The Price of True Contradictions About the World
We examine an argument advanced by Newton C. A. da Costa according to which there may be true contradictions about the concrete world. This is perhaps one of the few arguments advancing this kind of thesis in full generality in the context of a scientifically-oriented philosophy. Roughly put, the argument holds that contradictions in the concrete world may be present where paradoxes require controversial solutions, solutions which in general are radically revisionary on much of the body of established science. We argue that the argument may be successfully challenged in the face of the actual practice of science; as a consequence, commitment to true contradictions about the world may be correctly dismissed as unnecessary, at least if the route to contradictions is the one advanced in the argument. We finish by highlighting a parallel between da Costa’s argument and another typical dialetheist argument by Graham Priest to the effect that paradoxes of self-reference are true contradictions.
We would like to thank two anonymous referees for their constructive criticisms and comments which helped to improve the paper.
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