Priest Doubt Truth to Be a Liar .pdf
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Title: Doubt Truth to be a Liar
Author: Priest, Graham
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D OUBT TRUTH TO BE A LI AR
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Doubt Truth to be a Liar
G RAHAM PRIE ST
CL A RE N DO N P RE S S
Great Clarendon Street, Oxford ox2 6dp
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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Doubt truth to be a liar / Graham Priest.
Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
1. Truth. 2. contradiction. 3. Logic. I. Title.
BC171.P76 2006 121 .6–dc22 2005020197
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1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Doubt thou the stars are ﬁre;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
(Hamlet, ii. ii. 115)
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In Contradiction, which was ﬁrst published in 1987, provided a sustained argument for
and defence of dialetheism. My thoughts on the topic have continued to evolve since
that time, however. A general discussion of the evolution can be found in the second
edition of that book, which is a companion volume to this one. One particular area of
development concerns the implications of dialetheism for certain key philosophical
notions, such as truth and rationality—and vice versa. That is what this book is about.
The book draws on papers that I have published since 1987. In particular, it draws
on the following material, which, however, has been refashioned in some places—at
some points substantially—in the cause of coherence:
Chapter 1: ‘To Be and Not to Be—that is the Answer: Aristotle on the
Law of Non-Contradiction’, Philosophiegeschichte und Logische Analyse, 1 (1998),
Chapter 2: ‘Truth and Contradiction’, Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000),
Chapter 3: ‘Perceiving Contradictions’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 77
(1999), 439–46; and ‘Could Everything be True?’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 78 (2000), 189–95.
Chapter 4: ‘What Not? A Defence of a Dialetheic Account of Negation’, in
D. Gabbay and H. Wansing, (eds.) (1999), What is Negation?, Dordrecht: Kluwer
Academic Publishers, 101–20.
Chapter 5: ‘Boolean Negation and All That’, Journal of Philosophical Logic, 19
Chapter 6: ‘Can Contradictions be True? II’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, suppl. vol. 67 (1993), 35–54; and ‘Rational Dilemmas’, Analysis, 62 (2002),
Chapter 7: ‘Why it’s Irrational to Believe in Consistency’, in B. Brogard and
B. Smith (eds.), Rationality and Irrationality, Proceedings of the 23rd International
Wittgenstein Symposium, Vienna: öbv&hpt Verlagsgesellschaft mbh & Co. (2001),
Chapter 8: ‘Paraconsistent Belief Revision’, Theoria, 68 (2001), 214–28.
Chapter 9: ‘Inconsistency and the Empirical Sciences’, in J. Meheus (ed.)
(2002), Inconsistency in Science, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 119–28.
Chapter 10: ‘On Alternative Geometries, Arithmetics and Logics: A Tribute to
Łukasiewicz’, Studia Logica, 74 (2003), 441–68.
Chapter 11: ‘Validity’, in A. Varzi (ed.) (1999), The Nature of Logic, Stanford:
CSLI Publications (European Review of Philosophy), 183–206.
Chapter 12: ‘Logic: One or Many?’, in J. Woods and B. Brown (eds.), Logical
Consequences: Rival Approaches, Oxford: Hermes Scientiﬁc Publishers Ltd. (2001),
I am grateful to the editors, professional associations, and publishers in question for
permission to reuse the material.
Footnotes in those papers thanked all those whose constructive criticism helped in
their production. These included by name: Jonathan Adler, Diderik Batens, JC Beall,
Paddy Blanchette, Andrew Brennan, Deb Brown, Stewart Candlish, Max Cresswell,
Nick Denyer, André Fuhrmann, André Gallois, Jay Garﬁeld, Len Goddard, Bill Grey,
Ian Hinckfuss, Colin Howson, Dominic Hyde, Arnie Koslow, Roger Lamb, Julian
Lamont, Isaac Levi, David McCarty, Gary Malinas, Joke Meheus, Winston Nesbitt,
Daniel Nolan, Thomas de Praetere, Greg Restall (several times), Hans Rott, Steve
Schiffer, Hartley Slater, Timothy Smiley, Roy Sorensen, Gören Sundholm, Richard
Sylvan, Koji Tanaka, Ellen Watson, Peter Woodruff, Peter Unger, Achille Varzi, and
A version of the whole book was given in a series of Arché seminars in the Department of Logic and Metaphysics, University of St Andrews, Candlemas term, 2004. I
am grateful to all the people who provided helpful comments and criticisms there, too;
and especially to Ross Cameron, Roy Cook, Neil Cooper, Hud Hudson, Daniel Nolan,
Agustin Rayo, Stephen Read, John Scorupski, Stewart Shapiro, Robbie Williams,
Crispin Wright, Elia Zardini. Collective thanks go to Arché and the University of St
Andrews for the congenial atmosphere they provide, to the University of Melbourne
for their graciousness in allowing me to take periods of research leave there, and to my
colleagues at the University of Melbourne for their never-failing support and stimulation. Finally, my thanks go to the staff of Oxford University Press, particularly Peter
Momtchiloff for his thoughtful guidance with the book, and to Peter Milne, who
read the penultimate draft of the book for the Press, and gave detailed and perceptive
comments which much improved the ﬁnal product.