Platitudes against Paradox

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    We present a strategy to dissolve semantic paradoxes which proceeds from an explanation of why paradoxical sentences or their definitions are semantically defective. This explanation is compatible with the acceptability of impredicative definitions, self-referential sentences and semantically closed languages and leaves the status of the so-called truth-teller sentence unaffected. It is based on platitudes which encode innocuous constraints on successful definition and successful expression of propositional content. We show that the construction of liar paradoxes and of certain versions of Curry’s paradox rests on presuppositions that violate these innocuous constraints. Other versions of Curry’s paradox are shown not to be paradoxical at all once their presuppositions are made explicit. Part of what we say rehearses a proposal originally made by Laurence Goldstein in 1985. Like Goldstein we dispose of certain paradoxes by rejecting some of the premises from which they must be taken to proceed. However, we disagree with his more recent view that the premises to be rejected are neither true nor false.