Everything I say is a lie. Is this a paradox or a fallacy?

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Everything I say is a lie. Is this a paradox or a fallacy?
air
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Posted Apr 27, 2008 - 8:36 PM:
Subject: Everything I say is a lie. Is this a paradox or a fallacy?
A friend and I were debating whether this statement is a paradox or a fallacy?
Everything I say is a lie.

I say it's a self-refutation fallacy. So the statement itself is a lie, it is illogical because it contradicts the statement it asserts. If everything they say is a lie then this statement is a lie then there telling the truth so everything they say isn't a lie.

My friend says it's a paradox that the contradiction itself is still true.
She had an entire arguement over the statement which I can't recall perfectly so I won't try to because I don't want to present it inaccurately.
Then I thought maybe the statement can be either depending on the context it is used in. In an arguement it is a fallacy but by itself just as a statement it is a paradox.

Either way any insight would be apperciated.
Floyd
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Posted Apr 27, 2008 - 9:02 PM:

I think it is meaningless. You could just as easily say, "This is what it is not." But saying grammatically correct words does not make them meaningful.
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 7:32 AM:

I covered a bit of proof earlier. Set "A" contains all the statements that can be made by someone who only tells lies. Set "B" contains all the statements that can be made by someone who only tells the truth. The statement, "Everything I say is a lie", does not exist in set "A" or set "B". Saying it is a paradox is committing the "fallacy of bifurcation". The statement must come from a third set, which has only slightly more complex rules. "Everything I say is a lie", is a lie, if I can sometimes tell the truth, (the emphasis on *Everything*, not *lying*. Its not a paradox, anymore, if there is a solution. Its not a fallacy itself, even though the listener may commit one. In fact, it is the way the world works -- most people need to lie sometimes or tell the truth sometimes.
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 9:55 AM:

air wrote:

... any insight would be appreciated.


Only certain kinds of statements can meaningfully be said to be true or false. (A lie is a statement that the speaker believes to be false.) Only statements in which some predicate is ascribed to a subject can meaningfully be said to be true or false. If no predicate is ascribed to a subject, then the statement is not truth apt--it is meaningless to say whether it's true or false (or a lie.)

In a statement such as “The cat is on the mat” the predicate is on the mat and it is attributed to the subject the cat. Thus, this is the kind of statement that we can judge as true or false. Similarly with Paris is the capital of Germany. The predicate is the capital of Germany is ascribed to the subject Paris.

A blanket statement such as "Everything I say is a lie" would include meaning that when I say Hello, how’s it going? or perhaps Please shut the door when you leave they are lies—knowingly false statements. But such statements are not truth apt, they’re not the kind of statements about which it makes sense to call them true or false—because they do not ascribe some predicate to a subject.

Finally, regarding the issue of self-referentiality, if the statement Everything I say is a lie is taken to refer also to itself, it is meaningless, because the statement is not attributing some predicate to a subject.


Cheers.
jd
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 10:29 AM:

I think you can set a similar paradox up with clear subject / predicate and without statements that refer to themselves.

Statement A is "Statement B is false"
Statement B is "Statement A is true"

Statement B doesn't refer to itself: it's about statement A. And to say of a statement (another statement - not this one) that it's false or true is to predicate something of something else [or is it..?]


But it follows that if statement B is true then statement B is false and vice-versa.
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 10:47 AM:

Cuthbert wrote:
I think you can set a similar paradox up with clear subject / predicate and without statements that refer to themselves.

Statement A is "Statement B is false"
Statement B is "Statement A is true"

Statement B doesn't refer to itself: it's about statement A. And to say of a statement (another statement - not this one) that it's false or true is to predicate something of something else [or is it..?]


But it follows that if statement B is true then statement B is false and vice-versa.



Neither Statement A nor Statement B are truth apt, because neither attributes a predicate to a subject. No matter how deep into a regress you bounce down with these two statements, a predicate never is attributed to a subject.


Cheers.
jd
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 12:14 PM:

I say it's a self-refutation fallacy: you are completely right. All it means is that you lie sometimes, but not always. Basically, it means you choose whether to lie or not.
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Posted Apr 28, 2008 - 8:40 PM:

The first statement is false inherently simply due to the fact that it states "Everything I say is a lie" which would, of course, as it was a general statement, include itself. As such, Everything I say is a lie, if that were a lie, would read Everything I say is the Truth.

Therefore, it can be assumed that the second statement (assuming the second statement is "I am Lying" as the saying goes) it also therefore false, meaning that they tell the truth that everything they say is a lie. The nature of the first statement (a lie) determines that the second statement is also a lie. Therefore, Everything that I say is a lie (lying, everything that he says is the truth), I am lying (This is the truth).

Thus the words themselves no longer matter, the assignment of the words is all inportant. As such, Everything I say is a lie, if that were a lie, would read Everything I say is the Truth. As such, saying that I am lying, is also the truth. Both statements were true, ignoring the fact that the words themselves spoke of lies. If we re-word it with its context it is:

Everything I say is the Truth. This is True..
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Posted Apr 29, 2008 - 5:35 AM:

If you believe this statement is a lie, then that means the statement is true.
If you believe this statement is true, then that means it is a lie.

There is simply no end and absolute meaning to this statement. It is an endless cycle.
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Posted Apr 29, 2008 - 8:30 AM:

jdrw wrote:
"“The cat is on the mat” the predicate is on the mat and it is attributed to the subject the cat."


Well, that's all well and fine, but I simply don't believe it.
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