present 'unvarnished truth'.
    This is not surprising when language was forged in the main to tell lies [to oneself and others].

    Yes, language was a means to decieve - very necessary in the harsh conditions of primitive life where one is in constant danger of 'giving oneself away'.

    That 'the lie' is so profound is adverted in that its intrinsic meaning from its Indo-European or Aryan root remains unchanged;

    IE Root:*'Leugh-' ; To tell a lie.
    1a. warlock, from Old English leogan, to lie; b. belie, f. OE beleogan, to deceive [both f. Germanic *leugan.
    2. Lie, f. OE lyge, a lie, a falsehood, f. Germanic *lugiz.
    I still think (I)ntention as well as 'truth by concensus' is being overlooked.

    At any rate: "If someone obstinately and for a long time wants to appear as something, it is in the end hard for him to be anyhting else" (Nietzsche: from Human, All too Human).

    "Lies" very often, as is the case with gods, decompose and subsequestly recompose into their opposite. "...how does something arise from its antithesis...?" (Nietzsche: BGE)

    Logic (proper) cannot answer to, or address the paradox; as logic is not the ultimate arbiter of "truth value." Untruth is a condition of life; ergo, our philosophy not only transcends "good and evil," but also the "lie." One would be incorrect to say that "lies" themselves are not also a condition. If life, itself, is True; it would follow that the lie is, paradoxically, and by necessity--true.

    Enter Nietzsche's inversions, revisions, and refinements of the very notion of truths (that become Truths and visa versa) as applied to Philosophy, more generally:

    "As soon as a philosophy begins to believe in itself, it always creates the world in its own image, it cannot do otherwise; philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to 'creation of the world,' to causa prima.'"(Nietzsche: BGE)

    I suspect that this is where the "lie" is most lucrative: it is True, that I am in posession of truths.

    The question remains: "which of us is Oedipus...which of us Sphinx?"(N)

    How can the Sphinx lie?

    Good to see you.

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    Re: The Liar's Paradox

    Actually the 'Liar's Paradox' is what was first known as the Epimenidis Paradox. Epimenidis was ..(surprise) an ancient Greek.


    Epimenidis said that all Cretans are liers (Crete is the southest and biggest greek island)
    Epimenidis is himself from Crete.


    So, Epimenidis is lying
    So, Cretans tell the truth
    So, Epimenidis is telling the truth
    So, Cretans are lying
    So, Epimenidis is lying
    So, Cretans are telling the truth
    So,....

    ..and so forth

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