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The logical and philosophical foundations for the possibility of true contradictions

The view that contradictions cannot be true has been part of accepted philosophical theory since at least the time of Aristotle. In this regard, it is almost unique in the history of philosophy. Only in the last forty years has the view been systematically challenged with the advent of dialetheism. Since Graham Priest introduced dialetheism as a solution to certain self-referential paradoxes, the possibility of true contradictions has been a live issue in the philosophy of logic. Yet, despite the arguments advanced by dialetheists, many logicians and philosophers still hold the opinion that contradictions cannot be true. Rather than advocating the truth of certain contradictions, this thesis offers a different challenge to the classical logician. By showing that it can be philosophically coherent to propose that true contradictions are metaphysically possible, the thesis suggests that the classical logician must do more than she currently has to justify her confidence in the impossibility of true contradictions. Simply fighting off the dialetheist’s putative examples of true contradictions at the actual world isn’t enough to justify the classical logician’s conclusion that true contradictions are impossible. To aid the thesis dialectically, we introduce a new position, absolutism, which hypothesises that it’s metaphysically possible for at least one contradiction to be true, contrasting with the dialetheic hypothesis that some contradictions are true in the actual world. We demonstrate that absolutism can be given a philosophically coherent interpretation, an appropriate logic, and that certain criticisms are completely toothless against absolutism. The challenge put to the classical logician is then: On what logical or philosophical grounds can we rule out the metaphysical possibility of true contradictions?
Date January 2014
CreatorsMartin, B. J. L.
PublisherUniversity College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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