If someone says to you, “Everything I am now telling you is a lie”, is it true or false?
This might sound like no more than a dinner party conversation piece, of passing interest for most people, but, for Dr Zach Weber (Philosophy) such apparent contradictions are of abiding fascination.
Weber has been awarded a Fast-Start grant from the Marsden Fund to research “Models of Paradox in Non-classical Mereotopology”.
He says that he is seeking to use tools and language from mathematics and logic to explain why paradoxes exist.
“I am trying to draw a mathematical picture of paradoxes, using cutting-edge tools from formal logic, to model what they look like in a visual way, in the hope that it will shed some light on why there are these paradoxes and what makes them tick".
“Others have tried to make them disappear, but my thought is that they are a part of the landscape and we should appreciate them and try to understand them."
Weber points to dramatic developments that have previously arisen from such philosophical research.
“Historically, logic led to the invention of the digital computer and the computer information revolution, and this project could have possible applications down the road in computer science – you never know.”
Whatever the outcome, Weber believes that such research is fundamentally worthwhile in its own right.
“I think that this kind of work is important, because these are problems that arise in such basic concepts as truth that everybody uses every day and walks around imagining are unproblematic.”