Absolute contradiction, dialetheism, and revenge

Francesco Berto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Is there a notion of contradiction – let us call it, for dramatic effect, “absolute” – making all contradictions, so understood, unacceptable also for dialetheists? It is argued in this paper that there is, and that spelling it out brings some theoretical benefits: first, it gives us a foot- hold on undisputed ground in the methodologically difficult debate on dialetheism. Second, we can use it to express, without begging questions, the disagreement between dialetheists and their rivals on the nature of truth. Third, dialetheism has an operator allowing it, against the opinion of many critics, to rule things out and manifest disagreement: for unlike other proposed exclusion-expressing-devices (for instance, the entail- ment of triviality), the operator used to formulate the notion of absolute contradiction appears to be immune both from crippling expressive limi- tations and from revenge paradoxes – pending a rigorous non-triviality proof for a formal dialetheic theory including it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-207
Number of pages15
JournalReview of Symbolic Logic
Issue number2
Early online date25 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

This paper was prepared within the 2013-15 AHRC project The Metaphysical basis of Logic: the Law of Non-Contradiction as Basic Knowledge (grant ref. AH/K001698/1), based at the Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen UK. Its main idea, though, first came up in 2011 during a one-year research fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Notre Dame: thanks to Vittorio Hösle, Don Stelluto, Carolyn Sherman, and Jo Ann Norris, for making my stay in the US enjoyable and to the other fellows of the Institute, for many conversations on dialetheism and contradictions.


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