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The Original Cretan Liar Paradox

February 9, 2013

The Cretan, Epimenides

The Cretan poet, Epimenides (circa 600 BC), famously wrote that Cretans are “always liars.”

Paradoxically, it would seem that if he was telling the truth, then he was lying. And if he was lying, he only confirmed that he was telling the truth! Well, not exactly.

It turns out that there are many possible narratives that would be logically consistent with the original scenario. Epimenides’ famous rant could, for example, have been the only lie ever told by  a Cretan. All that is required is that Epimenides’ statement be a lie and that at least one Cretan once told the truth.

For a formal proof, see The Original Cretan Liar Paradox.

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