Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This Sentence Is False. True Or false?

Seems like a simple question.

Uh, no. Not really.

Like a dog chasing it’s tail, brushing the bristles of the brush you’re brushing with, seeing your eyes with your own eyes (impossible, unaided), or drawing a circle around all circles on a page (try it!), the first sentence in the title of this post is strange, to say the least.

I’ll repeat the sentence in question, for convenience, immediately below this one.


This sentence is false.


What makes this so weird is that the sentence in question is “self-reference.” Like a brush brushing itself, eyeballs seeing themselves, or circles circling themselves, the sentence in question “sentences” (i.e. refers to) itself. (“Self reference” is the subject of a wonderful book titled: Godel, Escher, Back: An Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter. I highly recommend it.)

Is the bold-faced sentence two paragraphs above this one true, or false? That’s the question.

The answer will probably surprise you.

(Click here to go to Part 2.)


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