Epimenides (a Cretan) once wrote a poem, in which he stated that all Cretans are liars.

Since he is a Cretan, and therefore a liar, Cretans are veracious.
But then again he wouldn't be a liar!

This paradox can be solved, i.e. it can be shown that it's not an actual paradox. How?

Edit: In this puzzle's "universe", liars always lie. I don't know how to precicely explain it, but "black and white logic" applies.

Additionally, there are at least 52 Cretans.

  • $\begingroup$ Really "at least 2 Cretans" would be enough. But 52 does the job just as well. $\endgroup$
    – Duncan
    Jul 24, 2014 at 20:28

2 Answers 2


The negation of "All x are y" is "There is at least one x which is not y".

So, Epimenides is a liar. Therefore his statement "All Cretans are liars" is false. This means that not all Cretans are liars. This means that at least one Cretan tells the truth. He can still be a liar, there just has to be at least one Cretan who's not a liar.

Now, if Epimenides is the only Cretan, we'd have a bigger problem.


It is not written that the state of being a liar can't change in time. So we can find recursive solution to the problem.

Stage 1: All Cretans are liars, including Epidemides. None of them has ever told a truth.

Stage 2: Epimenides says, that all Cretans are liars. This is a truth, but then, first time in his life, he has told the truth, therefore he isn't a liar anymore.

Stage 3: If Epidemes would say that once again, it would not be truth anymore, because Epidemes is no longer a liar. However, since he is already contaminated with truth, he is no liar anymore, so that statement is a lie.

It is the consequence of start condition, that the liar is someone who have never told a truth. If you allow, that liar tells a truth from time to time, that statement could, as well, be correct from the beginning.

  • $\begingroup$ I love this answer! P.s.: is Epimenides also changing his name according to his truth state? ;-) $\endgroup$
    – user1962
    Jul 29, 2014 at 13:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uomoinverde He's a chronical liar, do you really think anyone knows his real name? $\endgroup$ Jul 29, 2014 at 13:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Carlster didn't ever thought of that. Amazing. $\endgroup$
    – user1962
    Jul 29, 2014 at 16:43

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