Call for papers — Paradox, Context, and Generality

We invite submission of papers for a special issue of Philosophical Studies on paradox, context, and generality. 

Guest editors

Julien Murzi (Salzburg)
Lorenzo Rossi (Munich)
Brett Topey (Salzburg)


A well-known line of argument originating with the work of Russell and Dummett interprets the semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes as diagonal arguments that can be used to indefinitely extend any contextually provided domain of quantification. Thus, the argument goes, quantification can never be absolutely general: for any given totality, there is available some bit of paradoxical reasoning, such as the Liar Paradox or Russell's Paradox, that allows us to 'diagonalise out' of that totality. This diagnosis of the paradoxes is familiar enough. It lies at the basis of the iterative conception of set and, arguably, of most contextualist approaches to the semantic paradoxes. It holds the promise of providing a unified treatment of both the set-theoretic and semantic paradoxes -- one that, in the case of the semantic paradoxes, licenses quasi-naive principles about truth and other semantic notions. But is the Russellian thought viable? Is the loss of absolute generality a price worth paying for solving the paradoxes? Or should it rather be seen as a lesson worth learning? Can absolutely general quantification be recaptured within theories that reject, in general, absolutely general quantification, just like classical reasoning can be recaptured within non-classical theories of semantic notions?

Possible topics of papers include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the role of context in paradoxical reasonings such as the Liar and the Sorites?
  • What is the proper lesson of Tarski’s Theorem? How exactly does the theorem affect the expressive power of languages in which the semantic paradoxes can be formulated?
  • What, if anything, can the semantic or set-theoretic paradoxes teach us about generality?
  • Can absolutely general quantification be coherently rejected?
  • Can we quantify over absolutely everything?
  • Can the semantic paradoxes be plausibly seen as singularities, as Gödel first suggested?
  • On a contextualist approach to the semantic paradoxes, context shifts in the course of paradoxical derivations. But where exactly does context shift and can such a shift of context be plausibly motivated?
  • Are contextualist approaches to the semantic paradoxes committed to some form of relativism about truth?
  • Do the semantic and set-theoretic paradoxes share a common structure? And, if so, what would count as a uniform solution to both? Should they be solved in a uniform way?
  • What is the proper lesson to be drawn from the Russell-Myhill Paradox?
  • Do hierarchical approaches to the semantic paradoxes face revenge paradoxes they’re unable to solve?

Authors are asked to prepare their manuscripts according to the journal’s standard guidelines, available at: 

Please submit your paper by May 30, 2021 via Philosophical Studies’ Online Manuscript Submission System (Editorial Manager), accessible at:

When uploading your paper, please be sure to select “S.I.: Paradox, context, and generality (Murzi/Rossi/Topey)” in the drop-down menu of “Article Type”.

All papers will undergo standard review procedures (double-blind refereeing) and, when accepted, they will be made available as online first publications until final publication.

For questions, please contact the guest editors for this issue, Julien Murzi (, Lorenzo Rossi (, and Brett Topey ( Please note that we do not accept paper submissions via email.