, Volume 194, Issue 12, pp 5023–5037 | Cite as

Self-referential propositions

  • Bruno WhittleEmail author


Are there ‘self-referential’ propositions? That is, propositions that say of themselves that they have a certain property, such as that of being false. There can seem reason to doubt that there are. At the same time, there are a number of reasons why it matters. For suppose that there are indeed no such propositions. One might then hope that while paradoxes such as the Liar show that many plausible principles about sentences must be given up, no such fate will befall principles about propositions. But the existence of self-referential propositions would dash such hopes. Further, the existence of such propositions would also seem to challenge the widespread claim that Liar sentences fail to express propositions. The aim of this paper is thus to settle the question–at least given an assumption. In particular, I argue that if propositions are structured, then self-referential propositions exist.


Self-referential propositions Paradoxes for propositions Truth The liar paradox 



For comments and discussion, I am grateful to Andrew Bacon, Agustín Rayo, Ian Rumfitt, Zoltán Szabó, an audience at the 2014 Eastern APA, and two referees for this journal.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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