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Philosophy of Language as a Self-Referential Therapy for Paradox

(Original title: Filosofie jazyka jako autoreferenční terapie paradoxu)
Organon F, 2014, vol. 21, Supplementary Issue 1, pp. 155-167.
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Self-reference as a common characteristic of paradoxes is usually regarded as a trouble-inducing principle which should be eliminated. Contrary to such view this paper aims to vindicate self-reference and declare its fundamental importance for our language. In the first part, self-referential contradictions (Liar, Burali-Forti, Russell, Richard etc.) are presented and their division to logical ones and epistemological ones introduced by Ramsey is contested. In the second part, Waismann’s therapeutic conception of philosophy, focused on clarifying grammar of language and at the same time emphasizing freedom and vision as the essence of philosophy, is expounded as an example of the semantic ascent that enables to treat not just self-referential paradoxes but philosophical problems in general as problems of language. In the final part, the solving paradoxes as matter of language in language itself is investigated and two main theses are put forward: 1) Self-reference is the key to solution of paradoxes; 2) Self-reference is to be considered as the essence of language in the widest sense.


Friedrich Waismann, logical analysis, paradox, philosophical grammar, self-reference

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