November 19, 2011

« There is an interesting paradox about words that do or do not apply to themselves (Grelling’s paradox). Let us call a word that applies to itself or that is true of itself autological. Examples are “English”, which is itself an English word, and “old”, a word which has been in use for many centuries now. Call a word that does not apply to itself heterological, such as the clearly non-red word “red”, or the non-German word “German”. Now the question is: is the word “heterological” itself heterological? If it is, then it isn’t; if it isn’t, then it is. […] A clear example of a heterolocial word is “simplicity”, which is exceedingly complex and hard to explain. »
~ “Philosophical applications of computational learning theory”, R.M. de Wolf.

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