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Dialetheism's Trivialism Problems

Dialetheists think that some contradictions are true. Trivialists think that everything is true (and false). Here's a trivialism problem that everyone has: You can't e press your re!ection of trivialism in a "ay that isn't compatible "ith trivialism by the trivialist's lights. #or e ample$ if you say %trivialism is false$% the trivialist "ill agree "ith you. Here's a trivialism problem that only the dialetheist has: They can't e press their re!ection of trivialism in a "ay that isn't compatible "ith trivialism by &their o"n& lights. Here's "hat ' mean: 'f an ordinary nondialetheist says %trivialism is false$% they've !ust said something that they think rules out the possibility that trivialism is true. 'n a dialetheist says %trivialism is false$% they've said something they &don't& think rules out the possibility that trivialism is true. 'f they say %trivialism is (!ust) false% or %trivialism fails to be true in any sense% or %trivialism has an alethetic status that rules out the possibility that it could be true$% they still haven't said anything that can be (by their lights) incompatible "ith the truth of trivialism. ...at least assuming that they take (iar sentences to be both true and false.& )fter all$ "e can al"ays construct (iars like: %This sentence is (!ust) false.% %This sentence fails to be true in any sense.% %This sentence as an alethic status that rules out the possibility that it could be true.% ....etc.$ etc.$ etc. This is$ ' take it$ one of the reasons "hy the dialetheist's difficulties "ith making sense of claiming that some sentences are %!ust true% or %!ust false% are philosophically significant$ a sub!ect "e'll be returning to ne t "eek. *o that's dialetheism's trivialism problem (+). ,hile "e're at it$ though$ here are t"o other special trivialism problems that the dialetheist has that no one else has: (-) The .urry /arado bears e actly the same relation to trivialism that the (iar /arado bears to

dialetheism. 'n both cases$ "e have parado ical sentences involving self0referential truth talk$ such that if "e take such sentences to be meaningful$ truth0evaluable$ etc.$ the philosophical position in 1uestion simply follo"s. ,hen it comes to the (iar$ the dialetheist can accept all of those things$ accuse anyone "ho tries to tamper "ith other"ise intuitive inferential rules involved in the parado in order to avoid the parado ical result of begging the 1uestion$ etc. ,hen it comes to .urry$ they're forced into an a"k"ard double standard. 'f they "ant to avoid trivialism$ they have to start making e actly the sorts of moves they rail against "hen it comes to the (iar. (2) ) classical proof in classical logic sho"s that "e can infer anything and everything from any contradiction. 't's easy to sho" that the dialetheist has a good$ principled response to (2). 3ut$ given (+) and (-)$ this shouldn't be taken as meaning that dialetheism doesn't have any trivialism problems that the rest of us don't. &'t "ould$ technically$ be possible to be a dialetheist "ithout taking (iars to be both true and false00one could$ for e ample$ be convinced by 4raham /riest's arguments about %the parado es of motion and change% but not by any of his other arguments00but ' kno" of no dialetheist "ho doesn't analy5e (iars dialethically. 'n every actual case of people "ho argue for dialetheism$ the argument from the (iar and related semantic parado es is their &central& argument. /osted by 3en at +-:66 )7

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