April 29, 2014

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

A Supreme Court Paradox!

In the current version of the Supreme Court decision Octane Fitness v. Icon Health & Fitness up at Cornell's Legal Information Institute, footnote 1 reads "Justice Scalia joins this opinion except as to footnotes 1-3." This is not quite a Liar Paradox, but close. Whether the view attributed to Scalia is consistent depends on some interpretive questions: does Scalia merely refrain from affirming the content of footnotes 1-3, or does he actively reject them? Does he reject each of the footnotes individually, or only the conjunction of them? If he actively rejects each of footnotes 1-3 individually, then which part of footnote 1 does he disagree with: the claim that he joins the opinion, or the claim that he doesn't join footnotes 1-3? If he disagrees with the claim that he joins the opinion, then there are some serious shenanigans going on. If he actively disagrees with the claim that he doesn't join footnotes 1-3, that means he thinks that he agrees with footnotes 1-3, but of course footnote 1 asserts that he does not agree. Maybe the moral is that Justice Scalia has no idea what footnote 1 says: he believes that he disagrees with footnote 1, but, unbeknownst to him, footnote 1 in fact asserts that Scalia disagrees with footnote 1!

For the record, Justice Scalia does not agree with this statement.

(More seriously, I suspect that this is a typesetting error and the footnote about Scalia not joining the footnotes was meant to be a first unnumbered note - hence the '*' - and Scalia disagrees with the notes numbered 2-4 in which there is an inquiry as to legislative intent, contrary to Scalia's version of originalism.)

Posted by Kenny at April 29, 2014 5:06 PM
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