The answer to your question is yes, Pinocchio’s nose would get longer. This is a definitive answer that can be logically proven. It took me a couple of minutes to think about, but I am confident in my answer because of how you worded the question. In a game of logic, semantics is everything.
The Pinocchio Paradox is one of the most popular paradoxes of the 21st century. Interestingly, this puzzle is attributed to an 11-year-old Australian girl who posed the question when her father asked her and her brother to come up with new versions of the Liar Paradox.
The Liar Paradox is the statement, “This sentence is false.” The Liar Paradox, unlike the Pinocchio Paradox, is a true paradox. The statement can neither be true nor false. There is no way around it, because it is semantically stable due to the usage of the conjugated verb “is.” When forms of the verb “to be” are used, it removes all ambiguity of the adjective.
Now, I will explain why the answer to your question is yes. Pinocchio’s statement, “My nose is going to get longer,” does not state a specific time frame. The time frame is any time in the future. This means that Pinocchio makes the statement, but his nose does not immediately grow. It grows sometime in the future after making some other false statement. It could be an hour, or it could be 20 years in the future, but it will happen.
How do we know it will happen? Because if it didn’t, it would make the statement false and cause his nose to grow. Since Pinocchio cannot make this statement without his nose growing at some point in the future, the statement cannot be a lie. Therefore, either it grows now or grows later, but it definitely grows.
If you wanted to take the ambiguity out of Pinocchio’s statement, you could change the semantics and have him say, “My nose is going to get longer immediately after I make this statement.”
One expert in paradoxes says the answer to this statement is also yes, because, as I have pointed out, it can never be false. This other expert says a hole still remains in the question, because it does not account for the possibility of Pinocchio’s nose growing by some means other than lying.
So, to make it a true paradox, Pinocchio would have to say, “Due to the fact that my nose grows when I lie, my nose will get longer immediately after I make this statement.” This removes all ambiguity from the statement, and we are lucky that Pinocchio is not intelligent enough to think to say this, because if he did, it would rip a hole in the space-time continuum that would suck the universe into an equally opposite alternate universe, causing both universes to be instantly obliterated.
Posted 2697 day ago