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Vos, M.A. de

Department of Theoretical Philosophy

Solving the Knower Paradox via the Logic of Provability

My master’s thesis is about the knower paradox and certain solutions of it. Informally, the knower paradox is derived from the sentence "I know that this sentence is not true''. Paul Egré discusses “the kind of solution that modal provability logic provides to the [p]aradox” by surveying and comparing three different provability interpretations of modality. Provability interpretations by Skyrms, Anderson, and Solovay are considered.

In the thesis, a lot of background is explained to clarify Egré’s solutions, where in particular attention is paid to the logic of provability or provability logic. To check whether Egré’s solutions are satisfactory solutions, we use the criteria for solutions of paradoxes defined by Susan Haack. A solution of a paradox satisfies Haack’s criteria if it has an appropriate formal part and a satisfactory philosophical part and if it is neither too broad nor too narrow.

The thesis aims to describe to what extent the knower paradox can be solved using provability logic. It is concluded that the knower paradox can provisionally be solved, because for two of the three discussed provability interpretations, all of Haack’s requirements are at least provisionally satisfied.

Last modified:23 February 2015 10.16 a.m.