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Circularity and Infinite Liar-Like Paradoxes


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CIRCULARITY AND INFINITE LIAR-LIKE PARADOXES By JESSE BUTLER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Jesse Butler

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank Michael Jubien and Gene Witmer for being on the committee for this thesis and Greg Ray for agreeing to undertake the pr oject and helping me clarify my thoughts. Any remaining obnubilations are entirely my responsibility.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..v CHAPTER 1 YABLO’S PARADOX IS INFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR BUT NOT REFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR ....................................................................................1 1.1 Rehearsing YP........................................................................................................3 1.2 Inferential Circularity.............................................................................................4 1.3 Recreating the Dialectic..........................................................................................6 1.4 Characterizing Referential Circ ularity with Directed Graphs..............................10 2 TO CONCERN A CIRCULAR PRED ICATE IS TO BE RECURSIVELY CONSTRUCTIBLE....................................................................................................15 2.1 Graham Priest's Argument Considered More Carefully.......................................15 2.2 A Different Formal Treatment of YP and Other Similar Sets of Sentences.........18 3 THERE IS A PARADOXICAL SET OF SENTENCES THAT DOES NOT CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDICATE.................................................................23 3.1 Technical Preliminaries and Presentation.............................................................23 3.2 Is The Foregoing Really Not Predicatively Circular?...........................................25 3.3 A Paradox That Is Referentially Circ ular But Not Predicatively Circular...........30 3.4 Conclusion............................................................................................................31 APPENDIX A USING DIGRAPHS TO DETERMINE WHEN A SET OF SENTENCES FORMS A PARADOX...............................................................................................35 B AN UNDEFINABILITY THEOREM........................................................................37 C AN SMULLYAN STYLE INCOMPLETENESS THEOREM.................................38 REFERENCES..................................................................................................................41 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................42

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v Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts CIRCULARITY AND INFINITE LIAR-LIKE PARADOXES By Jesse Butler December 2005 Chair: Greg Ray Major Department: Philosophy Before Stephen Yablo’s “Paradox without self-reference” it was commonly held that what was loosely and vaguely termed “s elf-reference” was necessary for semantic paradoxes of the liar-like variet y. Yablo claimed that the infinite, liar-like set of sentences he provided proved otherwise. In subsequent years, Beall, Bueno and Colyvan, Priest, Sorensen and Tennant (and others) have debated whether Yablo has in fact demonstrated that self-reference is not requ ired for paradox by exhibiting a paradoxical, yet completely non-circular set of sentences. My aim in this paper is two-fold. First, I try to clarify this debate ove r whether Yablo’s set of senten ces is self-referential (in the same way that the traditional liar sentence is) as preparation for the assertion that it is not. I argue that the situation rega rding sets of sentences that form candidates for liar-like paradoxes can be plausibly formalized using dir ected graphs and that this treatment bears out my assertion. Second, I address Priest’s cla im that even given the lack of this kind of self-reference, Yablo’s sentences are in some sense self-referentia l because they, in Priest’s somewhat mysterious terminol ogy, “concern a circular predicate,” as do,

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vi according to him, all standard semantic and se t-theoretic paradoxes. I argue that if a set of sentence concerns a circular predicate, there is a kind of reci pe to construct the sentences of that set. Even though the word “recipe” is still a bit too metaphorical to do much good, another formal treatment is availa ble that captures this intuitive notion and yields a sufficient condition for the paradoxicality of infinite se ts of liar-like sentences. Using this formal treatment, it is easy to show th at there must be an infinite set of liar-like sentences that is not constructible from a recipe, and so in Priest’s terms does not concern a circular predicate. Thus, while Yablo’s pa radoxical set of senten ces is circular in Priest’s sense, this is incidental. We will have proved that there is a variant of Yablo’s example that is not circular in either the narrow referential sense nor in Priest’s broader sense.

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1 CHAPTER 1 YABLO’S PARADOX IS INFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR BUT NOT REFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR Stephen Yablo (1993)1 billed his paradox (refered to as “Yablo's Paradox” or “ YP ” hereafter) as a demonstration that self-reference was not necessary for liar-like paradoxes.2 Of course, philosophers have argued that YP either is or is not selfreferential and have so argued as to whether it fails or succeeds as a demonstration that self-reference need not be involved in paradox. My first goal in this paper is to get clear about several of the ar guments for and against YP 's self-referential (or to speak more generally indirectly self-referential or circular3) character. In sorting out whether YP is or is not circular, and if so in what way, I assert that we can understand more generally the phenomenon of liar-like paradoxes comprising infinite sets of sentences if we try to “picture” graph theoretically the references made by each sentence. With this technique, we see that none of the sentences of YP are indirectly se lf-referential with the references they make. So YP is not referentially circular in the way traditional finite liars are. The second part of the paper attempts to show th at there is a variant of Yablo’s Paradox that does not concern a predicate of the natural num bers with circular satisfaction conditions, 1 For all references to Yablo see (Yablo 1993). 2 I take liar-like paradoxes to comprise sets of sentences each of which only makes truth claims about itself or the other sentences. 3 The idea being that even though the two sentences: “The second sentence enclosed in double quotes on page 1 is true,” and “The first sentence enclosed in double quotes on page 1 is untrue,” are not themselves self-referential (each makes no claim about itself) they exhibit indirect self-reference. The first makes a claim of the second which in turn makes a claim about the first. “Circularity” might describe this more general notion. Occasionally, I will use that term to sp eak of this general form of indirect self-reference.

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2 and so is not circular in the sense that Priest (1997)4 claims YP is. I will argue that an infinite list of sentences can concern a circular predicate onl y if there is a recipe to generate the sentences of the list. We do this by representing each sentence of the infinite, supposedly paradoxical list as a recursive function fr om a subset of the natural numbers to {0, 1}, and placing minimal conditio ns on the behavior of each of those functions relative to others of the “family” of functions that represent the sentences of the infinite list. Once we have represented infini te lists of sentences that are paradoxical in this way, it is easy to see that the number of such lists is uncountable. The number of recipes for infinite lists is countable, so th e paradoxial infinite liars must outstrip the paradoxical infinite liars that concern predicates with ci rcular satisfaction conditions. We begin (§1.1) with a short rehearsal of YP by exhibiting the infinite list of sentences that form the paradox, and (§1.2) a short demonstration th at a most general form of circularity (inferentia l circularity) must be involved in any sort of liar-like paradox. In §1.3, I will try to recreate the dial ectic provided by the arguments of Tennant (1995)5, Priest, Sorenson (1998)6, Beall (2001)7 and Bueno & Colyvan (2003)8 regarding YP 's self-referential character. In §1.4, I will consider Tennant's argument in a bit more detail and elaborate on its shortcomings wh ile tentatively endorsi ng his conclusion. In that section, I will propose what I believe to be a better method for demonstrating that YP is not even indirectly referent ially circular. By using this method, we will be able to 4 For all references to Priest see (Priest 1997). 5 For all references to Tennant see (Tennant 1995). 6 For all references to Sorensen see (Sorensen 1998). 7 For all references to Beall see (Beall 2001). 8 For all references to Bueno and Colyvan see (Bueno and Colyvan 2003).

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3 more easily separate the issues of what Sorensen calls, “sel f-reference at the level of specification and [self-reference] at the level of content,” an d that this separation will guide us to clearer thinking about the present problem. In §2, I will consider in de tail parts of Priest's paper, while explicating and assessing his argument, I propose that his obs ervations may be reformulated in a more productive treatment of the gene ral problem. This will lead to a method of formalizing, in some generality, liar-like paradoxes comprising infinite lis ts of sentences. In these terms, we will be able to see that Priest's charge that YP “concerns a circular predicate” can be reframed as a observation that there exists a certain recipe for constructing the sentences of YP Once we have seen that both Priest's and Beall's argument that YP is circular stem from the fact th at its the sentences can be so generated, and armed with the formal characterization of paradoxicality in te rms of infinite liar-like sets (§2.2), we will be in position to show (in §3) that there must be a “Yabloesque” paradox, the sentences of which cannot be generated by a recipe.9 Thus, even if Priest is right that YP is circular in a broad sense, we will have shown that such circularity is not essential to Yabloesque paradoxes. 1.1 Rehearsing YP Yablo’s Paradox concerns a countably infinite list of sentences s0, s1, s2, . of the following sort: s0: for all k > 0, sk is untrue. s1: for all k > 1, sk is untrue. . 9 We cannot precisely describe it as it contains non-constructive elements.

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4 These sentences clearly form a paradox in the sense that they have no stable assignment of truth-values. If s0 is true then each of sk for k > 0 is untrue, so then each of sk for k > 1 is untrue, but in this case, s1 is true after all because th at's just what it claims. So s0 cannot be true because it claimed that s1 was untrue. On the other hand, if each of s0, s1, s2, . is untrue then in particular each of s1, s2, . is untrue, and since the latter circumstance is precisely the condition under which s0 is true, s0 must be true after all. For future reference, let the set S be this collection of Yablo sentences, { s0, s1, s2, . }. 1.2 Inferential Circularity Before addressing YP in more detail, let us notice a general point. As soon as we begin considering liar-l ike paradoxes, we notice that ther e is always some element of what we would commonly term “circularity” i nvolved. More specifically, it is clear that there must be a certain logical relationshi p between sentences comprising a paradox in light of which we can make an assumption a bout the truth-value of a certain sentence, draw inferences about other sentences, then return to (as if we had completed a kind of reasoning circle or loop but not engaged in circular reasoning ) and reassess the truthvalue of the original sentence. Insofar as any truth valuation of sentences of a liar-like paradox leads to inconsistency and we can dem onstrate this inconsistency, it must be the case that those sentences bear certain logical relations to each other that allow for this demonstration. I want to call sets of senten ces the members of whic h bear these logical relationships “inferentially circul ar” in light of the fact that th ese sort of sets enable us to draw inferences which are circular in so far as these inferences begin and end with assertions about truth value of the same se ntence. For example, if we reason about a “chain” set of liar sentences and see that the set has no tr uth valuation, we go through a process resembling this:

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5 If the (say) ith sentence is true (or untrue), then i+ 1st sentence is true (untrue), but this means that the i+ 2nd is true (untrue), . but in that case the ith sentence must have been untrue. On the other hand, if the ith sentence is untrue, then the i+ 1st is untrue (true) and the i+ 2nd is untrue (true), and . but in that case the ith sentence must have been true. In order for inconsistency to result from each assumed truth-value of the ith sentence, each of the sentences must b ear logical relations to the accompanying sentences. In the case of liar-like paradoxes, sentences make only truth claims of each other, and so it is only such truth claims that provide th e logical relationships which lead to inconsistency and paradox. And so every set of liar-like sentences that we claim to be demonstrably paradoxical must, in virtue of that claim, be infe rentially circular. YP provides no exception: it must be inferentia lly circular because we can reason to contradiction from the truth of any of its sentences. In any of the arguments I consider or offer myself, I assume that assertions that YP is or is not circular are not assertions about whether it is or is not infere ntially circular. Inferential ci rcularity is essential to any paradox, YP included. For the liar-like paradoxes that came before YP inferential circularity was typically grounded in some kind of content (what we will call later referential ) circularity. That YP has the requisite inferential circularity raises a justifiable suspicion that is must also feature some sort of underlyi ng content circularity. This que stion is one target of our investigation. Another targ et is to determine how YP is predicatively circular and whether there other similar sets of se ntences that are paradoxical yet are not predicatively circular This locution comes from Priest who claims that YP although not circular in exactly the same way the well-known liar sentence, is circular in that it “concerns” a circular predicate of the natura l numbers and that use of this particular predicate is in some way crucial to understanding the logic of the paradox. The concerned predicate is

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6 circular in that its satis faction by a certain number, n depends upon whether it is satisfied by any natural number greater than n The predicate’s satisf action conditions can be stated only in terms of the predicate, that is, only circularly 1.3 Recreating the Dialectic The goal of this section is to try to re create a particular dialectic surrounding YP and circularity. In laying out th e dialectic it is important to notice first that often the participants talk past each other. Tennant claims that YP is not at all self-referential, Graham Priest begins to mark a distincti on between two different kind of circularity when he says, “Note that each sentence refers to (quantifies over) only sentences later in the sequence. No sentence therefore refers to itself, even in indirect, loop-like fashion” (237). But then goes on to claim on the page that, “[his formal diagnosis of YP ] show that we have a fixed point . of exactly the same self-referential kind as in the liar paradox . The circularity [of YP ] is not manifest.” Pr iest’s claim is that YP merely concerns a circular predicate, and that the predicate’s invol vement (rather than indirect self-reference) is the source of the paradox’ s inferential circularity. Much of the foregoing disagreement results because they do not appreciate the di stinction between the two different kinds of circularity. To get a ha ndle on things, we need first to get clear on what Tennant’s claim is in light of the fact that inferential circularity seems necessary for any sort of liar-like paradox, and second to mark a further distinction in kinds of circularity to help clarify the conversation between Priest, Sorensen, Beall and Bueno and Colyvan. To the first end, if we co mpare a crude version of a pair liar (see footnote 3) with YP we're immediately struck by the difference: the pair liar contains sentences that make truth claims of themselves (albeit in directly), whereas the sentences of YP do not seem to

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7 do this. These attempts to capture and expl ain the difference between these two sorts of paradox account for one strain of a dialectic concerning YP One example I have in mind is Neil Tennant’s. If Tennant would agree to our claim th at all liar-like paradoxes are inferentially circular (and it seems that he w ould), we might attribute to him, instead of his more radical pronouncement above, the claim that YP ’s inferential circular is not rooted in any sort of content ci rcularity, as is the inferential ci rcularity of any finite liar. And so we can read one of Tennant’s conclu sions as being that inferential circularity need not be rooted in conten t circularity. I endorse this conclusion and will say more about it shortly. As far as the second issue goes, let us stipulate two further different kinds of circularity. Say that a set of sentences is referentially circular if a particular sentence of the set is either directly self-referentia l (like the traditional liar sentence) or indirectly self-referential We can explain indirect self -reference by making precise what a sentence of a liar-like set, which is not direct ly self-referential, refers to. Such sentence (call it p ) makes use of restricted quan tification to pick out a set ( Q ) of sentences (which is a proper subset of the set to which p belongs because p is not directly self-referential) and then makes some truth claim of some members of Q For instance, if the sentences are organized in an ordered list like those of the S of YP then the sentence p might be something like, “Some of the following sentences are untrue,” and so Q would be the set of all the sentences that came after p in the list. The sentence p directly refers to all the sentences of Q If there is a sentence, q (a member of Q ) that directly refers to a set of sentences P which includes p then we can say that p refers indirectly to itself (is indirectly self-referential) via the intermediary q And so generally, we say that a set of

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8 sentences is indirectly self-referential if a member of the set refers indirectly to itself via any number of intermediaries. For example, the pair liar sentences of footnote 3 clearly form a set that is referentially circular. On the other hand, a set of sentences that, in Priest's terms, concerns a circular predicate is, as we mentioned earlier, predicatively circular.10 With these terms in mind, we see that Priest claims that YP is predicatively circular bu t not referentially circular. We have seen that every lia r-like paradox must be inferentially circular, Tennant has argued that referential circ ularity is not required for paradox (and more generally inferential circularity), and Prie st has hinted that referential circularity is not required for predicative circularity. We still lack a detailed argument for independence of referential and predicative circularity, and whether every li ar-like paradox is pred icatively circular is an open question. If the distinction makes clearer Priest’s cl aim, it is a bit surprising when Sorensen weighs in on YP that he begins to muddy the waters a bit (145-149). Sorensen's intuition is that self-reference at the “level of content” (i.e. referential circul arity) can be separated from self-reference (or circularity) at the “level of specification” (i.e. predicative circularity). It seems that Sorens en thinks, as does Priest, that YP is not referentially circular but is predicatively circular, and thi nks that predicative circularity can feature in paradoxes the sentences of whic h are not referentially circul ar, all of which makes the following claim seem very odd: “Priest is comm itted to saying that that the infinite, indirect liar is doubly self-refere ntial – once at the level of sp ecification, again at the level of content” (148). Whether or not Sorensen thinks something in Priest’s method commits 10 Priest’s locution seems a bit mysterious. In §2, I try to fill out a bit of what Priest may intend.

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9 him to identifying referential and predicat ive circularity, the a bove quote does say that Priest claims that YP is both referentially and predicativ ely circular. Whatever the reason for Sorensen’s misreading of Priest, a confus ion begins here which, I believe, runs the whole dialectic off-track. Beall re sponds to Sorensen's claim that YP 's predicative circularity has no bearing on its referentia l circularity. In the following quote Beall seems to argue that predicatively circular se ts of sentences must also be referentially circular, and cites Priest’s dem onstration of YP predicative circularity as evidence for its referential circularity (my emphasis; it is meant to show where Beall hints that predicative circularity is not separa ble from referential circularity). If the foregoing is correct, then the issu e becomes clear: if we have fixed the reference of 'Yablo's paradox' at all, then we have fixed the reference of 'Yablo's paradox' via (attributive) description. But, now, the upshot of Priest's point is plain: Priest has shown th at any description we employ to pick out (or otherwise define) a Yabloesque sequence is circular; this much Sorensen concedes. From here, however, it is a small step to the ci rcularity of the sequence itself. We are fixing the reference of 'Yablo's paradox' via (a ttributive) description, which means that 'Yablo's paradox' denotes whatever satisfies the given reference fixing description. The situation, however, is th is: that the satisfaction c onditions of our available reference-fixing descriptions require a circular satisfier – a sequence that involves circularity, self-reference, a fixed point. Given all this, it follows that the reference of 'Yablo's paradox' is circular . (180) Finally, in response to Beall, Bueno and Col yvan argue that there are denoting terms (like “the integers” or “the supremum of set A ”) whose referents can only be fixed by the use of a circular (recursive) description but whose referents are not themselves circular in any sort of obvious way. According to them, the situation with YP is analogous. I think that the tedious attent ion to whether reference to S can be fixed by demonstration plus description or by descri ption alone is misplaced. We could have avoided this problem by paying closer attention to Priest's original paper (or ignoring

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10 Sorensen's misreading of it), and by using a mo re intuitive explanation of exactly why the set of sentences that form YP is not referentially circular. 1.4 Characterizing Referential Circ ularity with Directed Graphs We want to show ultimately that referentia l circularity is entirely independent of predicative circularity. A first step toward th at is to take a position with regard to the dialectic I have just presented. Sp ecifically, I want to argue that even if YP is predicatively circular it is not referentially circular. To this end, we will develop a general method for detecting refe rential circularity independent of predicative circularity, and use it to show that YP is not referentially circular. But before doing so I feel I need to justify the more specific goal. My worry is that Tennant has already accomplished that which I have just articulated, and if only we adverted to his method and conclusion, there would be no need to pursue another way of seeing that YP is not referentially circular. In response to this concern, I will briefly summari ze a relevant part of Tennant’s paper and then say why his method is not suited for the purposes of the present work. Tennant believes that he’s provided a proof -theoretic diagnosis of paradoxicality in previous work which makes self-reference ne ither necessary nor sufficient for paradox (of the liar sort), and sees YP as a test for his account (199) One conclusion he reaches is that, “[ YP 's] apparent lack of self-reference . is reflected, on my account in the nonlooping character of the reduction sequence . .” (206). Toward the end, he claims that his method yields a condition for self-reference of liar-type sentences, “I shall make so bold as to suggest that it is precisely when the non-termina ting reduction procedures enter loops that self-reference is involved [in the paradoxicality of the set of sentences in question] And when they do not enter loops as with Yablo's example then self-

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11 reference is not involved” (207). Proofs of absurdity in his system from traditional liars do enter loops and thus are self-referential. These conclusions can be drawn becaus e appropriate proofs of absurdity are available. It is the examination of the struct ure of proofs from differe nt sets of sentences that allow us to detect self-reference. His paper is concerned specifically with YP so he makes use of two “ id est ” inference rules: first, from TSn infer ( k > n ) TSk, and, second, from ( k > n ) TSk infer TSn (203). Since there is a infere nce rule for each sentence, the proof theoretic procedure is dependent upon know ing (truth functional equivalents of) the truth claims of each sentence of the set. What we should notice is that this sort of proof theo retic approach to detect referential circularity seems to require that a set of sentences be predicatively circular. To show that contradiction results from the supposed truth of any particular sentence, Tennant’s proof of absurdity make use of the precise truth claims of each sentence of the set. At least in the kind of proofs that Tennant presents, the id est inference rules require that the absolute (non-relative) truth clai ms are made by each and every sentence are available to us. For an infinite set, to know these absolute truth claims, we must have a recipe for what the sentence of the set are or at least for their abso lute truth conditions. As foreshadowing, I assert that a set of sentences is predicativ ely circular only if there is some sort of “recipe” to cons truct each of the sentences of the set, so a set cannot be predicatively circular if ther e is no recipe that tells prec isely what a sentence of a particular index claims. On the face of things, it seems that Tennant’s method for showing circularity depends upon the id est inference rules, or at least on predicatively circularity. Since we want to show that YP is not referentially ci rcular independently of

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12 its predicative circularity, there is at least prima facie motivation for us to search for another way to see this. In sum, I agree w ith Tennant’s conclusion and do not want to point out any mistak e in his reasoning11, but rather to suggest th at we need a different method for detecting referentia l circularity that is not bound quite so closely to the predicative circularity of a set of sentences. To begin, recall that all su ch sets liar-like set that ar e paradoxical are inferentially circular. So in any fi nite set, we can always “start” at some particular sentence (say i ) and by “following” the direct refe rences work our way back to i so that we see that sentence i was indirectly self-referential. Intuitively, this is just what referential circularity comes to. If we could somehow “picture” the referential structure of the paradox independently whether the set of senten ces concerns any circular predicate, and instead make use only of how each sentences restrictedly quantifie d over others as an initial step toward making truth claims about those sentences, and then use a specific feature of this picture to a ssess whether the sentences of the paradox were referentially circular, we would have anothe r way to show that referential circularity was independent from predicative circularity. This method fo r detecting referential circularity would not be so closely bound to any predicate that the set concerns. So in order to show that YP lacks referential circularity with appeal only to the restricted quantification presented by each of it is sentences12 (rather than explicit appeal to it is particular predicate that the set 11 There is, however, a problem with Tennant's presentation; when he begins the analysis of YP in terms of his formal system, he renders generic members of S “formally and uncontroversially as follows: Sn: k>n T(Sk)” (203). Greg Ray points out that Tennant makes a use / mention mistake. “ sn” is the name of a sentence of S, so the “ n ” in the preceding quoted string is a substring – a constituent of that name. It does not make sense to quantify over such a thing. Priest addresses this issue, and I discuss his presentation in the next chapter. 12 Appeal just to this restricted quantification does not hurt our chances for demonstrating a set of sentences not constructible from a recipe because, to foreshadow again, the size of the set of lists of

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13 concerns), I develop a graph theoretic test for referential circularity of an arbitrary (finite or infinite) list of sentence s that is a candidate for being a liar-like paradoxical set. As a preliminary, a bit about directed graphs ( digraphs ). They can be visualized as geometric figures consisting of vertices ( V1, V2, . .) and directed edges ( E1, E2, . .) which connect pairs of vertices by running from one to the other. A path through a graph is a vertex, edge, vertex, edge, . edge, vertex sequen ce such that if “ Vi, Ej, Vk” is an arbitrary portion of the sequence (where possibly, i = k ), Ej is an edge from Vi to Vk. A cycle is a path that has the same first and last vertex. From a set of sentences that is a para dox candidate, we can construct a directed graph ( G ) that will have the same number ( n ) of vertices as the candidate has sentences (1 n ). Vertex Vi of G will “correspond” to the ith sentence of the set. If the ith sentence refers or quantifies over the jth, kth, . lth, . sentences in the truth claims it makes, draw an edge from Vi to each of Vj, Vk, . Vl, . 13 The list of sentences is graphically circular iff its corresponding directed graph, G has a cycle. sentences each of whom restrictedly quantifies over a ll those who follow it outstrips the size of the set of lists of sentences that are recursively constructible (a lternatively: “concerning a ci rcular predicates”). We will find one that is a member of the first set and not a member of the second. And then, we will be almost all the way to finding a referentially circular set of sentences that is not predicatively circular. 13 The intuitive idea is to connect with edges all thos e vertices which correspond to the sentences of which the ith sentence restrictedly quantifies over in order to ma kes truth claims. At first, it may be troubling that two sets comprising dissimilar sentences may have exactly the same corresponding digraph; two sets of sentences will have the same corresponding digraph ex actly when corresponding sentence (sentences with the same index) of the respective sets restrictedly quantify ov er the same sets. For example, consider two infinite sequences of sentences ( S' and S'' ) as candidates for a liar-like paradox. The first comprises only sentences of the form, “ s'i: at least two of the following are untrue,” and the second comprises only sentences of the form, “ s''i: at least forty-eight of the followin g are untrue.” Every sentence of S' and S'' quantifies over all the sentences that come “after it” in S' or S'' And so, the digraphs corresponding to each of the candidates will have the same edge / vertex structure, i.e. Edges from V1 to each of V2, V3, V4, . edges from V2 to each of V3, V4, V5, . That the corresponding graphs GS' and GS'' have exactly the same structure is not troubleso me because, to consider the question most generally, we realize after some consideration that the truth conditions of s'i and s''i depend upon any of the sentences of S' or S'' respectively that have index higher that i

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14 Graphical circularity of a set of senten ces guarantees that th e corresponding graph G is “circular” in the sense that we could traverse G (starting and ending at some Vi) if we were allowed to “step” from one vertex to another iff there was an edge from the former to the latter. Since th e vertex / edge structure of G mimics the truth claim structure of the corresponding set of senten ces at least one of the sentences of the graphically circular set must be directly or indirectly self-ref erential. And so I claim that a set of sentences of a candidate for a liarlike paradox is referentia lly circular iff the corresponding graph is graphically circular.14 Of course, it is possible for a set of sentences to be referentially circular and not form a traditionally paradoxical set (for example a truth teller). If a detection method for referentia lly circular paradoxicality is wanted, it is easily accomplished by considering algorithms for coloring our directed graph in an appropriate way. I hope that this technique for detecting paradoxes will go some way toward vindicating ou r characterization of referent ially circular sentences in terms of corresponding graphically circular graphs. We provi de a formal method for so deciding when a candidate forms a paradox in Appendix A As expected, the set of se ntences that constitute YP turn out not referentially circular on our characterization. If we form the associated graph and call it GYP, notice that for each i all the edges from Vi (edges which mimic the truth claims of the ith sentence) go to only vertices with index greater than i so it is impossible for GYP to contain a cycle and so impossible fo r it to be graphically circular. 14 Something else to notice is that if we require that a sentence from language L1 can make truth claims about a sentence from L2 iff L1 is a metalanguage for L2, then sets of sentences whose corresponding graphs are circular are disallowed. If the 1st sentence claims something about the truth of the 2nd sentence, the 2nd about the 3rd, then if we're observing the metalanguage / object language distinction, no sentence is allowed to make truth claims of a se ntence whose number is less than the number of the former. It is just this (forbidden) kind of structure that allowed for circular digraphs.

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15 CHAPTER 2 TO CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDIC ATE IS TO BE RECURSIVELY CONSTRUCTIBLE I have argued that a simple-minded gra ph theoretic techniqu e shows us that YP is not referentially circular, and so have endorsed a claim made by Priest. I turn now to his assertion that YP is in some sense circular because it concerns a predicate with circular satisfaction conditions (in my terminology predicatively circular ). I think the intuition is right – YP does in some sense concern a predicate with circular satisf action conditions. I also think that this is not an essential feature of Yablo-type para doxes, but to see this we must first get clear a bout Priest’s argument. 2.1 Graham Priest's Argument Considered More Carefully Recall that the sentences of S clearly form a paradox in the sense that they have no stable assignment of truthvalues, and we can see this because we can run through the reasoning like that presented in §1.1. Graham Priest maintains that YP involves selfreference, but is not referentially circular. Formalizing the sentences with a truth predicate, T we have that for all natural numbers, n sn is the sentence k > n Tsk. Note that each sentence refers to (quantifies over) only sentences later in the sequence. No sentence, therefore, refers to itself, even in an indirect, loop-like, fashion (237). He goes on to argue that YP concerns a circular predic ate. He begins by proposing a formalization of the reasoning to contra diction from an arbitrary sentence of S 1. Tsn ( k > n ), Tsk 2. Tsn+1 3. Tsn ( k > n ), Tsk

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16 4. ( k > n+1 ), Tsk 5. Tsn+1 6. (from (2) and (5)) 7. Tsn 8. ( k ) Tsk 9. ( k > 0) Tsk 10. Ts0 11. (from (8) and (10)). Where (8) must be justified by something akin to universal genera lization for Priest’s semi-formal scheme, since the “ n ” of the previous lines was arbitrary. The observation is that since we generalize away the “ n ” in step (8) it must play the role of a variable in the above treatment. In that case, “ sn+1” cannot be the name of a sentence. Rather, Priest says, “ s ” must be understood as a name of a predicate which applies to natural numbers. Bu t in that case, we cannot just apply the trut h predicate to occurrences of, e.g., “ sn+1”. We have to make use of the two-place satisfaction (SAT) relation between number s and predicates, and s a one-place predic ate of the natural numbers, and rewrite as follows.1 12. SAT( n s ) ( k > n ), SAT( k s ) 13. SAT( n +1, s ) 14. SAT( n s ) ( k > n ), SAT( k s ) 15. ( k > n +1), SAT( k s ) 16. SAT( n +1, s ) 17. (from (13) and (16)) 18. SAT( n s ) 19. ( k ) SAT( k s) 20. ( k > 0) SAT( k s ) 21. SAT(0, s ) 22. (from (19) and (21)) 1 Priest does not carry out the following derivation but merely suggests what it might look like.

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17 Priest’s assessment of the situa tion is a little hard to follow2, but we can see that the original formulation began (1) with premise stating the trut h conditions of an arbitrary sentence of S The second formulation starts with a statement of the satisfaction conditions of the predicate s We see from (12) plainly th at the predicate has circular satisfaction conditions. I think that something in Priest's cla im rings true. In his terms, predicate s has a fixed point, and if his treatment succeeds in capturing what turns the trick in YP then there is a sort of circular ity involved. One difficulty, how ever, is to see from his presentation precisely what role he thinks predicate s plays in YP What does it mean for a set of sentences to “concern” a circular predicate? Priest claims to have uncovered and made explicit the logical form of the sentences of the Yabl o sequence, and, in so doing, he’s shown that each of these logical equivalents refer to the predicate s. So the natural understanding of “concern” is th at each sentence of the set me ntions that predicate. The set is predicatively circular because the predicate so refere nced has circular satisfaction conditions.3 2 Priest claims on 237 that “the fact that s = ‘( k > x )( SAT( k s ))’ shows that we have a fixed point, s here of exactly the same self-referential kind as in the liar paradox. In a nutshell, s is the predicate ‘no number greater than x satisfies this predicate’. The circularity is now manifest.” Professor Ray points out that it is a bit misleading to claim that s is ‘( k > x )( SAT( k s ))’ because s could be any predicate which had the same satisfaction conditions. 3 It might also be argued that each sentence of the Yablo sequence uses the predicate s, and that a set is predicatively circularity if each member uses a predicate with circular satisf action conditions. In this case, there are arguments exactly parallel to the one in ch apter 3 aimed to show that there is a paradoxical sequence that is not predicatively circular.

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18 2.2 A Different Form al Treatment of YP and Other Similar Sets of Sentences We're aiming to show that there is a set of sentences that is paradoxical but which is not predicatively circular. To do this, we will try to show that there is a class of sentences for which there can be no recipe – we cannot tell precisely what the truth conditions for an arbitrary se ntence are – but which is clea rly paradoxical. If we can show that there is such a class, then we can reason that Priest won’ t be in a position to assert that each sentence of any member of this class must reference a predicate with circular satisfaction conditions There are some sentence se ts that are paradoxical that needn’t be predicatively circular At first glance, our task may seem impossible: if a set of sentences is not predica tively circular, we cannot know the truth conditions of an arbitrary member of the set. How are we to know that the sequence is paradoxical? The only method we have seen so far for determ ining paradox is the sort of reasoning in sentences (12)-(22). That treatment made us e of a predicate that was mentioned by each sentence of a particular list to give truth c onditions in terms of the truth or untruth of each of the subsequent sentences. In this section, we will argue that we can characterize a list of sentences without appeal to a single, certain circular pr edicate that is mentioned by sentences. If certain restrictions can be placed on the truth conditions set forth by an arbitrary sentence of the set, perhaps only relative to th e truth conditions of another sentence, then it is possible to argue that the set forms a paradox without reasoning that makes use of precisely specified truth c onditions for an arbitrary sentence. The motivation behind this technique should beco me clear as we develop the method in the next few pages. Recall that si, the ith sentence of S is “For all k > i sk is untrue.” If we let 0 go proxy for “untrue”, 1 for “true”, and in some loose way (to be made clear) associate the

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19 output of a function from a subset of the na tural numbers to {0,1} at a particular value, n with the truth claim made about sentence with index n by a the sentence corresponding to this function, then for each i fi imitates si, where for each i fi has domain { y : y > i } and for all n > i fi( n ) = 0. Briefly, just as YP ’s ith sentence claims that each of the succeeding sentences is untrue, each fi is zero over its whole domain (natural numbers greater than i ). Working with these sort of “imitators” is the first step toward our more general characterization of Yabloesque liars. To capture more of what was at work in YP recall that the first part of its bite came from the fact that, for instance s0 and s1 made exactly the same truth claims about each sentence whose index was greater than 1, so if the first were true then we could reason that the second would have to be true also, but the first claimed the second was untrue, so, on pain of contradiction, the first must ha ve been untrue after al l. Similar reasoning could be repeated for any of the sentences of S The second part of the bite was that one of S had to be true, otherwise, since what (say) s0 claims to be the case would in fact be the case, and s0 would have been true after all. Another way in which inconsistency might occur in an ordered list sentences which only make truth claims about each other is if sentence x claims that both sentences y and z are true, but y claims that z is untrue.4 Of course, the last was not a feature of the sentences of YP With this in mind, we can create a model of infinite sets of sentences each of which makes only truth claims about those of greater index, for which there is a formal analog of paradoxicality. 4 There are more ways in which the truth of one of such a list of sentences could lead to inconsistency. For instance, if sentence with index 6 (call it “ s6”) claimed that s7 was true and that s9 was untrue, that s7 claimed that s8 was true and s8 claimed that s9 was true. I do not consider this sort of pathology because the aim is to show that if we have a set of senten ces which spawn inconsistency only by the two ways mentioned, then the paradoxical sets “outstrip” those wh ich concern a circular predicate. To do this it will be enough to consider the two kinds of pathology just mentioned.

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20 The type of functions we need for this task will be doubly indexed with subscripts and collected into sets with an order induced by their subscripts. I will call the ordered sets into which our functions are gathered “families”5 from now on for convenience. The constituent functions themselves, like (23) a bove, are supposed to imitate the ordered, infinite member sentences of a candidate for a liar-like paradox and each family will represent a single candidate for paradox. For example, if such a family is Dl = { dl,1, dl,2, dl,3 . }, then dl,n has as domain the natu ral numbers greater than n and as range {0, 1}. The domains of the members of a family are so constrained because the sets of English sentences to be based on these families have a corresponding constraint – each member of the sort of sets we will be considering ma kes claims only of senten ces of greater index. In other words, the sets under consideration ar e not referentially circular. Recall that the members of the range will be proxies for “true” (1) and “untrue” (0). Call a member function, dl,i, nullish iffdf for all x in its domain, dl,i( x ) = 0. Call a member function, dl,i, semi-nullish iffdf for some x > i for all y > x dl,i( y ) = 0. Say that member function, dl,i, triangulates member function dl,j ( j > i ) iffdf there is some x > j such that dl,i( j ) = 1, and dl,i( x ) dl,j( x ). A family of such functions, Dl, is R iff each of the member functions { dl,1, dl,2, dl,3 . } is recursive and is P iff the family contains an infinite number of nullish member functions, and for each member function which is not nullish either it is semi-nullish or it 5 One might be concerned that “family” is a poor choice of terminology for what are essentially ordered lists of functions. I think “family” is a better, more desc riptive term that is approp riate because an order is induced on a family by the fact that each of its memb ers has a different domain – a function whose domain is a subset of another can be said to follow the latter in order in which functions are collected into families.

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21 triangulates some other member function. Call a family R-P if it is both R and P.6 In these terms, a family each of whose members is nullish imitates YP and such a list is R-P. Lemma 2.1 : Each member of an R family expresses a set that can be used to provide the truth conditions for a sentence of an infinite liar-like set of sentences. Proof of Lemma 2.1 : Since each member is recursive, the set of ordered pairs that is the graph of that function is recursive and so is the set of ordered pairs that results if, in that graph, we replace each natural number n in the first position of each ordered pair with “sentence with index n ” and replace each 0 in the second position of each ordered pair with “is untrue” and replace each 1 in the second position of each ordered pair with “is true.” The set resulting from these substitutions is exactly the kind suitable for giving the truth conditions for one of an infinite set of liar-l ike sentences. Since the member functions of an R family are recursive, they can be expressed by sent ences in the language of arithmetic, and sentences of the language of arithmetic can be translated into English sentences. Claim 2.2 : With each R-P family there can be associated an infinite set of English sentences that forms a paradox. Proof of Claim 2.2 : From lemma 2.1, we see that each member of an R-P family can be translated into an English sentence th at gives the truth cond itions for a sentence of an infinite liar-like set. So if, for each i we translate the ith member function 6 Intuitively, there must be some sort of restricti on on the functions that are the members of a family because we want those functions to correspond to (and so be translatab le into) English sentences. So the member functions of a family should at least be restri cted to the class of recurs ively enumerable functions because, roughly, those functions are sp ecifiable with a finite string of ch aracters. So, such functions could be translated into a finite sequence of English words. On the other hand, it might be a bit more realistic to either take the range of each di to be {0,1,2} corresponding to untrue true and neither true nor untrue (meaning that the ith sentence makes no claim about the jth sentence if di( j ) = 2) or require that each di be only recursively enumerable rather than recursive In the later case, the domain of each di would not be necessarily all of the natural numbers greater than i, we could say that di is defined at j iff ith sentence makes a truth claims of the jth sentence. Or finally, we could say that each di was only r.e. and that the range of the each di was {0,1,2}. I believe the non predicatively circular paradox I try to demonstrate in the sequel and the method I use to construct it would go through, with slight modifications, with these strengthened models. But more importantly for my argument, I consider a non predicatively circular paradox by trying to show that the number of R-P families (a subset of each of the other families canvased in this footnote) is uncountable. It follows that the whole set of families considered here is uncountable and so a non predicatively circular paradox woul d exist among the extended set of families. A related worry is that I have given only sufficien t conditions for paradoxes of this sort. There are sets of sentences that do not correspond to an R-P list but are in fact paradoxical. We will see an example in the conclusion. I do not think I have to address this issue in my argument because I'm trying to show that there is non predicatively circular paradox even if we restrict our attention to a single kind of sentences which might make up a list of sentences of a semantic, liar-like paradox, so of course it follows that there will be a non-circular paradox if we consider more the exotic kinds of sentences of which these paradoxes could be comprised.

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22 into an English sentence that gives thes e truth conditions (which is the sentence with index i ), we will have an infinite liar-like set of sentences. This set is paradoxical because there is no truth valuat ion for each of its sentences. To see this, note first that none of the sentences that correspond to semi-nullish member functions can be true without contradi ction by Yabloesque reasoning. The only remaining sentences to consider are t hose which correspond to the triangulating member functions. None of these can be true without contradiction because if the sentence with (say) index i were true, then for some j (> i ) and k (> j ) the sentences with indices j and k would both be true, but if the sentence with index j were true then the sentence with index k would be untrue, a contradiction. Each of the sentences of the set cannot be untrue, b ecause, again by Yabloesque reasoning, if dn is a nullish member, the sentence with index n would be true. There is no truth valuation for this set.

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23 CHAPTER 3 THERE IS A PARADOXICAL SET OF SENTENCES THAT DOES NOT CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDICATE Priest claims that the “s ituation involved in Yablo's paradox, however formulated, is intrinsically circular, in exactly the same way that those involved in more familiar paradoxes of the family are.” (Priest, 240) In this chapter, we ta ke the final steps in showing that there is a liar-like paradox that is not predicatively circ ular. The paradox is unfamiliar and must remain so because it avoids Priest's intrinsic circularity charge by having a structure that is, r oughly speaking, not recursive. This rough characterization will be made precise shortly; we will use the machinery we have set up in the previous section. 3.1 Technical Preliminaries and Presentation Our plan is to show that there is a se t of sentences that is paradoxical but not predicatively circular. I argue d in the last chapter that a ny such set of sentences could equivalently be characterized as c onstructible from a recipe. If for every infinite set of sentences that were paradoxical there were a method to construct the members of that set, and we help ourselves to Church's Thesis – the claim that for every algorithm or recipe there is a corresponding recursive functi on – we could claim of an arbitrary family, D, there is recursive function ( f) such that f somehow encodes D. Since D is itself essentially a list of functions, one way that f could encode D is by encoding it is member functions: for each natural number n f( n ) = < d,n> (where “< d,n>” is natural number code, in an appropriate gdel coding, of the function d,n). Given this encoding

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24 of D, we could characterize the en tire set of paradoxical infinite sets of sentences with a set of recursive functions. To spell out more thoroughly th e present suggestion, say that for any R-P family, D, if < d,i> is a gdel code of d,i (the ith member of D), then there is a recursive function, f, such that for each i f( i ) = < d,i>. In this scheme f can be said to be the recursive description of R-P family D. And so there is a set, F of recursive functions that includes an encoding function for each R-P family. Since the set of recursive functions is countable1, and F is a subset of this set, F is countable. Our assumption is that each member of F encodes an R-P family, and there is one member of F for each R-P family, so the set of R-P families must be countable. So to show that there is a family that is R-P that is not specified by a recursive function2, it suffices to show that the set of lists that are R-P is not countable. That's what we turn to next. Lemma 3.1 : For any n if { D1, D2, D3, . Dn} is a partial list of the R-P families, then there is a partial list, { D1, D2, D3, . Dn, Dn+1}, of the R-P families such that the n +1st member of Dn+1 is not nullish. Proof of Lemma 3.1: Consider a set (D) of families each of whose members are nullish except the n +1st. Each of D is R-P because the n +1st member must be either a triangulator or semi-nullish, and D is infinite (because there are infinitely many appropriate triangulators). For any n if D1, D2, . Dn is a partial list of the R-P families, then we can form the partial list { D1, D2, . Dn, Dn+1} by letting Dn+1 be a member of D. We are guaranteed that there is such a family because the first partial list is finite. Claim (3.1) The set of R-P lists is uncountable. Proof of Claim (3.1) : Assume otherwise for contra diction. Since the set of R-P families is countable and because of lemma 3.1, we can assume that they can be listed D1, D2, . so that for each m D2m is a family such that it is 2 mth member is not nullish. We will demonstrate D = { d*1, d*2, d*3, . }, an R-P family that is 1 Because every recursive function can be paired with the appropriate Turing Machine, each of which can be uniquely encoded by an natural number. 2 I will call this sort a “non-recursive R-P family”.

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25 not among the proposed list. For even n let d*n be nullish, and for odd n if dn,n (the nth member function of the nth family of our proposed co untable set) is nullish, let d*n( n + 1) = 1 and for all x > n + 1 let d*n( x ) = 0, otherwise let d*n be nullish. D is R-P because there are an infinite number of nullish members, and every member is semi-nullish. D is not one of D1, D2, . because for all n d*n dn,n. Contradiction, the set of R-P family is not countable. Corollary1 : There are uncountably many infinite sets of English sentences that form liar-like paradoxes. Corollary 2 : There is an infinite set of Englis h sentences that form a semantic, liarlike paradox that is not underwritten by a circular predicate. Corollary 1 follows by reasoning similar to that of the proofs of Lemma 2.1 and Claim 2.2. Corollary 2 follows by corollary 1 and the reasoning presented just before Lemma 3.1. To point towards a Yabloesque paradox that does not concern a circular predicate (because it is not recursively constructible), we can gesture toward what D* might look like were a corresponding list of English se ntences given in the manner of Claim 2.2. The paradox is an infinite list of indexed sentences { s0, s1, . .} such that, (if n is even) sn is “For k > n sk is untrue.” (if m is odd) sm is “For k > m sk is untrue.” (OR) “ sm+1 is true, and for k > m + 1, sk is untrue.” 3.2 Is The Foregoing Really Not Predicatively Circular? With the hint of the set of sentences based on D* in mind, we now argue that the class of Yabloesque sequences which are not re cursive are not predicatively circular. Our strategy is the following. I will present an informal argument that there is no truth valuation for the set of sentences based on D* then I will try to mimic Priest’s method to show that this set concerns a circular predicat e. I hope we will see th at it is not the case that there must be such a predicate. Argument that sentence set based on non-recursive R-P list D* is paradoxical.

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26 A. For arbitrary n sentence with index n claims either that ev ery sentence with index greater than n is untrue, or, that sentence with index n + 1 is true and each sentence with index greater than n + 1 is untrue. B. For an even p > n + 1 sentence with index p claims that every sentence with index greater than p is untrue. C. Sentence n cannot be true. If it were, then sentence p would be untrue, but every sentence with index greater than p would also be untrue. This exactly what sentence p claims, so sentence p would be true after all. D. Index n was arbitrary so similar reasoning could be used to show that contradiction followed from the truth of any sentence of the set. E. It cannot be that each of the sentences of the set is untrue, because in that case, since there is a sentence (let it is index be s ) that claims that every sentence of higher index is untrue, and by hypothesis ea ch of the these sentences would be untrue, sentence s would be true. F. (Conclusion): the set is paradoxical. First notice that in this argument (a similar argument could be run for any nonrecursive sequence that met the R-P condition), names of partic ular sentence never occur; only statements about the truth conditions of arbitrary senten ces. Nevertheless, we can try, as Priest does, to “uncover” the logical form of the sentences. Instead of trying to formalize the argument with something similar to (1)-(11), let us note that were we to do that, we would have to do something like quantify over the “ n ” of string such as “ sn”, and so we would reason, as Pr iest has, that this “ n ” must have been playing the role of variable. So I will skip straight to an attempt at carrying out Priest’s method for discovering the circular predicate that is concerned by the set of sentences. 23. SAT(s, n ) ( k > n + 1) SAT(s, k ) (from (A)) 24. for an even p > n + 1, SAT(s, p ) ( k > p ) SAT(s, k ) (from (B)) 25. SAT(s, n ) SAT(s, p ) (from (23))

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27 26. SAT(s, n ) ( k > p ) SAT(s, p ) (from (23)) 27. SAT(s, p ) (from (24) and (26)) 28. SAT(s, n ) (from (25) and (27)) 29. ( n ) SAT(s, n ) (gen. based on (23)-(28)) 30. ( k > p ) SAT(s, k ) (reasoning about "for all") 31. SAT(s, p ) (from (24) and (30)) 32. ((29) and (31)) Now the most we can say about this suppos edly concerned predicate is that its satisfaction conditions can be represented as: 33. SAT(s, n ) ( k > n ) SAT(s, k ) iff n is even 34. SAT(s, n ) ( k > n + 1) SAT(s, k ) iff n is odd There could be a predicate here of whose satisfaction conditions we can assert (33) and (34), but we cannot give necessary and suffici ent satisfaction conditions for it, because of the way that a non-recursive R-P list was defined. So by Prie st’s lights, we cannot assert that the set concerns any specific predicat e because, according to his presentation it seems that we must know the necessary and su fficient satisfaction conditions (or at least logical equivalents) to determine that a circ ular predicate is con cerned by the set in question. In the present case, we do not know what the predicat e is, and so our claim that whatever it is it must be concerned seems arbitrary. Perhaps we should a different argumen t to the effect that there are two predicates (one corresponding to the nullish member f unctions and one corresponding to the seminullish member functions) one of which must be concerned by every member of the sentence set. A first try using tw o predicates might be the following. 35. SAT(s, n ) iff ( k > n ) SAT(s, k ) and

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28 36. SAT(s*, n ) iff SAT(s*, n + 1) & ( k > n + 1) SAT(s*, k ) This approach won’t work because the sentences were meant to quantify over each of those that followed. In the case of ( 35) and (36), it seems that sentences which concern s, for instance, do not refer to those which refer to s*. Perhaps there is another work around – to make the predicate di sjunctive in the following sort of way. 37. SAT(s, n ) iff ( k > n ) SAT(s, k ) or SAT(s, n +1)&( k > n +1) SAT(s, k ) This approach does not work either because we need s to have the non-disjunctive satisfaction condition (for at leas t some natural numbers) “SAT(s, n ) iff ( k > n ) SAT(s, k )” for step (24) of the reasoning presented in (23)-(32) to go through.3 The possibility of a “closed form” presentation of the satisfaction conditi ons of predicate s is not available because the nature of the R-P family on which this sentence set is based.4 Perhaps, as a final attempt, we could claim that, in prin ciple, there exist sentences that give the satisfaction conditions of s in the form of an infinite ( non-recursive) list such as the following: 38. SAT(s, 0) iff ( k > 0) SAT(s, k ) 3 Any hope for the the sort of predi cate whose satisfaction conditions are gi ven by (43) is lost because each family can include triangulating member functions. In any one R-P family there can be infinitely triangulating member functions such that (if we thin k about functions set theoretically) no triangulator function is a subset of another. In that case, there is no hope for a closed form satisfaction condition for the predicate such a family might concerned. 4 That is, we could not list such sa tisfaction conditions in a sort of cl osed form way because (first) there could be an R-P list that contained an infinite number of different triangulators as in the previous footnote, and (second) D* is non-recursive.

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29 39. SAT (s, 1) iff SAT(s, 2) & ( k > 2) SAT(s, k ) 40. SAT (s, 2) iff ( k > 2) SAT(s, k ) 41. SAT (s, 3) iff ( k > 3) SAT(s, k ) 42. . Though this sort of list might give satisfacti on conditions of a predicate which could be mentioned by each sentence of the set based on D* it is important to recall that the construction of D* showed that there were an uncountably many non-recursive Yabloesque sequences which were paradoxica l. We can reason that each of these sequences form a paradox in a manner simila r to (A)-(F). Any attempt to uncover the logical form of these sentences la Priest must rest on the as sumption that the sentences of this sequence have a specific form (i.e. in clude names of the sentences that follow). But that such sentences have this form is left underdetermined by the argument we have presented, as names for specific sentences do not appear in it. So the assertion that each sentence refers to a single predicate is onl y hypothesis – it cannot be shown that each of the sentences of a member of this class must make reference to a single predicate with circular satisfaction conditions. As a matter of fact, we can stipulate that there is a sequence based on a non-recursive R-P family each sentence of which refers to a different predicate, as reasoning similar to that presen ted in (A)-(F) will go for such a sequence. So in the case of a sequence based on a arbitrary non-recursive R-P family, we have, so far, no reason to claim that the set is predic atively circular. Indeed, we have evidence that there are such sequences that are not predicatively circular. Finally we should consider whether the R-P condition itself c ould be the thing concerned by a liar-like set of sentences which is based on an R-P family. The answer seems to be no. A liar-like set of sentences could not concern a pr edicate (if any there

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30 be) that described genera lly the properties of an R-P list if we were to be able both to reason to a contradiction and if the sentences were to make only truth claims of each other, because the truth conditi ons of sentences that concer ned that sort of predicate would not be the truth or untruth of other se ntences of the set, but would rather be the truth conditions of their successors. This is the case because the R-P condition was meant to constrain the truth conditions of a given sentence relative to the truth conditions of other sentences rather than specifying the truth conditions of particular sentences outright. It is not obvious that a set of sent ences that concerned the predicate formulation of the R-P condition could consti tute a liar paradox.5 3.3 A Paradox That Is Referentially Circu lar But Not Predicatively Circular One concern of the dialectic is the gene ral concern over whether circularity is necessary for paradox. I have tried to show th at there are infinite liar-like paradoxes that are not referentially circular th at are also not predicatively circular. One last question may be whether the two types of circularity are independent of each other. We could answer this question affirmatively if we could show that there is a pa radoxical infinite set of sentences that is referentia lly circular and not predicativ ely circular. To show that notice that if we change the sentence s2 of the paradox based on D from “For k > 2, sk is untrue.” To “For k > 2, sk is untrue, and s1 is untrue.” Now the corresponding digraph has a cycle, and the set is referentially circular. 5 Each sentence would not claim truth or untruth of it is companions, but would make claims about their truth conditions – sentences of this sort are not the appropriate kind for liar-like paradoxes.

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31 Finally, we may also notice now that sets of sentences which are either referentially circular or predicatively circular, both or neither can fail to form paradoxes.6 It seems that even though inferential circularity is required, paradox is independent from the referential and predicative circularity we have discussed in the preceding. 3.4 Conclusion We tried to show in the third section of the first chapter that every liar-like paradox must be inferentially circular, that is, each sentence of must bear certain logical relationships to the other sentences. Because we have restricted our discussion to liarlike paradoxes, we know that th ese logical relations must be borne in virtue of a sentence's making truth claims about other sentences of the paradox. Sentences which bear the appropriate relations may be generated by a paradox w ith a referentially circular structure, which means that a sentence of the se t refers indirectly to itself, by means of its truth claims and the attributions made by sentences of which it makes truth claims. Given that the “punch” of liar-like paradoxe s is not a result of vagueness or other vagaries of natural language, there exists a graph theoretic tool to detect referential circularity and another to detect paradoxicality of referentially circular sets of sentences. I believe that so separating the search for i ndirect self-reference a nd the conditions under which a set of sentences forms a paradox is generally more informative than a proof theoretic method like Tennant's. Sets of se ntences which make only truth claims about each other might be paradoxical without being referentially circular and vice versa 6 Examples of non paradoxical sets of sentences that are (1) predicative, non-r eferential: a set like Yablo’s except substitute “true” for “untrue”; (2) referential, non-predicative: a set of sentences based on a nonrecursive R family that contains only one semi-nullish member function (which is also nullish) and that is slightly modified such that its grap h has a cycle; (3) both: a set exactly like the predicative, non-referential set above except that one sentence is modified such that the graph has a cycle; (4) neither: a set of sentences based on the non-recursive R list above in (2) without the modi fication that caused the cycle in the graph.

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32 It turns out on the pr esent suggestion that YP is not referentially circular, but is, as Priest argues predicatively ci rcular. The process of asse ssing the methods of Priest's argument that YP is underwritten by a circular predic ate helps us see that if a set of sentences is predicatively circ ular, that set of sentences mu st be constructible from a recipe. Since we can imagine what's minimally required for a set of sentences to lack an assignment of truth-values, we can formalize with families of recursive functions the behavior of a subset of infi nite liar-like paradoxes. Once we have seen how this might come off, it is a short step to showing that th ere must be a non-recurs ive list of functions which meets the formal requirements for paradox because such families form an uncountable set. One result of the whole adventure is that we can provide the sketch of a paradox the sentences of which is not predicatively circular. And so it does not seem that predicative circularity is a necessa ry feature of lia r-like paradoxes. It might be thought we could go further and offer an analysis of paradoxicality in the context of infinite sets of the sentences with just a bit more development of the notion of R-P families. But I think we will see that it would take significantly more work to come up with necessary and sufficient conditio ns for such paradoxicality. To see this, consider an infinite list of senten ces indicated by the following schema: 43. sn: ( x > n )( y > x ) sy is true. Another rendition of this sentence might be “ sn: ‘infinitely many sentences of index greater than n are untrue.’” This list of sentences forms a paradox: if s0 is true then for every m > 0 sm is true because there are always an infinite number of sentences with index greater than m which are untrue, but in this case s0 must be untrue, there being no

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33 untrue sentences that follow it. On the other hand if s0 is untrue then there are only finitely many sentences with higher index that are untrue, but this situation leads to contradiction because there must be some p > 0 such that sp is true, but this is the case only if infinitely many of the sentences that follow sp are untrue, in which case s0 would have been true after all. Similar reasoning holds for se ntences with arbitrary index. This set of sentences is para doxical but is not captured by the R-P family characterization. What has gone wrong? Even though this set of sentences is predicatively circular, the senten ces do not recursively describe a single set of truthvalues for the subsequent senten ces (as did each member of an R-P family formally as a function from a subset of the natural numb ers to {0,1}), rather the sentences describe sets of truth-values for all subsequent sentences. To illustrate, (43) describes sets of truthvalues for all subsequent sentences in whic h there are infinitely many untrue sentences. Part of the “bite” comes from the fact that for any natural numbers n and m the intersection of the sets described by nth and mth sentences of such a set is non-empty and so if n = 0, and the first sentence is true then for any natural number the mth must be true. All the subsequent sentences must be true, bu t each claims that infinitely many of the following are untrue. A ge neral characterization of this sort of phenomenon might be available – something, for example, that made more explicit use of set theory – but that project exceeds the scope of what we would set out to do here. Finally, a few last points a bout the possibility of formal results available from paradoxes comprising infinite sets of liar-like sentences. If th e demonstrations offered in the appendices are successful, the re sult is that using the notion of R-P families we can prove both an undefinability theorem similar to Theorem 1 of Mostowski, Robinson and

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34 Tarski (1953)7 and an incompleteness theorem simila r to that given by Smullyan (1992).8 Theorem 1 of the former work shows that if formal system T is to be consistent then the set V of all and only those numbers which ar e gdel codes of valid sentences in T and diagonal function D9 cannot both be definable. Appendix B shows that there is a set Y defined with the help of pr edicate that simulates an R-P family that cannot be definable along with V if the formal system in which they ’re defined is to be consistent. Appendix C shows that for certain systems in which an R-P list can be defined, there is a gdel numbering for the expressions of that language relative to which there are infinitely many undecidable sentences for that system It is interesting to note that both of these results to nothing to lower the standard that’s required for the exis tence of an undefinable set within a system or an undecidable senten ce. In each case, undefinable sets and undecidable sentences would already be feat ures of systems which were powerful enough to define R-P families, i.e. systems that were capable of defining recursive sets. Another point of interest is that the non-recursive R-P families we labored so long to demonstrate cannot be used in either formal result. Both appendices require that the R-P family in question be recursive, otherwise in the case of Appendix B we could not speak of “< >”, and in the case of Appendix C we could not recover the sequence of gdel codes of s0, s1, s2, . . So it is unclear whether any addi tional technical result is available from the existence of non-recursive R-P families 7 For all references to Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski see (Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski 1953) 8 For all references to Smullyan see (Smullyan 1992). 9 “ Dn is the number correlated with the expression which is obtained from En by replacing everywhere the variable u by the term n.” (46) For example, if, for one place predicate H < H ( x )> = n then Dn = < H ( n )>.

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35 APPENDIX A USING DIGRAPHS TO DETERMINE WH EN A SET OF SENTENCES FORMS A PARADOX We give a method for determining a su fficient condition for whether a set of referentially circ ular sentences forms a paradox using A an algorithm which colors in stages (nondeterministic ally) the vertices of G with color1 and color2. A { Let x y be a variables ranging over the natural numbers. Let T be a variable ranging over sets. Set T Choose i to be the least inde x of the vertices of G Set x i Assign Vx either color1 or color2. While there is some vertex Vj such that j T { If Vx is color1, consider which assignment of tr uth values to all and only the sentences whose correspondi ng vertices share edges from Vx will make sentence i true (these sentences must be all and only those sentences to which sentence i directly refers by construction of G ), color (nondeterministically) vertices of this set with color1 whose corresponding sentences must be true in order for sentence i to be true, color vertices of this set with color2 whose corresponding sentences must be untrue in order for sentence i to be true. All the vert ices that share edges from Vx may not be colored. If Vx is color2, consider which assignment of tr uth values to all and only the sentences whose correspondi ng vertices share edges from Vx will make sentence i untrue, color (nondeterminis tically) the vertices of this set with color1 whose corresponding sentences must be true in order for sentence i to be untrue, color the vertices of this set with color2 whose corresponding senten ces must be untrue in order for sentence i to be untrue. All the vert ices that share edges from Vx may not be colored. Choose one of the vertices, say Vy, just colored. If x y, set T T { x } (the color of Vx is “fixed” iff x T ). Set x y } } Claim A.1 : A graphically circular set of sentences is paradoxical if the corresponding graph has no “stable coloring ” in the following sense. For any

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36 execution of A on the corresponding prev iously uncolored graph G either there are colored vertices Vi and Vj such that i T but j T (that is Vi has been assigned color1 (color2) at some previous stage and Vj has just been assigned a color and that color hasn't been fixed), there is an edge from Vj to Vi and A assigns Vi color2 (color1) or the color of a vertex which cannot be fixed alternates endlessly on the execution of A .1 Proof of Claim A.1 : Assume otherwise for contradi ction: that there is a set, R of sentences which is not paradoxi cal but whose corresponding graph G contains a cycle, yet has no stable coloring. If a set of sentences each of which only makes truth claims of the others is not paradoxical then there is an assignment of “true” and “false” to those sentences that does not lead to contradiction. For each x if vertex Vx is a vertex of G and if Vx were colored with color1 just in case the xth sentence of R were true and with color2 just in case the xth sentence of R were untrue, then this coloring w ould be stable in terms of A in contradiction to the original assumption. 1 A vertex cannot be fixed in case the corres ponding sentence is dir ectly self-referential.

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37 APPENDIX B AN UNDEFINABILITY THEOREM In our development, we're far from that which is usually considered a semantic paradox. I want to suggest that what we'r e doing is not so strange in light of how traditional liar sentences can be used in th e study of formal systems. Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski's (Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski 1953) Theorem 1 shows that any formalized theory (call it T ) in which both V (the predicate applyi ng to codes of valid sentences) and function D (a diagonal function) are defina ble must be inconsistent. We will demonstrate here that there is a formula with one free variable which defines a set of natural numbers Y such that V and Y are not both defina ble if the theory T of the formal system in which they're to be defined is consistent. Let be a formula of the language of theory T with one free variable. Now, let Y be a predicate of natural numbers such that < ( m )> Y just in case for all p > m < ( p )> Y if d,m( p ) = 1 and < ( p )> Y if d,m( p ) = 0. Claim A.2 : If T is consistent, then Y and V are not both definable. Proof of Claim A.2 : Suppose for contradiction that there is some predicate Y so defined by and predicate V such that n V iff the sentence of T whose gdel code is n is valid. If < (0)> Y is valid, we see that it must be the case that, by construction of D, that for some m > 0, we can infer that < ( m )> Y and < ( m )> Y a clear contradiction. If on the other hand, none of Y (0), Y (1), Y (2), . are valid, then since there is some m such that d,m is nullish and <( x )( Y ( x ))> is in V we have warrant to infer < ( m )> Y but in this case, < Y (< ( m )>)> V and so we can infer <( x )( Y ( x ))> is not in V in contradicition to our assumption. Y and V cannot both be definable.

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38 APPENDIX C AN SMULLYAN STYLE INCOMPLETENESS THEOREM Using an R-P family D, we can generate an incompleteness result. Let L be a language similar to the one developed by Smullyan (1992, chp. 1-4). Following Smullyan, if there is an arithmetically de finable proof procedure based on some axiom schemas and rule of inference, then we can speak of a one place predicate P x which defines proofs is satisfied by all and only the gdel numbers (for any suitable numbering) of the sentences of L which are provable according to this procedure. If the negation of sentence is provable then the negatum is refutable If the system determined by the language and the proof procedure is consis tent, then no sentence is provable and refutable. If P x satisfies the following two additiona l conditions then we can get a kind of incompleteness result: (1) if P (< P ( x )>), then P ( x ), and (2) for metalinguistic variables and if P (< >) and = ( & ) then P (< >) and P (< >), and if P (< >) and = then P (< >). First, We can draw attention to an infinite set of sentences (denoted metalinguistically for convenience as) s0, s1, s2, . of L which have the following distinction. For each j and a recursive R-P family D,1 let sj be the shortest sentence of L containing the symbols “ P ”, numerals for odd numbers greater than j the symbols required to describe recursive functions and the usual first order logic connectives such that it is logically equivalent to ( sj & P (2 k + 1) iff d,j( k ) = 1 ( k j ) and is logically 1 If the family is not recursive then there is no way to recover the numbers which are gdel codes of the sentences that “define” the behavior of P on the odd numbers. If we’re to appropriately modify the godel coding in an effective fashion, then we must be able to recover that sequence.

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39 equivalent to ( sj & P (2 k + 1) iff d,j( k ) = 0. Essentially, each sj recursively describes the behavior of P for each of the odd numbers greater than 2 j in a manner similar to that in which d,j, if considered as outlined in Lemm a 2.1 and Claim 2.2, indicates which of the subsequent sentences are true or untrue. For each j sj is unique because it is the shortest such sentence of it is logica l equivalence class. For example, if d,j is nullish then sj is the shortest sentence of L that is logically equivalent to “( x )(( y )(((x > 2 j ) & ( x = 2 y –1)) P ( x ))”. Now let g be a recursive, 1–1, onto gdel numbering function from the expressions in the vocabulary of L to the even natural numbers We will construct a new gdel numbering function, g' that’s suited to our purposes. Let g' be the same as g except let g' ( s0) = 1, g' ( s1) = 3, and in general g' ( sn) = 2 n + 1. Now g' is gdel numbering function from the expressions of L to a subset of the natural numbers whose compliment is an infinite subs et of the even natural numbers.2 Claim A.3 : If the system based on L and P' is –consistent, then there is a sentence, s of L such that neither P' (< s >) nor P' (< s>). Proof of Claim A.3 : Consider si where d,i is nullish. If P' (< si>) it follows that for a nullish d,j ( j > i ), P' (< P' (< sj>)>) and so P' (< sj>). If P' (< sj >), then we would have P' (<( x )( y )(( x > 2 j )&( x = 2 y – 1) &( P' ( x ))>) and since our system is –consistent, we have P' (< P' ( k )>), and so P' ( k ) for an odd k greater than 2 j But we have already seen that from P' (< si>) it follows that for this k P' (< P' (< k >)>), i.e. that P' ( k ), a contradiciton, so if P' (< si>) then neither P' (< sj >) nor P' (< sj>). Now if P' (< si >) then we would have, because of –consistency, P' (< sm>) for some m > i Now if d,m is semi-nullish, then we see that by reasoning similar to the forgoing there is an undecidabl e sentence whose code number is odd and greater than m On the other hand, if d,m is not semi-nullish, a contradiction results 2 By using this coding function we lose the “compositional” feature of, for example, Boolos and Jeffrey’s system of coding. Specifically, if s0 were “( x )(( y )(((x > 2) & ( x = 2 y –1)) P' ( x ))”, then in a normal coding system, the gdel number of s0 would be determined from the gdel numbers of each of “ P' ”, “(”, “&” etc. in a compositional fashion – for instance by si mply concatenating of the gdel numbers in of each of the constituent symbols of “( x )(( y )(((x > 2 j ) & ( x = 2 y –1)) P' ( x ))”. To get P' to be about the right sentences, we cannot maintain this compositionality, but there is no problem because the inverse of g' is well defined.

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40 because there are n p > m such that d,m( n ) = 1 and (WLOG) d,m( p ) = 1 and d,n( p ) = 0. In this case, from P' (< sm>) it follows that P' (< sn>) and that P' (< sp>), but from P' (< sn>) it follows that P' (< sp>). Corollary A.3 : For this system and gdel numbering, there are infinitely many undecidable sentences which ar e not logically equivalent. Proof of Corollary A.3 : For a recursive R-P family there are infinitely many nullish member functions, Claim A.3 shows that fo r each such function th ere is a sentence that is undecidable relative to the sy stem and corresponding gdel numbering in question and, as represented in this system, no two distinct nullish member functions are logically equivalent.

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41 REFERENCES Beall, J.C. (2001) “Is Yablo's Paradox Non-circular?,” Analysis 61: pp. 176-187. Bueno, O. and Colyvan, M. (2003) “Yablo's Paradox and Referring to Infinite Objects,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81: pp. 402-412. Mostowski, A., Robinson, R. and Tarski, A. (1953) Undecidable Theories Amsterdam: North-Holland. pp. 44-48. Priest, G. (1997) “Yablo's Paradox,” Analysis 57: pp. 236-242. Smullyan, R. (1992) Gdel's Incompleteness Theorems New York: Oxford University Press. Especially Chapters 1-4. Sorensen, R. (1998) “Yablo's Paradox and Kindred Infinite Liars,” Mind 107: pp. 137155. Tennant, N. (1995) “On Paradox without Self-reference,” Analysis 55: pp. 199-207. Yablo, S. (1993) “Paradox without Self-reference,” Analysis 53: pp. 251-252.

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42 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I graduated in 1995 from Brown University with an A.B. in mathematics and in 2001 from The University of Tennessee, Knoxvill e with an M.S. in computer science.


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CIRCULARITY AND INFINITE LIAR-LIKE PARADOXES


By

JESSE BUTLER













A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Jesse Butler















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank Michael Jubien and Gene Witmer for being on the committee for this thesis

and Greg Ray for agreeing to undertake the project and helping me clarify my thoughts.

Any remaining obnubilations are entirely my responsibility.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii

A B STRA C T ............... ....................................... .............. ................. v

CHAPTER

1 YABLO' S PARADOX IS INFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR BUT NOT
REFEREN TIALLY CIRCULAR ................................................................ ..................

1.1 R eh earsin g Y P ..................................................... ................ .. 3
1.2 Inferential C ircularity ............................................................. ....................... 4
1.3 R creating the D ialectic........................... ..... ........................................ ......6
1.4 Characterizing Referential Circularity with Directed Graphs ...........................10

2 TO CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDICATE IS TO BE RECURSIVELY
C O N ST R U C T IB L E ................................................................................. .......... 15

2.1 Graham Priest's Argument Considered More Carefully .................................15
2.2 A Different Formal Treatment of YP and Other Similar Sets of Sentences......... 18

3 THERE IS A PARADOXICAL SET OF SENTENCES THAT DOES NOT
CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDICATE .....................................................23

3.1 Technical Preliminaries and Presentation....................... .................... 23
3.2 Is The Foregoing Really Not Predicatively Circular?..........................................25
3.3 A Paradox That Is Referentially Circular But Not Predicatively Circular ...........30
3.4 C conclusion ............................................................... ...... .......... 31

APPENDIX

A USING DIGRAPHS TO DETERMINE WHEN A SET OF SENTENCES
FORM S A PARAD O X ................................................................. ............... 35

B AN UNDEFINABILITY THEOREM ............................................. .....................37

C AN SMULLYAN STYLE INCOMPLETENESS THEOREM ...............................38

R E F E R E N C E S ........................................ ........................................................... .. 4 1

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................42















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

CIRCULARITY AND INFINITE LIAR-LIKE PARADOXES

By

Jesse Butler

December 2005

Chair: Greg Ray
Major Department: Philosophy

Before Stephen Yablo's "Paradox without self-reference" it was commonly held

that what was loosely and vaguely termed "self-reference" was necessary for semantic

paradoxes of the liar-like variety. Yablo claimed that the infinite, liar-like set of

sentences he provided proved otherwise. In subsequent years, Beall, Bueno and Colyvan,

Priest, Sorensen and Tennant (and others) have debated whether Yablo has in fact

demonstrated that self-reference is not required for paradox by exhibiting a paradoxical,

yet completely non-circular set of sentences. My aim in this paper is two-fold. First, I

try to clarify this debate over whether Yablo's set of sentences is self-referential (in the

same way that the traditional liar sentence is) as preparation for the assertion that it is not.

I argue that the situation regarding sets of sentences that form candidates for liar-like

paradoxes can be plausibly formalized using directed graphs and that this treatment bears

out my assertion. Second, I address Priest's claim that even given the lack of this kind of

self-reference, Yablo's sentences are in some sense self-referential because they, in

Priest's somewhat mysterious terminology, "concern a circular predicate," as do,









according to him, all standard semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes. I argue that if a set

of sentence concerns a circular predicate, there is a kind of recipe to construct the

sentences of that set. Even though the word "recipe" is still a bit too metaphorical to do

much good, another formal treatment is available that captures this intuitive notion and

yields a sufficient condition for the paradoxicality of infinite sets of liar-like sentences.

Using this formal treatment, it is easy to show that there must be an infinite set of liar-like

sentences that is not constructible from a recipe, and so in Priest's terms does not concern

a circular predicate. Thus, while Yablo's paradoxical set of sentences is circular in

Priest's sense, this is incidental. We will have proved that there is a variant of Yablo's

example that is not circular in either the narrow referential sense nor in Priest's broader

sense.















CHAPTER 1
YABLO'S PARADOX IS INFERENTIALLY CIRCULAR BUT NOT REFERENTIALLY
CIRCULAR

Stephen Yablo (1993)1 billed his paradox referredd to as "Yablo's Paradox" or "YP"

hereafter) as a demonstration that self-reference was not necessary for liar-like

paradoxes.2 Of course, philosophers have argued that YP either is or is not self-

referential and have so argued as to whether it fails or succeeds as a demonstration that

self-reference need not be involved in paradox. My first goal in this paper is to get clear

about several of the arguments for and against YP's self-referential (or to speak more

generally indirectly self-referential or circular3) character. In sorting out whether YP is

or is not circular, and if so in what way, I assert that we can understand more generally

the phenomenon of liar-like paradoxes comprising infinite sets of sentences if we try to

"picture" graph theoretically the references made by each sentence. With this technique,

we see that none of the sentences of YP are indirectly self-referential with the references

they make. So YP is not referentially circular in the way traditional finite liars are. The

second part of the paper attempts to show that there is a variant of Yablo's Paradox that

does not concern a predicate of the natural numbers with circular satisfaction conditions,


1 For all references to Yablo see (Yablo 1993).

2 I take liar-like paradoxes to comprise sets of sentences each of which only makes truth claims about
itself or the other sentences.

3 The idea being that even though the two sentences: "The second sentence enclosed in double quotes on
page 1 is true," and "The first sentence enclosed in double quotes on page 1 is untrue," are not themselves
self-referential (each makes no claim about itself) they exhibit indirect self-reference. The first makes a
claim of the second which in turn makes a claim about the first. "Circularity" might describe this more
general notion. Occasionally, I will use that term to speak of this general form of indirect self-reference.









and so is not circular in the sense that Priest (1997)4 claims YP is. I will argue that an

infinite list of sentences can concern a circular predicate only if there is a recipe to

generate the sentences of the list. We do this by representing each sentence of the

infinite, supposedly paradoxical list as a recursive function from a subset of the natural

numbers to {0, 1), and placing minimal conditions on the behavior of each of those

functions relative to others of the "family" of functions that represent the sentences of the

infinite list. Once we have represented infinite lists of sentences that are paradoxical in

this way, it is easy to see that the number of such lists is uncountable. The number of

recipes for infinite lists is countable, so the paradoxial infinite liars must outstrip the

paradoxical infinite liars that concern predicates with circular satisfaction conditions.

We begin (1.1) with a short rehearsal of YP by exhibiting the infinite list of

sentences that form the paradox, and (1.2) a short demonstration that a most general

form of circularity (inferential circularity) must be involved in any sort of liar-like

paradox. In 1.3, I will try to recreate the dialectic provided by the arguments of Tennant

(1995)5, Priest, Sorenson (1998)6, Beall (2001)7 and Bueno & Colyvan (2003)8 regarding

YP's self-referential character. In 1.4, I will consider Tennant's argument in a bit more

detail and elaborate on its shortcomings while tentatively endorsing his conclusion. In

that section, I will propose what I believe to be a better method for demonstrating that YP

is not even indirectly referentially circular. By using this method, we will be able to

4 For all references to Priest see (Priest 1997).

5 For all references to Tennant see (Tennant 1995).
6 For all references to Sorensen see (Sorensen 1998).

7 For all references to Beall see (Beall 2001).

8 For all references to Bueno and Colyvan see (Bueno and Colyvan 2003).









more easily separate the issues of what Sorensen calls, "self-reference at the level of

specification and [self-reference] at the level of content," and that this separation will

guide us to clearer thinking about the present problem.

In 2, I will consider in detail parts of Priest's paper, while explicating and

assessing his argument, I propose that his observations may be reformulated in a more

productive treatment of the general problem. This will lead to a method of formalizing,

in some generality, liar-like paradoxes comprising infinite lists of sentences. In these

terms, we will be able to see that Priest's charge that YP "concerns a circular predicate"

can be reframed as a observation that there exists a certain recipe for constructing the

sentences of YP. Once we have seen that both Priest's and Beall's argument that YP is

circular stem from the fact that its the sentences can be so generated, and armed with the

formal characterization of paradoxicality in terms of infinite liar-like sets (2.2), we will

be in position to show (in 3) that there must be a "Yabloesque" paradox, the sentences

of which cannot be generated by a recipe.9 Thus, even if Priest is right that YP is circular

in a broad sense, we will have shown that such circularity is not essential to Yabloesque

paradoxes.

1.1 Rehearsing YP

Yablo's Paradox concerns a countably infinite list of sentences so, sj, s2, of the

following sort:


so: for all k > 0, sk is untrue.
sl: for all k > 1, sk is untrue.


9 We cannot precisely describe it as it contains non-constructive elements.









These sentences clearly form a paradox in the sense that they have no stable

assignment of truth-values. If so is true then each of sk for k > 0 is untrue, so then each of

Sk for k > 1 is untrue, but in this case, sl is true after all because that's just what it claims.

So so cannot be true because it claimed that sj was untrue. On the other hand, if each of

so, s1, S2, ... is untrue then in particular each of S, S2, ... is untrue, and since the latter

circumstance is precisely the condition under which so is true, so must be true after all.

For future reference, let the set S be this collection of Yablo sentences, { so, s1, S2, .. }.

1.2 Inferential Circularity

Before addressing YP in more detail, let us notice a general point. As soon as we

begin considering liar-like paradoxes, we notice that there is always some element of

what we would commonly term "circularity" involved. More specifically, it is clear that

there must be a certain logical relationship between sentences comprising a paradox in

light of which we can make an assumption about the truth-value of a certain sentence,

draw inferences about other sentences, then return to (as if we had completed a kind of

reasoning circle or loop, but not engaged in circular reasoning) and reassess the truth-

value of the original sentence. Insofar as any truth valuation of sentences of a liar-like

paradox leads to inconsistency and we can demonstrate this inconsistency, it must be the

case that those sentences bear certain logical relations to each other that allow for this

demonstration. I want to call sets of sentences the members of which bear these logical

relationships "inferentially circular" in light of the fact that these sort of sets enable us to

draw inferences which are circular in so far as these inferences begin and end with

assertions about truth value of the same sentence. For example, if we reason about a

"chain" set of liar sentences and see that the set has no truth valuation, we go through a

process resembling this:









If the (say) ith sentence is true (or untrue), then i+ lt sentence is true (untrue), but
this means that the i+2nd is true (untrue), but in that case the ith sentence must
have been untrue. On the other hand, if the ith sentence is untrue, then the i+ 1st is
untrue (true) and the i+2nd is untrue (true), and .. ., but in that case the ith sentence
must have been true.

In order for inconsistency to result from each assumed truth-value of the ith

sentence, each of the sentences must bear logical relations to the accompanying

sentences. In the case of liar-like paradoxes, sentences make only truth claims of each

other, and so it is only such truth claims that provide the logical relationships which lead

to inconsistency and paradox. And so every set of liar-like sentences that we claim to be

demonstrably paradoxical must, in virtue of that claim, be inferentially circular. YP

provides no exception: it must be inferentially circular because we can reason to

contradiction from the truth of any of its sentences. In any of the arguments I consider or

offer myself, I assume that assertions that YP is or is not circular are not assertions about

whether it is or is not inferentially circular. Inferential circularity is essential to any

paradox, YP included.

For the liar-like paradoxes that came before YP, inferential circularity was typically

grounded in some kind of content (what we will call later referential) circularity. That

YP has the requisite inferential circularity raises a justifiable suspicion that is must also

feature some sort of underlying content circularity. This question is one target of our

investigation. Another target is to determine how YP is predicatively circular and

whether there other similar sets of sentences that are paradoxical yet are notpredicatively

circular. This locution comes from Priest who claims that YP, although not circular in

exactly the same way the well-known liar sentence, is circular in that it "concerns" a

circular predicate of the natural numbers and that use of this particular predicate is in

some way crucial to understanding the logic of the paradox. The concerned predicate is









circular in that its satisfaction by a certain number, n, depends upon whether it is satisfied

by any natural number greater than n. The predicate's satisfaction conditions can be

stated only in terms of the predicate, that is, only circularly.

1.3 Recreating the Dialectic

The goal of this section is to try to recreate a particular dialectic surrounding YP

and circularity. In laying out the dialectic it is important to notice first that often the

participants talk past each other. Tennant claims that YP is not at all self-referential,

Graham Priest begins to mark a distinction between two different kind of circularity

when he says, "Note that each sentence refers to (quantifies over) only sentences later in

the sequence. No sentence therefore refers to itself, even in indirect, loop-like fashion"

(237). But then goes on to claim on the page that, "[his formal diagnosis of YP] show

that we have a fixed point ... of exactly the same self-referential kind as in the liar

paradox The circularity [of YP] is not manifest." Priest's claim is that YP merely

concerns a circular predicate, and that the predicate's involvement (rather than indirect

self-reference) is the source of the paradox's inferential circularity. Much of the

foregoing disagreement results because they do not appreciate the distinction between the

two different kinds of circularity. To get a handle on things, we need first to get clear on

what Tennant's claim is in light of the fact that inferential circularity seems necessary for

any sort of liar-like paradox, and second to mark a further distinction in kinds of

circularity to help clarify the conversation between Priest, Sorensen, Beall and Bueno and

Colyvan.

To the first end, if we compare a crude version of apair liar (see footnote 3) with

YP, we're immediately struck by the difference: the pair liar contains sentences that make

truth claims of themselves (albeit indirectly), whereas the sentences of YP do not seem to









do this. These attempts to capture and explain the difference between these two sorts of

paradox account for one strain of a dialectic concerning YP. One example I have in mind

is Neil Tennant's. If Tennant would agree to our claim that all liar-like paradoxes are

inferentially circular (and it seems that he would), we might attribute to him, instead of

his more radical pronouncement above, the claim that YP's inferential circular is not

rooted in any sort of content circularity, as is the inferential circularity of any finite liar.

And so we can read one of Tennant's conclusions as being that inferential circularity

need not be rooted in content circularity. I endorse this conclusion and will say more

about it shortly.

As far as the second issue goes, let us stipulate two further different kinds of

circularity. Say that a set of sentences is referentially circular if a particular sentence of

the set is either directly self-referential (like the traditional liar sentence) or indirectly

self-referential. We can explain indirect self-reference by making precise what a

sentence of a liar-like set, which is not directly self-referential, refers to. Such sentence

(call itp) makes use of restricted quantification to pick out a set (Q) of sentences (which

is a proper subset of the set to which belongs because is not directly self-referential)

and then makes some truth claim of some members of Q. For instance, if the sentences

are organized in an ordered list like those of the S of YP, then the sentence might be

something like, "Some of the following sentences are untrue," and so Q would be the set

of all the sentences that came after in the list. The sentence directly refers to all the

sentences of Q. If there is a sentence, q (a member of Q) that directly refers to a set of

sentences P, which includes, then we can say thatp refers indirectly to itself (is

indirectly self-referential) via the intermediary q. And so generally, we say that a set of









sentences is indirectly self-referential if a member of the set refers indirectly to itself via

any number of intermediaries. For example, the pair liar sentences of footnote 3 clearly

form a set that is referentially circular.

On the other hand, a set of sentences that, in Priest's terms, concerns a circular

predicate is, as we mentioned earlier, predicatively circular.10 With these terms in mind,

we see that Priest claims that YP is predicatively circular but not referentially circular.

We have seen that every liar-like paradox must be inferentially circular, Tennant has

argued that referential circularity is not required for paradox (and more generally

inferential circularity), and Priest has hinted that referential circularity is not required for

predicative circularity. We still lack a detailed argument for independence of referential

and predicative circularity, and whether every liar-like paradox is predicatively circular is

an open question.

If the distinction makes clearer Priest's claim, it is a bit surprising when Sorensen

weighs in on YP that he begins to muddy the waters a bit (145-149). Sorensen's intuition

is that self-reference at the "level of content" (i.e. referential circularity) can be separated

from self-reference (or circularity) at the "level of specification" (i.e. predicative

circularity). It seems that Sorensen thinks, as does Priest, that YP is not referentially

circular but is predicatively circular, and thinks that predicative circularity can feature in

paradoxes the sentences of which are not referentially circular, all of which makes the

following claim seem very odd: "Priest is committed to saying that that the infinite,

indirect liar is doubly self-referential once at the level of specification, again at the level

of content" (148). Whether or not Sorensen thinks something in Priest's method commits


10 Priest's locution seems a bit mysterious. In 2, I try to fill out a bit of what Priest may intend.









him to identifying referential and predicative circularity, the above quote does say that

Priest claims that YP is both referentially and predicatively circular. Whatever the reason

for Sorensen's misreading of Priest, a confusion begins here which, I believe, runs the

whole dialectic off-track. Beall responds to Sorensen's claim that YP's predicative

circularity has no bearing on its referential circularity. In the following quote Beall

seems to argue that predicatively circular sets of sentences must also be referentially

circular, and cites Priest's demonstration of YP predicative circularity as evidence for its

referential circularity (my emphasis; it is meant to show where Beall hints that

predicative circularity is not separable from referential circularity).

If the foregoing is correct, then the issue becomes clear: if we have fixed the
reference of 'Yablo's paradox' at all, then we have fixed the reference of 'Yablo's
paradox' via (attributive) description. But, now, the upshot of Priest's point is plain:
Priest has shown that any description we employ to pick out (or otherwise define) a
Yabloesque sequence is circular; this much Sorensen concedes. From here,
however, it is a small step to the circularity of the sequence itself We are fixing
the reference of 'Yablo's paradox' via (attributive) description, which means that
'Yablo's paradox' denotes whatever satisfies the given reference fixing description.
The situation, however, is this: that the satisfaction conditions of our available
reference-fixing descriptions require a circular satisfier a sequence that involves
circularity, self-reference, a fixed point. Given all this, it follows that the reference
of 'Yablo's paradox' is circular... (180)


Finally, in response to Beall, Bueno and Colyvan argue that there are denoting terms (like

"the integers" or "the supremum of set A") whose referents can only be fixed by the use

of a circular recursivee) description but whose referents are not themselves circular in any

sort of obvious way. According to them, the situation with YP is analogous.

I think that the tedious attention to whether reference to S can be fixed by

demonstration plus description or by description alone is misplaced. We could have

avoided this problem by paying closer attention to Priest's original paper (or ignoring









Sorensen's misreading of it), and by using a more intuitive explanation of exactly why the

set of sentences that form YP is not referentially circular.

1.4 Characterizing Referential Circularity with Directed Graphs

We want to show ultimately that referential circularity is entirely independent of

predicative circularity. A first step toward that is to take a position with regard to the

dialectic I have just presented. Specifically, I want to argue that even ifYP is

predicatively circular it is not referentially circular. To this end, we will develop a

general method for detecting referential circularity independent of predicative circularity,

and use it to show that YP is not referentially circular. But before doing so I feel I need

to justify the more specific goal. My worry is that Tennant has already accomplished that

which I have just articulated, and if only we adverted to his method and conclusion, there

would be no need to pursue another way of seeing that YP is not referentially circular. In

response to this concern, I will briefly summarize a relevant part of Tennant's paper and

then say why his method is not suited for the purposes of the present work.

Tennant believes that he's provided a proof-theoretic diagnosis of paradoxicality in

previous work which makes self-reference neither necessary nor sufficient for paradox

(of the liar sort), and sees YP as a test for his account (199). One conclusion he reaches is

that, "[YP's] apparent lack of self-reference ... is reflected, on my account in the non-

looping character of the reduction sequence .. ." (206). Toward the end, he claims that

his method yields a condition for self-reference of liar-type sentences, "I shall make so

bold as to suggest that it is precisely when the non-terminating reduction procedures enter

loops that self-reference is involved [in the paradoxicality of the set of sentences in

question] And when they do not enter loops as with Yablo's example then self-









reference is not involved" (207). Proofs of absurdity in his system from traditional liars

do enter loops and thus are self-referential.

These conclusions can be drawn because appropriate proofs of absurdity are

available. It is the examination of the structure of proofs from different sets of sentences

that allow us to detect self-reference. His paper is concerned specifically with YP, so he

makes use of two "id est" inference rules: first, from TSn infer (Vk>n)-TSk, and, second,

from (Vk>n)-TSk infer TSn (203). Since there is a inference rule for each sentence, the

proof theoretic procedure is dependent upon knowing (truth functional equivalents of) the

truth claims of each sentence of the set.

What we should notice is that this sort of proof theoretic approach to detect

referential circularity seems to require that a set of sentences be predicatively circular.

To show that contradiction results from the supposed truth of any particular sentence,

Tennant's proof of absurdity make use of the precise truth claims of each sentence of the

set. At least in the kind of proofs that Tennant presents, the id est inference rules require

that the absolute (non-relative) truth claims are made by each and every sentence are

available to us. For an infinite set, to know these absolute truth claims, we must have a

recipe for what the sentence of the set are or at least for their absolute truth conditions.

As foreshadowing, I assert that a set of sentences is predicatively circular only if there is

some sort of "recipe" to construct each of the sentences of the set, so a set cannot be

predicatively circular if there is no recipe that tells precisely what a sentence of a

particular index claims. On the face of things, it seems that Tennant's method for

showing circularity depends upon the id est inference rules, or at least on predicatively

circularity. Since we want to show that YP is not referentially circular independently of









its predicative circularity, there is at least prima facie motivation for us to search for

another way to see this. In sum, I agree with Tennant's conclusion and do not want to

point out any mistake in his reasoning11, but rather to suggest that we need a different

method for detecting referential circularity that is not bound quite so closely to the

predicative circularity of a set of sentences.

To begin, recall that all such sets liar-like set that are paradoxical are inferentially

circular. So in any finite set, we can always "start" at some particular sentence (say i)

and by "following" the direct references work our way back to i, so that we see that

sentence i was indirectly self-referential. Intuitively, this is just what referential

circularity comes to. If we could somehow "picture" the referential structure of the

paradox independently whether the set of sentences concerns any circular predicate, and

instead make use only of how each sentences restrictedly quantified over others as an

initial step toward making truth claims about those sentences, and then use a specific

feature of this picture to assess whether the sentences of the paradox were referentially

circular, we would have another way to show that referential circularity was independent

from predicative circularity. This method for detecting referential circularity would not

be so closely bound to any predicate that the set concerns. So in order to show that YP

lacks referential circularity with appeal only to the restricted quantification presented by

each of it is sentences12 (rather than explicit appeal to it is particular predicate that the set


11 There is, however, a problem with Tennant's presentation; when he begins the analysis of YP in terms
of his formal system, he renders generic members of S "formally and uncontroversially as follows: Sn: V
k>n -T(Sk)" (203). Greg Ray points out that Tennant makes a use / mention mistake. "s," is the name of a
sentence of S, so the "n" in the preceding quoted string is a substring a constituent of that name. It does
not make sense to quantify over such a thing. Priest addresses this issue, and I discuss his presentation in
the next chapter.

12 Appeal just to this restricted quantification does not hurt our chances for demonstrating a set of
sentences not constructible from a recipe because, to foreshadow again, the size of the set of lists of










concerns), I develop a graph theoretic test for referential circularity of an arbitrary (finite

or infinite) list of sentences that is a candidate for being a liar-like paradoxical set.

As a preliminary, a bit about directed graphs digraphss). They can be visualized as

geometric figures consisting of vertices (Vi, V2, .) and directed edges (El, E2, .)

which connect pairs of vertices by runningfrom one to the other. Apath through a graph

is a vertex, edge, vertex, edge, edge, vertex sequence such that if"Vi, Ej, Vk" is an

arbitrary portion of the sequence (where possibly, i = k), Ej is an edgefrom Vi to Vk. A

cycle is a path that has the same first and last vertex.

From a set of sentences that is a paradox candidate, we can construct a directed

graph (G) that will have the same number (n) of vertices as the candidate has sentences

(l
sentence refers or quantifies over thejth, kth, ..., /th ... sentences in the truth claims it

makes, draw an edge from Vi to each of Vj, Vk, ... V .. 13 The list of sentences is

graphically circular iff its corresponding directed graph, G, has a cycle.




sentences each of whom restrictedly quantifies over all those who follow it outstrips the size of the set of
lists of sentences that are recursively constructible (alternatively: "concerning a circular predicates"). We
will find one that is a member of the first set and not a member of the second. And then, we will be almost
all the way to finding a referentially circular set of sentences that is not predicatively circular.

13 The intuitive idea is to connect with edges all those vertices which correspond to the sentences of which
the ith sentence restrictedly quantifies over in order to makes truth claims. At first, it may be troubling that
two sets comprising dissimilar sentences may have exactly the same corresponding digraph; two sets of
sentences will have the same corresponding digraph exactly when corresponding sentence (sentences with
the same index) of the respective sets restrictedly quantify over the same sets. For example, consider two
infinite sequences of sentences (S' and S") as candidates for a liar-like paradox. The first comprises only
sentences of the form, "s',: at least two of the following are untrue," and the second comprises only
sentences of the form, "s",: at least forty-eight of the following are untrue." Every sentence of S' and S"
quantifies over all the sentences that come "after it" in S' or S". And so, the digraphs corresponding to each
of the candidates will have the same edge / vertex structure, i.e. Edges from VI to each of V2, V3, V4, .. ,
edges from V2 to each of V3, V4, V5,.. That the corresponding graphs Gs, and Gs,, have exactly the same
structure is not troublesome because, to consider the question most generally, we realize after some
consideration that the truth conditions of s', and s", depend upon any of the sentences of S' or S"
respectively that have index higher that i.









Graphical circularity of a set of sentences guarantees that the corresponding graph

G is "circular" in the sense that we could traverse G (starting and ending at some Vi) if

we were allowed to "step" from one vertex to another iff there was an edge from the

former to the latter. Since the vertex / edge structure of G mimics the truth claim

structure of the corresponding set of sentences at least one of the sentences of the

graphically circular set must be directly or indirectly self-referential. And so I claim that

a set of sentences of a candidate for a liar-like paradox is referentially circular iff the

corresponding graph is graphically circular.14 Of course, it is possible for a set of

sentences to be referentially circular and not form a traditionally paradoxical set (for

example a truth teller). If a detection method for referentially circular paradoxicality is

wanted, it is easily accomplished by considering algorithms for coloring our directed

graph in an appropriate way. I hope that this technique for detecting paradoxes will go

some way toward vindicating our characterization of referentially circular sentences in

terms of corresponding graphically circular graphs. We provide a formal method for so

deciding when a candidate forms a paradox in Appendix A.

As expected, the set of sentences that constitute YP turn out not referentially

circular on our characterization. If we form the associated graph and call it Gyp, notice

that for each i, all the edges from Vi (edges which mimic the truth claims of the ith

sentence) go to only vertices with index greater than i, so it is impossible for Gyp to

contain a cycle and so impossible for it to be graphically circular.


14 Something else to notice is that if we require that a sentence from language L1 can make truth claims
about a sentence from L2 iff L is a metalanguage for L2, then sets of sentences whose corresponding graphs
are circular are disallowed. If the 1st sentence claims something about the truth of the 2nd sentence, the 2nd
about the 3rd, then if we're observing the metalanguage / object language distinction, no sentence is
allowed to make truth claims of a sentence whose number is less than the number of the former. It is just
this (forbidden) kind of structure that allowed for circular digraphs.














CHAPTER 2
TO CONCERN A CIRCULAR PREDICATE IS TO BE RECURSIVELY
CONSTRUCTIBLE

I have argued that a simple-minded graph theoretic technique shows us that YP is

not referentially circular, and so have endorsed a claim made by Priest. I turn now to his

assertion that YP is in some sense circular because it concerns a predicate with circular

satisfaction conditions (in my terminology predicatively circular). I think the intuition is

right YP does in some sense concern a predicate with circular satisfaction conditions. I

also think that this is not an essential feature of Yablo-type paradoxes, but to see this we

must first get clear about Priest's argument.

2.1 Graham Priest's Argument Considered More Carefully

Recall that the sentences of S clearly form a paradox in the sense that they have no

stable assignment of truth-values, and we can see this because we can run through the

reasoning like that presented in 1.1. Graham Priest maintains that YP involves self-

reference, but is not referentially circular.

Formalizing the sentences with a truth predicate, T, we have that for all natural
numbers, n, sn is the sentence Vk > n, -Tsk. Note that each sentence refers to
(quantifies over) only sentences later in the sequence. No sentence, therefore,
refers to itself, even in an indirect, loop-like, fashion (237).

He goes on to argue that YP concerns a circular predicate. He begins by proposing

a formalization of the reasoning to contradiction from an arbitrary sentence of S,



1. Tsn < (Vk > n), -Tsk
2. : T Tsn+1
3. Tsn < (Vk > n), -Tsk









4. (Vk> n+1), Tsk
5. > Tsn+1
6. X (from (2) and (5))
7. -> Tsn
8. > (Vk) -Tsk
9. (Vk > 0) Tsk
10. Tso
11. X (from (8) and (10)).


Where (8) must be justified by something akin to universal generalization for Priest's

semi-formal scheme, since the "n" of the previous lines was arbitrary.

The observation is that since we generalize away the "n" in step (8) it must play the

role of a variable in the above treatment. In that case, "sn+1" cannot be the name of a

sentence. Rather, Priest says, "s" must be understood as a name of a predicate which

applies to natural numbers. But in that case, we cannot just apply the truth predicate to

occurrences of, e.g., "sn+'". We have to make use of the two-place satisfaction (SAT)

relation between numbers and predicates, and s, a one-place predicate of the natural

numbers, and rewrite as follows.1



12. SAT(n, S) <:> (Vk > n), -SAT(k, S)
13. > -SAT(n+l, S)
14. SAT(n, S) <:> (Vk > n), -SAT(k, S)
15. (Vk > n+l), -SAT(k, S)
16. SAT(n+l, S)
17. X (from (13) and (16))
18. -,SAT(n, S)
19. > (Vk)-SAT(k, S)
20. (Vk > 0)-SAT(k, S)
21. SAT(0, S)
22. X (from (19) and (21))

1 Priest does not carry out the following derivation but merely suggests what it might look like.












Priest's assessment of the situation is a little hard to follow2, but we can see that the

original formulation began (1) with premise stating the truth conditions of an arbitrary

sentence of S. The second formulation starts with a statement of the satisfaction

conditions of the predicate S. We see from (12) plainly that the predicate has circular

satisfaction conditions.

I think that something in Priest's claim rings true. In his terms, predicate s has a

fixed point, and if his treatment succeeds in capturing what turns the trick in YP, then

there is a sort of circularity involved. One difficulty, however, is to see from his

presentation precisely what role he thinks predicate s plays in YP. What does it mean for

a set of sentences to "concern" a circular predicate? Priest claims to have uncovered and

made explicit the logical form of the sentences of the Yablo sequence, and, in so doing,

he's shown that each of these logical equivalents refer to the predicate s. So the natural

understanding of "concern" is that each sentence of the set mentions that predicate. The

set is predicatively circular because the predicate so referenced has circular satisfaction

conditions.3






2 Priest claims on 237 that "the fact that s = '(Vk > x)( SAT(k, s))' shows that we have a fixed point, s,
here of exactly the same self-referential kind as in the liar paradox. In a nutshell, s is the predicate 'no
number greater than x satisfies this predicate'. The circularity is now manifest." Professor Ray points out
that it is a bit misleading to claim that s is '(Vk > x)(-SAT(k, s))' because s could be any predicate which
had the same satisfaction conditions.

3 It might also be argued that each sentence of the Yablo sequence uses the predicate s, and that a set is
predicatively circularity if each member uses a predicate with circular satisfaction conditions. In this case,
there are arguments exactly parallel to the one in chapter 3 aimed to show that there is a paradoxical
sequence that is not predicatively circular.









2.2 A Different Formal Treatment of YP and Other Similar Sets of Sentences

We're aiming to show that there is a set of sentences that is paradoxical but which

is not predicatively circular. To do this, we will try to show that there is a class of

sentences for which there can be no recipe we cannot tell precisely what the truth

conditions for an arbitrary sentence are but which is clearly paradoxical. If we can

show that there is such a class, then we can reason that Priest won't be in a position to

assert that each sentence of any member of this class must reference a predicate with

circular satisfaction conditions. There are some sentence sets that are paradoxical that

needn't be predicatively circular. At first glance, our task may seem impossible: if a set

of sentences is not predicatively circular, we cannot know the truth conditions of an

arbitrary member of the set. How are we to know that the sequence is paradoxical? The

only method we have seen so far for determining paradox is the sort of reasoning in

sentences (12)-(22). That treatment made use of a predicate that was mentioned by each

sentence of a particular list to give truth conditions in terms of the truth or untruth of each

of the subsequent sentences. In this section, we will argue that we can characterize a list

of sentences without appeal to a single, certain circular predicate that is mentioned by

sentences. If certain restrictions can be placed on the truth conditions set forth by an

arbitrary sentence of the set, perhaps only relative to the truth conditions of another

sentence, then it is possible to argue that the set forms a paradox without reasoning that

makes use of precisely specified truth conditions for an arbitrary sentence. The

motivation behind this technique should become clear as we develop the method in the

next few pages.

Recall that s,, the ith sentence of S, is "For all k > i, sk is untrue." If we let 0 go

proxy for "untrue", 1 for "true", and in some loose way (to be made clear) associate the









output of a function from a subset of the natural numbers to {0,1 at a particular value, n,

with the truth claim made about sentence with index n, by a the sentence corresponding

to this function, then for each i,f imitates s,, where for each i,J has domain {y: y > i} and

for all n > i,f(n) = 0. Briefly, just as YP's ith sentence claims that each of the succeeding

sentences is untrue, each is zero over its whole domain (natural numbers greater than i).

Working with these sort of "imitators" is the first step toward our more general

characterization of Yabloesque liars.

To capture more of what was at work in YP, recall that the first part of its bite came

from the fact that, for instance so and sl made exactly the same truth claims about each

sentence whose index was greater than 1, so if the first were true then we could reason

that the second would have to be true also, but the first claimed the second was untrue,

so, on pain of contradiction, the first must have been untrue after all. Similar reasoning

could be repeated for any of the sentences of S. The second part of the bite was that one

of S had to be true, otherwise, since what (say) so claims to be the case would in fact be

the case, and so would have been true after all. Another way in which inconsistency

might occur in an ordered list sentences which only make truth claims about each other is

if sentence x claims that both sentences and z are true, buty claims that z is untrue.4 Of

course, the last was not a feature of the sentences of YP. With this in mind, we can create

a model of infinite sets of sentences each of which makes only truth claims about those of

greater index, for which there is a formal analog of paradoxicality.


4 There are more ways in which the truth of one of such a list of sentences could lead to inconsistency. For
instance, if sentence with index 6 (call it "s'") claimed that s7 was true and that s9 was untrue, that s7
claimed that s8 was true and s8 claimed that s9 was true. I do not consider this sort of pathology because the
aim is to show that if we have a set of sentences which spawn inconsistency only by the two ways
mentioned, then the paradoxical sets "outstrip" those which concern a circular predicate. To do this it will
be enough to consider the two kinds of pathology just mentioned.









The type of functions we need for this task will be doubly indexed with subscripts

and collected into sets with an order induced by their subscripts. I will call the ordered

sets into which our functions are gathered "families"5 from now on for convenience. The

constituent functions themselves, like (23) above, are supposed to imitate the ordered,

infinite member sentences of a candidate for a liar-like paradox and each family will

represent a single candidate for paradox. For example, if such a family is D1 = {dil, d,2,

d,3 ... }, then d1,n has as domain the natural numbers greater than n and as range {0, 1}.

The domains of the members of a family are so constrained because the sets of English

sentences to be based on these families have a corresponding constraint each member

of the sort of sets we will be considering makes claims only of sentences of greater index.

In other words, the sets under consideration are not referentially circular. Recall that the

members of the range will be proxies for "true" (1) and "untrue" (0). Call a member

function, d,;, nullish iffdf for all x in its domain, dl,,(x) = 0. Call a member function, d;,,

semi-nullish iffdf for some x > i, for all y > x, dl,(y) = 0. Say that member function, d1,,

triangulates member function d,j (j > i) iffdf there is some x >j such that di,(j) = 1, and

di,,(x) di,j(x).

A family of such functions, D1, is Riff each of the member functions {d1,1, di,, dL3 .

S} is recursive and is Piff the family contains an infinite number of nullish member

functions, and for each member function which is not nullish either it is semi-nullish or it






5 One might be concerned that "family" is a poor choice of terminology for what are essentially ordered
lists of functions. I think "family" is a better, more descriptive term that is appropriate because an order is
induced on a family by the fact that each of its members has a different domain a function whose domain
is a subset of another can be said to follow the latter in order in which functions are collected into families.










triangulates some other member function. Call a family R-P if it is both Rand P.6 In

these terms, a family each of whose members is nullish imitates YP, and such a list is R-P.

Lemma 2.1: Each member of an Rfamily expresses a set that can be used to
provide the truth conditions for a sentence of an infinite liar-like set of sentences.

Proof of Lemma 2.1: Since each member is recursive, the set of ordered pairs that
is the graph of that function is recursive and so is the set of ordered pairs that
results if, in that graph, we replace each natural number n in the first position of
each ordered pair with "sentence with index n" and replace each 0 in the second
position of each ordered pair with "is untrue" and replace each 1 in the second
position of each ordered pair with "is true." The set resulting from these
substitutions is exactly the kind suitable for giving the truth conditions for one of
an infinite set of liar-like sentences. Since the member functions of an Rfamily are
recursive, they can be expressed by sentences in the language of arithmetic, and
sentences of the language of arithmetic can be translated into English sentences.

Claim 2.2: With each R-P family there can be associated an infinite set of English
sentences that forms a paradox.

Proof of Claim 2.2: From lemma 2.1, we see that each member of an R-P family can
be translated into an English sentence that gives the truth conditions for a sentence
of an infinite liar-like set. So if, for each i, we translate the ith member function


6 Intuitively, there must be some sort of restriction on the functions that are the members of a family
because we want those functions to correspond to (and so be translatable into) English sentences. So the
member functions of a family should at least be restricted to the class of recursively enumerable functions
because, roughly, those functions are specifiable with a finite string of characters. So, such functions could
be translated into a finite sequence of English words. On the other hand, it might be a bit more realistic to
either take the range of each d, to be {0,1,2} corresponding to untrue, true and neither true nor untrue
(meaning that the if sentence makes no claim about thej] sentence if d,(Q) = 2) or require that each d, be
only recursively enumerable rather than recursive. In the later case, the domain of each d, would not be
necessarily all of the natural numbers greater than i, we could say that d, is defined atj iff ith sentence
makes a truth claims of thejth sentence. Or finally, we could say that each d, was only r.e. and that the
range of the each d, was {0,1,2}. I believe the non predicatively circular paradox I try to demonstrate in the
sequel and the method I use to construct it would go through, with slight modifications, with these
strengthened models. But more importantly for my argument, I consider a non predicatively circular
paradox by trying to show that the number of --P families (a subset of each of the other families canvased
in this footnote) is uncountable. It follows that the whole set of families considered here is uncountable and
so a non predicatively circular paradox would exist among the extended set of families.

A related worry is that I have given only sufficient conditions for paradoxes of this sort. There are
sets of sentences that do not correspond to an --p list but are in fact paradoxical. We will see an example
in the conclusion. I do not think I have to address this issue in my argument because I'm trying to show
that there is non predicatively circular paradox even if we restrict our attention to a single kind ofsentences
which might make up a list of sentences of a semantic, liar-like paradox, so of course it follows that there
will be a non-circular paradox if we consider more the exotic kinds of sentences of which these paradoxes
could be comprised.






22


into an English sentence that gives these truth conditions (which is the sentence
with index i), we will have an infinite liar-like set of sentences. This set is
paradoxical because there is no truth valuation for each of its sentences. To see
this, note first that none of the sentences that correspond to semi-nullish member
functions can be true without contradiction by Yabloesque reasoning. The only
remaining sentences to consider are those which correspond to the triangulating
member functions. None of these can be true without contradiction because if the
sentence with (say) index i, were true, then for somej (> i) and k (>j) the sentences
with indicesj and k would both be true, but if the sentence with index were true
then the sentence with index k would be untrue, a contradiction. Each of the
sentences of the set cannot be untrue, because, again by Yabloesque reasoning, if dn
is a nullish member, the sentence with index n would be true. There is no truth
valuation for this set. 0













CHAPTER 3
THERE IS A PARADOXICAL SET OF SENTENCES THAT DOES NOT CONCERN
A CIRCULAR PREDICATE

Priest claims that the "situation involved in Yablo's paradox, however formulated,

is intrinsically circular, in exactly the same way that those involved in more familiar

paradoxes of the family are." (Priest, 240) In this chapter, we take the final steps in

showing that there is a liar-like paradox that is not predicatively circular. The paradox is

unfamiliar and must remain so because it avoids Priest's intrinsic circularity charge by

having a structure that is, roughly speaking, not recursive. This rough characterization

will be made precise shortly; we will use the machinery we have set up in the previous

section.

3.1 Technical Preliminaries and Presentation

Our plan is to show that there is a set of sentences that is paradoxical but not

predicatively circular. I argued in the last chapter that any such set of sentences could

equivalently be characterized as constructible from a recipe. If for every infinite set of

sentences that were paradoxical, there were a method to construct the members of that

set, and we help ourselves to Church's Thesis the claim that for every algorithm or

recipe there is a corresponding recursive function we could claim of an arbitrary family,

Da, there is recursive function (fa) such thatfa somehow encodes Da. Since Da is itself

essentially a list of functions, one way thatfa could encode Da is by encoding it is

member functions: for each natural number n,f(n) = (where "" is natural

number code, in an appropriate godel coding, of the function d,,). Given this encoding









of Da, we could characterize the entire set of paradoxical infinite sets of sentences with a

set of recursive functions. To spell out more thoroughly the present suggestion, say that

for any R-P family, Da, if is a godel code of d,, (the ith member of Da), then there

is a recursive function,fa, such that for each i,fa(i) = . In this schemefa can be said

to be the recursive description of R-P family Da. And so there is a set, F, of recursive

functions that includes an encoding function for each R-Pfamily. Since the set of

recursive functions is countable1, and F is a subset of this set, F is countable. Our

assumption is that each member ofF encodes an R-P family, and there is one member of

F for each R-P family, so the set of R-P families must be countable. So to show that there

is a family that is R-Pthat is not specified by a recursive function2, it suffices to show that

the set of lists that are R-Pis not countable. That's what we turn to next.

Lemma 3.1: For any n, if {D1, D2, D, Dn} is a partial list of the R-P families,
then there is a partial list, {D1, D, Ds,, D, n, Dn+ }, of the -P families such that
the n+1st member of Dn+ is not nullish.

Proof of Lemma 3.1: Consider a set (D) of families each of whose members are
nullish except the n+1st. Each of D is R-Pbecause the n+1st member must be either
a triangulator or semi-nullish, and D is infinite (because there are infinitely many
appropriate triangulators). For any n, if D, D2, ... D, is a partial list of the R-P
families, then we can form the partial list {D1, D2, D,, Dn+ by letting Dn+
be a member of D. We are guaranteed that there is such a family because the first
partial list is finite. E

Claim (3.1) The set of R-Plists is uncountable.

Proof of Claim (3.1): Assume otherwise for contradiction. Since the set of R-P
families is countable and because of lemma 3.1, we can assume that they can be
listed D1, D2, ... so that for each m, D2m is a family such that it is 2mth member is
not nullish. We will demonstrate D* = {d*l, d*2, d*3, } an R-Pfamily that is


1 Because every recursive function can be paired with the appropriate Turing Machine, each of which can
be uniquely encoded by an natural number.
2 1 will call this sort a "non-recursive R-P family".









not among the proposed list. For even n, let d*n be nullish, and for odd n, if dn,
(the nth member function of the nth family of our proposed countable set) is nullish,
let d*n(n + 1) = 1 and for all x > n + 1 let d*n(x) = 0, otherwise let d*n be nullish.
D* is R-Pbecause there are an infinite number of nullish members, and every
member is semi-nullish. D* is not one of D, D2, ... because for all n, d*n: dn.
Contradiction, the set of R-Pfamily is not countable. U

Corollary 1: There are uncountably many infinite sets of English sentences that
form liar-like paradoxes.

Corollary 2: There is an infinite set of English sentences that form a semantic, liar-
like paradox that is not underwritten by a circular predicate.

Corollary 1 follows by reasoning similar to that of the proofs of Lemma 2.1 and

Claim 2.2. Corollary 2 follows by corollary 1 and the reasoning presented just before

Lemma 3.1.

To point towards a Yabloesque paradox that does not concern a circular predicate

(because it is not recursively constructible), we can gesture toward what D* might look

like were a corresponding list of English sentences given in the manner of Claim 2.2.

The paradox is an infinite list of indexed sentences {So, sl, such that,

(ifn is even) Sn is "For k > n, sk is untrue."

(ifm is odd) Sm is "For k > m, sk is untrue." (OR) "s,m+ is true, and for k > m + 1, sk
is untrue."

3.2 Is The Foregoing Really Not Predicatively Circular?

With the hint of the set of sentences based on D* in mind, we now argue that the

class of Yabloesque sequences which are not recursive are not predicatively circular. Our

strategy is the following. I will present an informal argument that there is no truth

valuation for the set of sentences based on D*, then I will try to mimic Priest's method to

show that this set concerns a circular predicate. I hope we will see that it is not the case

that there must be such a predicate.

Argument that sentence set based on non-recursive R-P list D* is paradoxical.










A. For arbitrary n, sentence with index n claims either that every sentence with index
greater than n is untrue, or, that sentence with index n + 1 is true and each sentence
with index greater than n + 1 is untrue.

B. For an even > n + 1 sentence with indexp claims that every sentence with index
greater thanp is untrue.

C. Sentence n cannot be true. If it were, then sentence p would be untrue, but every
sentence with index greater than p would also be untrue. This exactly what
sentence p claims, so sentence p would be true after all.

D. Index n was arbitrary so similar reasoning could be used to show that contradiction
followed from the truth of any sentence of the set.

E. It cannot be that each of the sentences of the set is untrue, because in that case,
since there is a sentence (let it is index be s) that claims that every sentence of
higher index is untrue, and by hypothesis each of the these sentences would be
untrue, sentence s would be true.

F. (Conclusion): the set is paradoxical.



First notice that in this argument (a similar argument could be run for any non-

recursive sequence that met the R-P condition), names of particular sentence never occur;

only statements about the truth conditions of arbitrary sentences. Nevertheless, we can

try, as Priest does, to "uncover" the logical form of the sentences. Instead of trying to

formalize the argument with something similar to (1)-(11), let us note that were we to do

that, we would have to do something like quantify over the "n" of string such as "sn", and

so we would reason, as Priest has, that this "n" must have been playing the role of

variable. So I will skip straight to an attempt at carrying out Priest's method for

discovering the circular predicate that is concerned by the set of sentences.



23. SAT(s, n) -> (k > n + 1) SAT(s, k) (from (A))
24. for an even > n + 1, SAT(s, p) <:> (k > p)-SAT(s, k) (from (B))
25. SAT(s, n) > -SAT(s, p) (from (23))









26. SAT(s, n) :> (k > p) SAT(s, p) (from (23))
27. SAT(s, p) (from (24) and (26))
28. -SAT(s, n) (from (25) and (27))
29. (n)-SAT(s, n) (gen. based on (23)-(28))
30. (k > p) SAT(s, k) (reasoning about "for all")
31. SAT(s, p) (from (24) and (30))
32. X ((29) and (31))


Now the most we can say about this supposedly concerned predicate is that its

satisfaction conditions can be represented as:



33. SAT(s, n) <> (k > n)-SAT(s, k) iffn is even
34. SAT(s, n) (k > n + 1)-SAT(s, k) iffn is odd

There couldbe a predicate here of whose satisfaction conditions we can assert (33) and

(34), but we cannot give necessary and sufficient satisfaction conditions for it, because of

the way that a non-recursive R-P list was defined. So by Priest's lights, we cannot assert

that the set concerns any specific predicate because, according to his presentation it

seems that we must know the necessary and sufficient satisfaction conditions (or at least

logical equivalents) to determine that a circular predicate is concerned by the set in

question. In the present case, we do not know what the predicate is, and so our claim that

whatever it is it must be concerned seems arbitrary.

Perhaps we should a different argument to the effect that there are two predicates

(one corresponding to the nullish member functions and one corresponding to the semi-

nullish member functions) one of which must be concerned by every member of the

sentence set. A first try using two predicates might be the following.


35. SAT(s, n) iff (k > n) SAT(s, k) and









36. SAT(s*, n) iff SAT(s*, n + 1) & (k > n + 1)-SAT(s*, k)


This approach won't work because the sentences were meant to quantify over each

of those that followed. In the case of (35) and (36), it seems that sentences which

concern s, for instance, do not refer to those which refer to s*. Perhaps there is another

work around to make the predicate disjunctive in the following sort of way.



37. SAT(s,n) iff (k>n) SAT(s,k) or SAT(s,n+l)&(k>n+l)-SAT(s,k)


This approach does not work either because we need s to have the non-disjunctive

satisfaction condition (for at least some natural numbers) "SAT(s, n) iff (k > n) SAT(s,

k)" for step (24) of the reasoning presented in (23)-(32) to go through.3 The possibility of

a "closed form" presentation of the satisfaction conditions of predicate s is not available

because the nature of the R-P family on which this sentence set is based.4 Perhaps, as a

final attempt, we could claim that, in principle, there exist sentences that give the

satisfaction conditions of s in the form of an infinite (non-recursive) list such as the

following:



38. SAT(s, 0) iff (k > 0)-SAT(s, k)


3 Any hope for the the sort of predicate whose satisfaction conditions are given by (43) is lost because each
family can include triangulating member functions. In any one R-P family there can be infinitely
triangulating member functions such that (if we think about functions set theoretically) no triangulator
function is a subset of another. In that case, there is no hope for a closed form satisfaction condition for the
predicate such a family might concerned.

4 That is, we could not list such satisfaction conditions in a sort of closed form way because (first) there
could be an -(plist that contained an infinite number of different triangulators as in the previous footnote,
and (second) D* is non-recursive.









39. SAT (s, 1) iff SAT(s, 2) & (k > 2)-SAT(s, k)
40. SAT (s, 2) iff (k > 2)-SAT(s, k)
41. SAT (s, 3)iff(k> 3)-SAT(s,k)
42 .


Though this sort of list might give satisfaction conditions of a predicate which could be

mentioned by each sentence of the set based on D*, it is important to recall that the

construction of D* showed that there were an uncountably many non-recursive

Yabloesque sequences which were paradoxical. We can reason that each of these

sequences form a paradox in a manner similar to (A)-(F). Any attempt to uncover the

logical form of these sentences a la Priest must rest on the assumption that the sentences

of this sequence have a specific form (i.e. include names of the sentences that follow).

But that such sentences have this form is left underdetermined by the argument we have

presented, as names for specific sentences do not appear in it. So the assertion that each

sentence refers to a single predicate is only hypothesis it cannot be shown that each of

the sentences of a member of this class must make reference to a single predicate with

circular satisfaction conditions. As a matter of fact, we can stipulate that there is a

sequence based on a non-recursive R-P family each sentence of which refers to a different

predicate, as reasoning similar to that presented in (A)-(F) will go for such a sequence.

So in the case of a sequence based on a arbitrary non-recursive R-P family, we have, so

far, no reason to claim that the set is predicatively circular. Indeed, we have evidence

that there are such sequences that are not predicatively circular.

Finally we should consider whether the R-P condition itself could be the thing

concerned by a liar-like set of sentences which is based on an -P family. The answer

seems to be no. A liar-like set of sentences could not concern a predicate (if any there









be) that described generally the properties of an R-Plist if we were to be able both to

reason to a contradiction and if the sentences were to make only truth claims of each

other, because the truth conditions of sentences that concerned that sort of predicate

would not be the truth or untruth of other sentences of the set, but would rather be the

truth conditions of their successors. This is the case because the R-P condition was meant

to constrain the truth conditions of a given sentence relative to the truth conditions of

other sentences rather than specifying the truth conditions of particular sentences

outright. It is not obvious that a set of sentences that concerned the predicate formulation

of the R-P condition could constitute a liar paradox.5

3.3 A Paradox That Is Referentially Circular But Not Predicatively Circular

One concern of the dialectic is the general concern over whether circularity is

necessary for paradox. I have tried to show that there are infinite liar-like paradoxes that

are not referentially circular that are also not predicatively circular. One last question

may be whether the two types of circularity are independent of each other. We could

answer this question affirmatively if we could show that there is a paradoxical infinite set

of sentences that is referentially circular and not predicatively circular. To show that

notice that if we change the sentence s2 of the paradox based on D* from "For k > 2, Sk is

untrue." To "For k > 2, Sk is untrue, and sl is untrue." Now the corresponding digraph has

a cycle, and the set is referentially circular.








5 Each sentence would not claim truth or untruth of it is companions, but would make claims about their
truth conditions sentences of this sort are not the appropriate kind for liar-like paradoxes.









Finally, we may also notice now that sets of sentences which are either referentially

circular or predicatively circular, both or neither can fail to form paradoxes.6 It seems

that even though inferential circularity is required, paradox is independent from the

referential and predicative circularity we have discussed in the preceding.

3.4 Conclusion

We tried to show in the third section of the first chapter that every liar-like paradox

must be inferentially circular, that is, each sentence of must bear certain logical

relationships to the other sentences. Because we have restricted our discussion to liar-

like paradoxes, we know that these logical relations must be borne in virtue of a

sentence's making truth claims about other sentences of the paradox. Sentences which

bear the appropriate relations may be generated by a paradox with a referentially circular

structure, which means that a sentence of the set refers indirectly to itself, by means of its

truth claims and the attributions made by sentences of which it makes truth claims.

Given that the "punch" of liar-like paradoxes is not a result of vagueness or other

vagaries of natural language, there exists a graph theoretic tool to detect referential

circularity and another to detect paradoxicality of referentially circular sets of sentences.

I believe that so separating the search for indirect self-reference and the conditions under

which a set of sentences forms a paradox is generally more informative than a proof

theoretic method like Tennant's. Sets of sentences which make only truth claims about

each other might be paradoxical without being referentially circular and vice versa.

6 Examples of non paradoxical sets of sentences that are (1) predicative, non-referential: a set like Yablo's
except substitute "true" for "untrue"; (2) referential, non-predicative: a set of sentences based on a non-
recursive Rfamily that contains only one semi-nullish member function (which is also nullish) and that is
slightly modified such that its graph has a cycle; (3) both: a set exactly like the predicative, non-referential
set above except that one sentence is modified such that the graph has a cycle; (4) neither: a set of
sentences based on the non-recursive Rlist above in (2) without the modification that caused the cycle in
the graph.









It turns out on the present suggestion that YP is not referentially circular, but is, as

Priest argues predicatively circular. The process of assessing the methods of Priest's

argument that YP is underwritten by a circular predicate helps us see that if a set of

sentences is predicatively circular, that set of sentences must be constructible from a

recipe. Since we can imagine what's minimally required for a set of sentences to lack an

assignment of truth-values, we can formalize with families of recursive functions the

behavior of a subset of infinite liar-like paradoxes. Once we have seen how this might

come off, it is a short step to showing that there must be a non-recursive list of functions

which meets the formal requirements for paradox because such families form an

uncountable set. One result of the whole adventure is that we can provide the sketch of a

paradox the sentences of which is not predicatively circular. And so it does not seem that

predicative circularity is a necessary feature of liar-like paradoxes.

It might be thought we could go further and offer an analysis of paradoxicality in

the context of infinite sets of the sentences with just a bit more development of the notion

of R-P families. But I think we will see that it would take significantly more work to

come up with necessary and sufficient conditions for such paradoxicality. To see this,

consider an infinite list of sentences indicated by the following schema:



43. sn: -(3x > n)(Vy > x) sy is true.


Another rendition of this sentence might be "sn: 'infinitely many sentences of index

greater than n are untrue.'" This list of sentences forms a paradox: if so is true then for

every m > 0 Sm is true because there are always an infinite number of sentences with

index greater than m which are untrue, but in this case so must be untrue, there being no









untrue sentences that follow it. On the other hand if so is untrue then there are only

finitely many sentences with higher index that are untrue, but this situation leads to

contradiction because there must be some > 0 such that sp is true, but this is the case

only if infinitely many of the sentences that follow sp are untrue, in which case so would

have been true after all. Similar reasoning holds for sentences with arbitrary index.

This set of sentences is paradoxical but is not captured by the R-P family

characterization. What has gone wrong? Even though this set of sentences is

predicatively circular, the sentences do not recursively describe a single set of truth-

values for the subsequent sentences (as did each member of an R-P family formally as a

function from a subset of the natural numbers to {0,1 }), rather the sentences describe sets

of truth-values for all subsequent sentences. To illustrate, (43) describes sets of truth-

values for all subsequent sentences in which there are infinitely many untrue sentences.

Part of the "bite" comes from the fact that for any natural numbers n and m, the

intersection of the sets described by nth and mth sentences of such a set is non-empty and

so ifn = 0, and the first sentence is true then for any natural number the mth must be true.

All the subsequent sentences must be true, but each claims that infinitely many of the

following are untrue. A general characterization of this sort of phenomenon might be

available something, for example, that made more explicit use of set theory but that

project exceeds the scope of what we would set out to do here.

Finally, a few last points about the possibility of formal results available from

paradoxes comprising infinite sets of liar-like sentences. If the demonstrations offered in

the appendices are successful, the result is that using the notion of R-P families we can

prove both an undefinability theorem similar to Theorem 1 of Mostowski, Robinson and









Tarski (1953)7 and an incompleteness theorem similar to that given by Smullyan (1992).8

Theorem 1 of the former work shows that if formal system Tis to be consistent then the

set V of all and only those numbers which are godel codes of valid sentences in T and

diagonal function D9 cannot both be definable. Appendix B shows that there is a set Y

defined with the help of predicate that simulates an R-P family that cannot be definable

along with Vif the formal system in which they're defined is to be consistent. Appendix

C shows that for certain systems in which an R-Plist can be defined, there is a godel

numbering for the expressions of that language relative to which there are infinitely many

undecidable sentences for that system. It is interesting to note that both of these results to

nothing to lower the standard that's required for the existence of an undefinable set

within a system or an undecidable sentence. In each case, undefinable sets and

undecidable sentences would already be features of systems which were powerful enough

to define R-P families, i.e. systems that were capable of defining recursive sets. Another

point of interest is that the non-recursive R-P families we labored so long to demonstrate

cannot be used in either formal result. Both appendices require that the R-P family in

question be recursive, otherwise in the case of Appendix B we could not speak of "",

and in the case of Appendix C we could not recover the sequence of godel codes of so, si,

s2, .... So it is unclear whether any additional technical result is available from the

existence of non-recursive -P families




SFor all references to Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski see (Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski 1953)

8 For all references to Smullyan see (Smullyan 1992).

9 "Dn is the number correlated with the expression which is obtained from En by replacing everywhere the
variable u by the term An." (46) For example, if, for one place predicate H, = n, then Dn = .














APPENDIX A
USING DIGRAPHS TO DETERMINE WHEN A SET OF SENTENCES FORMS A
PARADOX

We give a method for determining a sufficient condition for whether a set of

referentially circular sentences forms a paradox using A, an algorithm which colors in

stages (nondeterministically) the vertices of G with color1 and color2.

A {

Let x, y be a variables ranging over the natural numbers. Let Tbe a variable
ranging over sets. Set T 0. Choose i to be the least index of the vertices of G.
Set x <- i. Assign Vx either color1 or color2.

While there is some vertex Vj such that j T {

If Vx is color1, consider which assignment of truth values to all and only the
sentences whose corresponding vertices share edgesfrom Vx will make sentence i
true (these sentences must be all and only those sentences to which sentence i
directly refers by construction of G), color (nondeterministically) vertices of this
set with color1 whose corresponding sentences must be true in order for sentence i
to be true, color vertices of this set with color2 whose corresponding sentences must
be untrue in order for sentence i to be true. All the vertices that share edges from
Vx may not be colored.

If Vx is color2, consider which assignment of truth values to all and only the
sentences whose corresponding vertices share edgesfrom Vx will make sentence i
untrue, color (nondeterministically) the vertices of this set with color1 whose
corresponding sentences must be true in order for sentence i to be untrue, color the
vertices of this set with color2 whose corresponding sentences must be untrue in
order for sentence i to be untrue. All the vertices that share edges from Vx may not
be colored.

Choose one of the vertices, say Vy, just colored. If x y, set T<- Tu {x} (the
color of Vx is "fixed" iffx e T). Set x y. }

}

Claim A. 1: A graphically circular set of sentences is paradoxical if the
corresponding graph has no "stable coloring" in the following sense. For any









execution of A on the corresponding previously uncolored graph G, either there are
colored vertices Vi and Vj such that i e Tbutj V T(that is Vi has been assigned
color1 colorr) at some previous stage and Vj has just been assigned a color and that
color hasn't been fixed), there is an edge from Vj to Vi and A assigns Vi color2
colorsn) or the color of a vertex which cannot be fixed alternates endlessly on the
execution of A.

Proof of Claim A. 1: Assume otherwise for contradiction: that there is a set, R, of
sentences which is not paradoxical but whose corresponding graph G contains a
cycle, yet has no stable coloring. If a set of sentences each of which only makes
truth claims of the others is not paradoxical then there is an assignment of "true"
and "false" to those sentences that does not lead to contradiction. For each x, if
vertex Vx is a vertex of G, and if Vx were colored with color1 just in case the xth
sentence of R were true and with color2 just in case the xth sentence of R were
untrue, then this coloring would be stable in terms of A, in contradiction to the
original assumption. 0


1 A vertex cannot be fixed in case the corresponding sentence is directly self-referential.














APPENDIX B
AN UNDEFINABILITY THEOREM

In our development, we're far from that which is usually considered a semantic

paradox. I want to suggest that what we're doing is not so strange in light of how

traditional liar sentences can be used in the study of formal systems. Mostowski,

Robinson and Tarski's (Mostowski, Robinson and Tarski 1953) Theorem 1 shows that

any formalized theory (call it T) in which both V (the predicate applying to codes of valid

sentences) and function D (a diagonal function) are definable must be inconsistent. We

will demonstrate here that there is a formula with one free variable which defines a set of

natural numbers Y such that V and Y are not both definable if the theory T of the formal

system in which they're to be defined is consistent. Let y, be a formula of the language

of theory Twith one free variable. Now, let Ybe a predicate of natural numbers such that

e Yjust in case for all p > m, <\a(p)> e Y ifd,m(p) = 1 and <\a(p)> v Yif

da,m(p) = 0.

Claim A.2: If Tis consistent, then Yand Vare not both definable.

Proof of Claim A.2: Suppose for contradiction that there is some predicate Y so
defined by j, and predicate V such that n e Viff the sentence of T whose godel
code is n is valid. If e Yis valid, we see that it must be the case that, by
construction of Da, that for some m > 0, we can infer that e Yand
V Y, a clear contradiction. If, on the other hand, none of Y(0), Y(1), Y(2),
... are valid, then since there is some m such that d,,m is nullish and <(Vx)(- Y(x))>
is in V, we have warrant to infer e Y, but in this case, )> e
V, and so we can infer <(Vx)(- Y(x))> is not in V, in contradiction to our
assumption. Y and V cannot both be definable. 0














APPENDIX C
AN SMULLYAN STYLE INCOMPLETENESS THEOREM

Using an R-P family Da, we can generate an incompleteness result. Let L be a

language similar to the one developed by Smullyan (1992, chp. 1-4). Following

Smullyan, if there is an arithmetically definable proof procedure based on some axiom

schemas and rule of inference, then we can speak of a one place predicate Px which

defines proofs is satisfied by all and only the godel numbers (for any suitable numbering)

of the sentences of L which are provable according to this procedure. If the negation of

sentence is provable then the negatum is refutable. If the system determined by the

language and the proof procedure is consistent, then no sentence is provable and

refutable. IfPx satisfies the following two additional conditions then we can get a kind

of incompleteness result: (1) if P(), then P(x), and (2) for metalinguistic variables

a, P and 6, if P(<6>) and 6 = F( & 1)1 then P() and P(<3>), and if P(<6>) and 6 =

FUl, then -P(
). First, We can draw attention to an infinite set of sentences (denoted

metalinguistically for convenience as) so, sj, s2, .. ofL which have the following

distinction. For each, and a recursive R- family Da,1 let s, be the shortest sentence ofL

containing the symbols "P', numerals for odd numbers greater than, the symbols

required to describe recursive functions and the usual first order logic connectives such

that it is logically equivalent to (s, & P(2k + 1)1 iff d,j(k) = 1 (k >j) and is logically


1 If the family is not recursive then there is no way to recover the numbers which are godel codes of the
sentences that "define" the behavior of P on the odd numbers. If we're to appropriately modify the godel
coding in an effective fashion, then we must be able to recover that sequence.









equivalent to (s, & -P(2k + 1)1 iff d,j(k) = 0. Essentially, each s, recursively describes

the behavior of P for each of the odd numbers greater than 2j in a manner similar to that

in which da,,, if considered as outlined in Lemma 2.1 and Claim 2.2, indicates which of

the subsequent sentences are true or untrue. For each, s, is unique because it is the

shortest such sentence of it is logical equivalence class. For example, if da,j is nullish

then s, is the shortest sentence of L that is logically equivalent to "(Vx)((Vy)(((x > 2j) &

(x = 2y -1)) -> -P(x))". Now let g be a recursive, 1-1, onto godel numbering function

from the expressions in the vocabulary ofL to the even natural numbers. We will

construct a new godel numbering function, g', that's suited to our purposes. Let g', be the

same as g except let g'(so) = 1, g'(sl) = 3, and in general g'(sn) = 2n + 1. Now g' is godel

numbering function from the expressions of L to a subset of the natural numbers whose

compliment is an infinite subset of the even natural numbers.2

Claim A.3: If the system based on L and P'is co-consistent, then there is a
sentence, s, of L such that neither P'() nor P'(< sl>).

Proof of Claim A.3: Consider s, where d,, is nullish. If P'() it follows that for
a nullish d,j (j > i), P'(<-P'()>) and so iP'(). If P'(), then we
would have P'(<(3x)( 3y)((x > 2j)&(x = 2y 1) &(P'(x))>) and since our system is
co-consistent, we have P'(), and so P'(k) for an odd k greater than 2j. But
we have already seen that from P'() it follows that for this k, P'(<,P'()>),
i.e. that -P'(k), a contradiciton, so ifP'() then neither P'() nor P'().
Now if P'(< -s, >) then we would have, because of o-consistency, P'() for
some m > i. Now ifd,,m is semi-nullish, then we see that by reasoning similar to
the forgoing there is an undecidable sentence whose code number is odd and
greater than m. On the other hand, if d,m is not semi-nullish, a contradiction results


2 By using this coding function we lose the "compositional" feature of, for example, Boolos and Jeffrey's
system of coding. Specifically, if so were "(Vx)((Vy)(((x > 2) & (x = 2y -1)) -> P'(x))", then in a normal
coding system, the godel number of So would be determined from the godel numbers of each of "P", "(",
"&" etc. in a compositional fashion for instance by simply concatenating of the godel numbers in of each
of the constituent symbols of "(Vx)((Vy)(((x > 2j) & (x = 2y -1)) -> P'(x))". To get P' to be about the
right sentences, we cannot maintain this compositionality, but there is no problem because the inverse ofg'
is well defined.






40


because there are n, p > m such that da,m(n) = 1 and (WLOG) d,m(p) = 1 and da,n(p)
= 0. In this case, from P'() it follows that P'() and that P'(), but from
P'() it follows that -P'(). 0



Corollary A.3: For this system and godel numbering, there are infinitely many
undecidable sentences which are not logically equivalent.

Proof of Corollary A.3: For a recursive R-P family there are infinitely many nullish
member functions, Claim A.3 shows that for each such function there is a sentence
that is undecidable relative to the system and corresponding godel numbering in
question and, as represented in this system, no two distinct nullish member
functions are logically equivalent. 0















REFERENCES

Beall, J.C. (2001) "Is Yablo's Paradox Non-circular?," Analysis 61: pp. 176-187.

Bueno, O. and Colyvan, M. (2003) "Yablo's Paradox and Referring to Infinite Objects,"
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81: pp. 402-412.

Mostowski, A., Robinson, R. and Tarski, A. (1953) Undecidable Theories. Amsterdam:
North-Holland. pp. 44-48.

Priest, G. (1997) "Yablo's Paradox," Analysis 57: pp. 236-242.

Smullyan, R. (1992) Godel's Incompleteness Theorems. New York: Oxford University
Press. Especially Chapters 1-4.

Sorensen, R. (1998) "Yablo's Paradox and Kindred Infinite Liars," Mind 107: pp. 137-
155.

Tennant, N. (1995) "On Paradox without Self-reference," Analysis 55: pp. 199-207.

Yablo, S. (1993) "Paradox without Self-reference," Analysis 53: pp. 251-252.















BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I graduated in 1995 from Brown University with an A.B. in mathematics and in

2001 from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville with an M.S. in computer science.