A Cathcartian Reflection on Sylvan and Priest1

“TO LEAVE MATTERS IN NO DOUBT, WE OBLIGINGLY ASSERT THAT THE RUSSELL CLASS R, I.E. {X: X ∉ X}, BOTH
BELONGS TO ITSELF AND ALSO DOES NOT BELONG TO ITSELF; IN SHORT, WE ASSERT R ∈ R & ¬(R ∈

R). TO BE

QUITE EXPLICIT, WE ASSERT THE CONTRADICTION R & ¬R, WHERE R ABBREVIATES R ∈ R. THUS, IN CONVENIENT SYMBOLS, ⊦Δ R & ¬R, WHERE Δ IS THE GROUP OF DIALETHICIANS COMPRISING (AT LEAST) PRIEST AND ROUTLEY.”

Richard Sylvan & Priest, G. (1988). “Answering another alleged dilemma destroying dialetheism”. Bulletin of the Section of Logic, 17(1), p. 42).

A man tries on a made-to-order suit and says to the tailor, “I need this sleeve taken in! It’s two inches too long!”
The tailor says, “No, just bend your elbow like this. See, it pulls up the sleeve.” The man says, “Well, okay, but now look at the collar! When I bend my elbow, the collar goes halfway up the back of my head.” The tailor says, “So? Raise your head up and back. Perfect.” The man says, “But now the left shoulder is three inches lower than the right one!” The tailor says, “No problem. Bend at the waist way over to the left and it evens out.” The man leaves the store wearing the suit, his right elbow crooked and sticking out, his head up and back, all the while leaning down to the left. The only way he can walk is with a herky-jerky, spastic gait. Just then, two passersby notice him. Says the first: “Look at that poor crippled guy. My heart goes out to him.” Says the second: “Yeah, but his tailor must be a genius! That suit fits him perfectly!” Synthetic versus analytic, right? (And we’re not talking fabric here.) The stranger thinks, “This man’s tailor fit him perfectly with a suit” is a synthetic a posteriori statement purporting to provide information, based on observation, about the tailor and his apparent skill in making the suit. But for the tailor, “This suit I made is a perfect -fitting suit” is really an analytic statement. It is the same as saying, “This suit I made is a suit I made.” That’s because any suit the man tries on will be a perfect fit, as the tailor fits the man to the suit.

Cathcart, Thomas and Daniel Klein. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar… . Abrams Image (New York: 2007), pp. 69-70.
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