Logic and trolling and blogs, oh my!

Someone is attempting to play logic games in the comments. Set up to require approval for the 1st comment by any account or e-mail address, my comment filter asked me for permission to post this bit of text from a new commenter named “Path”:

This is a lie.

The comment was intended for my post I’m a Nazi, Says Nazi. World Topples in Not-Shock. There’s always the possibility that they actually had a coherent comment in mind, but as they did not quote what they thought was actually a lie or make any argument at all in support of their assertion, all I could think of was the reliability problems of Harcourt Fenton Mudd:

Try again, Path. If you have a thoughtful comment, it’s almost certainly welcome, but this was so vague I honestly couldn’t tell if you were attempting to add to the conversation, attempting to troll me or one of my commenters, or just babbling. Make an effort and so long as you’re not trolling, twisting others words dishonestly, pushing hatred, or issuing threats you can probably comment here indefinitely.



  1. says

    Interesting you should ask… their e-mail ‘nym paints them as Mediterranean. IP Lookup, however, places the sender within the USA. If you were thinking that they’re a specific person, it looks like this bit of info would tend to disconfirm.

    I’m still vaguely hopeful that this person is a sloppy commenter rather than someone actually trying to defend Nazis, but I’ve been disappointed before.

  2. KG says

    Pierce R. Butler@1,
    One way to understand the “Cretan liar” paradox, which turns out to have wider application, is via Gottlob Frege’s distinction between sense and reference. “The Morning Star” and “The Evening Star” have different sense, but the same reference (the planet Venus), as do “The current POTUS” and “Mary Trump’s crazy uncle”. And a nominal expression can have sense but no reference, like “The present King of France”. In this analysis, the reference of a typical proposition or assertion, as opposed to a nominal expression, is a truth-value – either “true” or “false” (or possibly something like “partly true” or “true in 76% of cases”); and in the case of a proposition, as in the case of a nominal expression, the sense tells you how to go about identifying the reference. But in the case of “This is a lie” (or as it’s more usually stated, “This sentence is false”), the specified path to the reference never terminates, so there is no reference.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    ” “The Morning Star” and “The Evening Star” have different sense, but the same reference (the planet Venus)”

    I only found out recently (from the very excellent BBC show “In Our Time”) that the ancients didn’t realise for a long time that the morning star and the evening star were the same object.

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