Logical, Semantic and Cultural Paradoxes

Argumentation 17 (1):65-86 (2003)
The property common to three kinds of paradoxes (logical, semantic, and cultural) is the underlying presence of an exclusive disjunction: even when it is put to a check by the paradox, it is still invoked at the level of implicit discourse. Hence the argumentative strength of paradoxical propositions is derived. Logical paradoxes (insolubilia) always involve two contradictory, mutually exclusive, truths. One truth is always perceived to the detriment of the other, in accordance with a succession which is endlessly repetitive. A check is put on the principle of the excluded middle by the logical paradoxes, because self-reference leads to an endlessly repeating circle, out of which no resolution is conceivable. Logical paradoxes are to be compared with the `objective ambiguity' prevalent in oracles (Gallet, 1990). Semantic paradoxes are contextually-determined occurrences, whose resolution at the metalinguistic level is made possible by the discovery of a middle term. They express a wilful ambiguity, in which the interlocutor is invited to take an active part in the construction of sense, since what must be found is the unexpected sense thanks to which A and not-A can be asserted simultaneously. Cultural paradoxes play about doxa (`common sense') and openly challenge common opinion because of their character as inopinata (`unexpected'). My aim is to show that even cultural paradoxes hide sometimes a flaw of argumentation similar to logical or semantic paradox; they too imply an exclusive disjunction leading to the disappearance of the middle terms. Finally, basing myself on the theory of topoi (Anscombre and Ducrot, 1983), a tentative resolution of the cultural paradoxes will be suggested
Keywords Ambiguity  argumentation  cultural paradox  exclusive disjunction  logical paradox  middle term  self-reference  semantic paradox   topoï
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1022999824902
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,660
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Haixia Zhong (2012). Definability and the Structure of Logical Paradoxes. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):779 - 788.
Emil Badici (2008). The Liar Paradox and the Inclosure Schema. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):583 – 596.
Barry Hartley Slater (2001). Logical Paradoxes. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Graham Priest (2012). Definition Inclosed: A Reply to Zhong. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (4):789 - 795.
Gary Mar & Paul St Denis (1999). What the Liar Taught Achilles. Journal of Philosophical Logic 28 (1):29-46.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

37 ( #118,467 of 2,043,381 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #55,577 of 2,043,381 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.