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I was curious if anyone could recommend a good text to get a foothold on some the main issues regarding self-reference. I am interested in the mathematical and philosophy of language aspects of self-reference. I appreciate any advice. Thanks.

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    In all seriousness, a good prologue to any study in the philosophy of logic and language would be Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. It only takes an afternoon or two to read them start to finish.
    – David H
    Feb 20, 2014 at 7:24

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If you haven't already looked at Thomas Bolander's Stanford Encyclopedia article on Self-Reference, I can certainly recommend it and its excellent bibliography. As a general collection of essays on the problems of Liar phenomena and their strengthenings in language, I would also endorse J. C. Beall's Revenge of the Liar: New essays on the paradox, and I myself am currently reading Raymond Smullyan's Diagonalization and self-reference, which is a technical but awesome book looking at the mathematical issues around fixed points, recursion and incompleteness.

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    +1, but just wondering -- no Hofstadter? :)
    – Joseph Weissman
    Feb 20, 2014 at 0:44
  • Nope. No Hofstadter. =P
    – Paul Ross
    Feb 20, 2014 at 1:26
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    ("Godel, Escher, Bach" is a very fun and masterfully written book, but Hofstadter is particularly focused on intentionality, where this is kind of an aside to the current state of the self-reference literature.)
    – Paul Ross
    Feb 20, 2014 at 1:46
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Lucy O'Brien's "Self-Knowing Agents" is a good book about self-reference (more for the phil of lang side). Gareth Evan's work might also be of interest to you, for example "The Varieties of Reference".

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