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The paradox of idealization

Florio, S. and Murzi, J. (2009) The paradox of idealization. Analysis 69 (3), pp. 461-469. ISSN 0003-2638.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/analys/anp069

Abstract

A well-known proof by Alonzo Church, first published in 1963 by Frederic Fitch, purports to show that all truths are knowable only if all truths are known. This is the Paradox of Knowability. If we take it, quite plausibly, that we are not omniscient, the proof appears to undermine metaphysical doctrines committed to the knowability of truth, such as semantic antirealism. Since its rediscovery by Hart and McGinn (1976), many solutions to the paradox have been offered. In this article, we present a new proof to the effect that not all truths are knowable, which rests on different assumptions from those of the original argument published by Fitch. We highlight the general form of the knowability paradoxes, and argue that anti-realists who favour either an hierarchical or an intuitionistic approach to the Paradox of Knowability are confronted with a dilemma: they must either give up anti-realism or opt for a highly controversial interpretation of the principle that every truth is knowable.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2011 08:26
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3179

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