"Behold!" cried Gomez, flinging his arm dramatically to point at Julian. The bystanders gasped. A gasp rose from the crowd, and the mass of people nearby let out a gasp.

"No!" the Magistrate exclaimed."What you say cannot possibly be truth!"

"I assure you, it is, and he has," Gomez replied, clasping his hands behind his back and assuming a very innocent expression.

The Magistrate addressed Julian. "Is this true?"

"It is not my place to determine what is or is not truth," said Julian, "but I can tell you that Gomez is lying."

"If you cannot determine truth, you cannot state that I am lying," Gomez remarked, casting a condescending glare at Julian.

"If you weren't a liar, that would be incontrovertible," Julian responded meekly.

"But I'm not lying, so you must be a liar," Gomez retorted.

"That is irrelevant in light of your own lies," said Julian.

The bystanders gasped, and various people gasped, and some other people gasped, slowly realizing the implications of the statement. The Magistrate rose majestically, and silence erupted. "So you admit that you have been lying, Julian?"

"Goodness, no!" the accused cried. "Think of it this way. I have called Gomez a liar. Gomez has called me a liar. Is it possible for both of us to be correct?"

"Yes!" a bystander shouted, muscling through the crowd and taking a position between Julian and the Magistrate. However, when he realized that he was expected to elaborate, he said "Just kidding." The bystander left and flung himself off the sea-cliffs.

"As I was saying," Julian continued, "it is impossible for both of us to be correct or wrong. If I tell the truth, Gomez's statement that I am a liar is wrong, and Gomez becomes a liar, and only I am correct. If Gomez tells the truth, my statement that he is a liar is wrong, and I become a liar, and only Gomez is correct. Therefore one of us must be right."

The crowd oohed at the force of this logic.

"The question still remains as to who is correct," Julian said. "It is undeniable that it is possible for liars to tell the truth." Julian turned to Gomez. "What is one plus one?"


"Is this true?" Julian asked the crowd, who affirmed that it was.

"Hold it!" cried Gomez. Everyone's gaze shifted back to him. "You assume that I'm a liar."

"Then ask me the question."

"What is one plus one?"


"Is this true?" Gomez asked. It was determined to be so.

"So by my first argument, one of us is lying. By my second argument, the one of us who is a liar can tell the truth, as we have seen since we agree that one plus one is two, and one of us is a liar."

"But your whole argument assumes that I'm a liar."

Julian sighed. "I have proved that one of us is right and the other is lying. I have proved that the one who is lying can say true things." He paused for a second and pondered his arguments. "Would you agree with me that there is a possibility that the liar is telling the truth?" The crowd agreed. "Is it possible that the sun is shining?" The crowd agreed. "Is the sun always shining whether we see it or not?" The crowd agreed.

Julian turned back to the Magistrate. "It is possible that the sun is shining, and the sun is always shining. There is a possibility that liars tell the truth, so, per example, liars always tell the truth. It is possible that Gomez is telling the truth about me being a liar, so I must be a liar. And since liars always tell the truth, I must be telling the truth."

The crowd struggled to find some fallacies in this logic, but they could not, so they remained silent. The Magistrate rose and addressed the crowd. "I have heard all the logic I need. Julian has just proved beyond all doubt that he is innocent. Julian, you may go free."

So Julian ran away and continued his life of crime.


The Author would like to make it plain that he does not endorse the reasoning contained herein in any way.