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I forgot that I never forget

  1. Dec 1, 2004 #1
    I was arguing with my buddy that this statement is true even if we deny the "I never forget" part, but to be honest, I was shooting in the dark. I was trying to translate the statement into an implication, then show that denial of the consequent entails the falsity of the antecedent, which entails the truth of the whole implication nevertheless, trying to prove it's not absurd. How would you treat such a statement? Is this some kind of a self referential statement, or Godel's undecidable, another example of Russel's paradox, or simply incoherent "square circle"? what is it? how would you translate or symbolize it if you had to treat it formally?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 2, 2004 #2


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    If you forgot something, then you do forget. We can translate the sentence. I do forget, in fact I'm doing so right now, and the thing I'm forgetting is that I do not forget. To forget something is to imply that it is true (or at least that you believed it). So, if you forget x, then x must be true (or believed, but let's go with true for now, for simplicity). So, the statement implies that I do forget, and that I do not forget, contradiction.

    Let's translate the denial of the sentence: I did not forget that I never forget. This is perfectly reasonable. (Of course, this whole example depends a lot on assumed facts, but if we assume the relevant facts, then we can just look at the structure of the proposition). So, we can say that the denial is true, the assertion is contradictory (false).
  4. Dec 2, 2004 #3
    my only concern about this is that in order for you to forget something you must you much remember at some point that you had something to do (as the case may be) and didn't do it at a particular time. for example let say you had to kill someone in an hour, you didn't do it, tomorrow i realise that the person is still alive. To me i know that you forgot, but to yourself you don't have the feeling that you have forgotten something. When you remember that you had to kill the person it is then that you realise that you had forgotten to kill them. that's the way i see it, it may sound stupid.

    so if you forgot that you never forget, it is because you remembered that you never forget.
  5. Jan 29, 2005 #4
    I think it is a good point. I believe that is true, however if you remember that you have forgot, you really haven't forgot. For example: [Sailer falls over board. Another sailer takes off his vest and what not to save him. Then the sailer (who is the "saver") becomes sidetracked by gun shots. The saver sailer saves his own life only to find that his buddy has drowned.] Well, it is not that the saver sailer has forgotten about his buddy, but instead he was sidetracted.

    Another way to look at it is this. In this situation the sailer really does forget. Same example with different outcome: [Saver sailer saves his own life, then finds out that his buddy has drowned. He as no recalectiont about saving his buddy, just that he was being shot at.] That would be an example of a forgotten memory.

    I hope that makes sense...

    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
  6. Jan 30, 2005 #5
    this statement is similar to a person saying "I am not speaking".

    i think that these are self contradicting statement and cannot be completely correct. one part of it would always contradict the other part.

    in fact, ther are loads of statements like this, which are self ontradicting. i'll try to get some more in subsequent posts.
  7. Jan 30, 2005 #6
    True, as far as the saying "I am not speaking", but not true in the statement "I forgot I never forget"
    It doesn't totally contradict itself from EVERY point of view. For instance, I would say that the person really didn't forget that he never forgets because he remember that he doesn't forget, like I said he was just distracted.

    I'm pretty sure what I said proves that the statement "I forgot I never forget" is not a contradiction. However for the statement "I am not speaking" (and ofcourse that person is using oratory communication) can not be proven correct in any sort of manner as far as I can see.

    But then again, we would both have to have the same idea of a forgotten memory. I just don't see how a person has really forgotten something if later they are reminded of it. If the person could not be reminded of that certain thing, then that person would have forgotten.

    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2005
  8. Feb 1, 2005 #7
    this means he hasn't really forgotten that he never forgets, right??

    this would in turn mean that what he said(i forgot that i never forget) is a false statement, a lie. so if the person is actually telling a lie in statement then how can we trust the statement of that person, i mean, if he lies in the first part of the statement saying that he "forgot" then he might as well be lying that "he never forgets".

    this still turns out to be a somewhat unconvincing statement, so i guess you'll have to work a bit


    Imagination is intelligence having fun-Albert Einstein

  9. Feb 1, 2005 #8
    It depends on how one looks at the statement "I forgot". If you believe what I do, (he never really did forget that he forgot because he was reminded of it) then yes, it is a false statement. However, if one looks at the statement "I forgot" as something that is not being conscioussly thought of, then the statement could stand true, but we obviously have proven him wrong because he has forgotten.

    In seeking wisdom thou art wise; in imagining that thou hast attained it - thou art a fool.
    Lord Chesterfield
  10. Feb 2, 2005 #9
    I forgot that I never forget: definitely a contradiction.

    -->If you did forget that you forgot, then you remembered. Thus, you did not forget.

    <--And If you never forget, then you cannot remember. Thus, your statement is a contradiction.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2005
  11. Feb 4, 2005 #10
    scarecrow, i would like you to elaborate that a bit, that will make your post much clear(atleast to me, coz i dont really get your logic behind it)
  12. Feb 4, 2005 #11
    disregard my last statement (<--) I mis-wrote it.

    If you did forget that you forgot something, then obviously you remembered that act of never forgetting. Therefore, saying you forgot is a contradiction because you actually remembered.
  13. Feb 5, 2005 #12
    I forgot that I never forget.

    "I forget" means you have left the consciousness of a thought behind.

    "never forget" means you are at the thought and never leave it for that moment.

    "Forget" designates direction of moving away or being away from the thought and "never forget" designates moving toward that thought or being there.

    To say they coexist in the same time and place is to forget our spacio-temporal reality.
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