Dean Li, a Year 2 MPhil student in Religion and Philosophy, was presented with an Outstanding Paper Award at the recent International Postgraduate Roundtable and Research Forum cum Summer School 2017 organised by The Education University of Hong Kong.

 

 

Entitled “Can silence be a proper response to the liar paradox?”, the paper focuses on one of the traditional paradoxes, the “liar paradox”, and inquiries about the adequacy of the “silence approach” to this paradox.

 

Many attempts at solving the “liar paradox” involve classifying the semantic category of the “liar sentence” in a consistent way. The problem with most of the prominent approaches is that they evoke the revenge problem, that is, while the solutions may solve the pristine “liar paradox”, they trigger another one with the same structure. 

 

The “silence approach”, however, holds that the “liar sentence” is unclassifiable and thus rejects classifying it. Dean’s study offers a primary evaluation of this kind of solution by looking at two extant “silence approaches”. The result of the evaluation shows that while the “silence approach” may have the virtue of being revenge-free, it may have trouble in justifying the claim that the “liar sentence” is unclassifiable and so will suffer severely from being ad hoc. 

 

Dean did not expect the award. He said: “My paper is just a primary study in this realm, and there are many more problems I need to address before it can count as an adequate one. I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Professor Stephen Palmquist of the Department of Religion and Philosophy, for his support, encouragement and useful advice.”