Overview

Grelling's paradox


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A paradox of non-self-descriptive adjectives. Some adjectives are self-descriptive: the adjective short is short, the adjective English is English, and the adjective polysyllabic is polysyllabic, and each of these adjectives is therefore autological, because each is self-descriptive. In contrast, some adjectives are heterological: the adjective long is not long, Russian is not Russian, and monosyllabic is not monosyllabic. Is the adjective heterological autological or heterological? If it is autological, then it is self-descriptive, which means that it must be heterological; and if it is heterological, then it must be non-self-descriptive, in which case it is autological. [Named after the German mathematician Kurt Grelling (1886–1942) who published it in 1908]

Subjects: Psychology.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.