A paradox can be defined as an unacceptable conclusion derived by apparently acceptable reasoning from apparently acceptable premises. Many paradoxes raise serious philosophical problems, and they are associated with crises of thought and revolutionary advances. The expanded and revised third edition of this intriguing book considers a range of knotty paradoxes including Zeno's paradoxical claim that the runner can never overtake the tortoise, a new chapter on paradoxes about morals, paradoxes about belief, and hardest of all, paradoxes about truth. (...) The discussion uses a minimum of technicality but also grapples with complicated and difficult considerations, and is accompanied by helpful questions designed to engage the reader with the arguments. The result is not only an explanation of paradoxes but also an excellent introduction to philosophical thinking. (shrink)
This paper presents and motivates a new philosophical and logical approach to truth and semantic paradox. It begins from an inferentialist, and particularly bilateralist, theory of meaning---one which takes meaning to be constituted by assertibility and deniability conditions---and shows how the usual multiple-conclusion sequent calculus for classical logic can be given an inferentialist motivation, leaving classical model theory as of only derivative importance. The paper then uses this theory of meaning to present and motivate a logical system---ST---that conservatively extends (...) classical logic with a fully transparent truth predicate. This system is shown to allow for classical reasoning over the full (truth-involving) vocabulary, but to be non-transitive. Some special cases where transitivity does hold are outlined. ST is also shown to give rise to a familiar sort of model for non-classical logics: Kripke fixed points on the Strong Kleene valuation scheme. Finally, to give a theory of paradoxical sentences, a distinction is drawn between two varieties of assertion and two varieties of denial. On one variety, paradoxical sentences cannot be either asserted or denied; on the other, they must be both asserted and denied. The target theory is compared favourably to more familiar related systems, and some objections are considered. (shrink)
The paradox of pain refers to the idea that the folk concept of pain is paradoxical, treating pains as simultaneously mental states and bodily states (e.g. Hill 2005, 2017; Borg et al. 2020). By taking a close look at our pain terms, this paper argues that there is no paradox of pain. The air of paradox dissolves once we recognise that pain terms are polysemous and that there are two separate but related concepts of pain rather than (...) one. (shrink)
_Paradoxes from A to Z, Third edition_ is the essential guide to paradoxes, and takes the reader on a lively tour of puzzles that have taxed thinkers from Zeno to Galileo, and Lewis Carroll to Bertrand Russell. Michael Clark uncovers an array of conundrums, such as Achilles and the Tortoise, Theseus’ Ship, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma, taking in subjects as diverse as knowledge, science, art and politics. Clark discusses each paradox in non-technical terms, considering its significance and looking at (...) likely solutions. This third edition is revised throughout, and adds nine new paradoxes that have important bearings in areas such as law, logic, ethics and probability. Paradoxes from A to Z, Third edition is an ideal starting point for those interested not just in philosophical puzzles and conundrums, but anyone seeking to hone their thinking skills. (shrink)
Supererogatory acts—good deeds “beyond the call of duty”—are a part of moral common sense, but conceptually puzzling. I propose a unified solution to three of the most infamous puzzles: the classic Paradox of Supererogation (if it’s so good, why isn’t it just obligatory?), Horton’s All or Nothing Problem, and Kamm’s Intransitivity Paradox. I conclude that supererogation makes sense if, and only if, the grounds of rightness are multi-dimensional and comparative.
Counterfactuals are somewhat tolerant. Had Socrates been at least six feet tall, he need not have been exactly six feet tall. He might have been a little taller—he might have been six one or six two. But while he might have been a little taller, there are limits to how tall he would have been. Had he been at least six feet tall, he would not have been more than a hundred feet tall, for example. Counterfactuals are not just tolerant, (...) then, but bounded. This paper presents a surprising paradox: If counterfactuals are tolerant and bounded, then we can prove a flat contradiction using natural rules of inference. Something has to go then. But what? (shrink)
The author believes that large‐scale rationality on the part of the interpretant is essential to his interpretability, and therefore, in his view, to her having a mind. How, then are cases of irrationality, such as akrasia or self‐deception, judged by the interpretant's own standards, possible? He proposes that, in order to resolve the apparent paradoxes, one must distinguish between accepting a contradictory proposition and accepting separately each of two contradictory propositions, which are held apart, which in turn requires to conceive (...) of the mind as containing a number of semi‐independent structures of interlocking beliefs, desires, emotions, memories, and other mental states. (shrink)
Our evidence can be about different subject matters. In fact, necessarily equivalent pieces of evidence can be about different subject matters. Does the hyperintensionality of ‘aboutness’ engender any hyperintensionality at the level of rational credence? In this paper, I present a case which seems to suggest that the answer is ‘yes’. In particular, I argue that our intuitive notions of independent evidence and inadmissible evidence are sensitive to aboutness in a hyperintensional way. We are thus left with a paradox. (...) While there is strong reason to think that rational credence cannot make such hyperintensional distinctions, our intuitive judgements about certain cases seem to demand that it does. (shrink)
This book develops a framework for analysing strategic rationality, a notion central to contemporary game theory, which is the formal study of the interaction of rational agents and which has proved extremely fruitful in economics, political theory and business management. The author argues that a logical paradox lies at the root of a number of persistent puzzles in game theory, in particular those concerning rational agents who seek to establish some kind of reputation. Building on the work of Parsons, (...) Burge, Gaifman and Barwise and Etchemendy, Robert Koons constructs a context-sensitive solution to the whole family of liar-like paradoxes including, for the first time, a detailed account of how the interpretation of paradoxical statements is fixed by context. This analysis provides an understanding of how the rational agent model can account for the emergence of rules, practices and institutions. (shrink)
Paradoxes are more than just intellectual puzzles - they raise substantive philosophical issues and offer the promise of increased philosophical knowledge. In this introduction to paradox and paradoxes, Doris Olin shows how seductive paradoxes can be, why they confuse and confound, and why they continue to fascinate. Olin examines the nature of paradox, outlining a rigorous definition and providing a clear and incisive statement of what does and does not count as a resolution of a paradox. The (...) view that a statement can be both true and false, that contradictions can be true, is seen to provide a challenge to the account of paradox resolution, and is explored. With this framework in place, the book then turns to an in-depth treatment of the Prediction Paradox, versions of the Preface/Fallibility Paradox, the Lottery Paradox, Newcomb's Problem, the Prisoner's Dilemma and the Sorites Paradox. Each of these paradoxes is shown to have considerable philosophical punch. Olin unpacks the central arguments in a clear and systematic fashion, offers original analyses and solutions, and exposes further unsettling implications for some of our most deep-seated principles and convictions. (shrink)
Ryan Wasserman explores a range of fascinating puzzles raised by the possibility of time travel, with entertaining examples from physics, science fiction, and popular culture, and he draws out their implications for our understanding of time, tense, freedom, fatalism, causation, counterfactuals, laws of nature, persistence, change, and mereology.
Philosophers have long argued that duties to oneself are paradoxical, as they seem to entail an incoherent power to release oneself from obligations. I argue that self-release is possible, both as a matter of deontic logic and of metaethics.
It is widely accepted that there is what has been called a non-hypocrisy norm on the appropriateness of moral blame; roughly, one has standing to blame only if one is not guilty of the very offence one seeks to criticize. Our acceptance of this norm is embodied in the common retort to criticism, “Who are you to blame me?”. But there is a paradox lurking behind this commonplace norm. If it is always inappropriate for x to blame y for (...) a wrong that x has committed, then all cases in which x blames x (i.e. cases of self-blame) are rendered inappropriate. But it seems to be ethical common-sense that we are often, sadly, in position (indeed, excellent, privileged position) to blame ourselves for our own moral failings. And thus we have a paradox: a conflict between the inappropriateness of hypocritical blame, and the appropriateness of self-blame. We consider several ways of resolving the paradox, and contend none is as defensible as a position that simply accepts it: we should never blame ourselves. In defending this startling position, we defend a crucial distinction between self-blame and guilt. (shrink)
The last decade has witnessed the emergence of a paradox perspective on corporate sustainability. By explicitly acknowledging tensions between different desirable, yet interdependent and conflicting sustainability objectives, a paradox perspective enables decision makers to achieve competing sustainability objectives simultaneously and creates leeway for superior business contributions to sustainable development. In stark contrast to the business case logic, a paradox perspective does not establish emphasize business considerations over concerns for environmental protection and social well-being at the societal level. (...) In order to contribute to the consolidation of this emergent field of research, we offer a definition of the paradox perspective on corporate sustainability and a framework to delineate its descriptive, instrumental, and normative aspects. This framework clarifies the paradox perspective’s contents and its implications for research and practice. We use the framework to map the contributions to this thematic symposium on paradoxes in sustainability and to propose questions for future research. (shrink)
In the face of the puzzles of material constitution, some philosophers have been moved to posit a distinction between an object's matter and its form. A familiar difficulty for contemporary hylomorphism is to say which properties are eligible as forms: for example, it seems that it would be intolerably arbitrary to say that being statue shaped is embodied by some material object, but that other complex shape properties aren't. Anti-arbitrariness concerns lead quickly to a plenitudinous ontology. The usual complaint is (...) that the super-abundance of material objects is too extraordinary to accept, but I want to raise a different worry: I argue that the most natural way of developing this picture is already inconsistent. I show that a simple version of plenitudinous hylomorphism is subject to a Russellian argument, but argue that we cannot treat the problem straightforwardly as an instance of Russell's Paradox of Sets. (shrink)
Smith argues that, unlike other forms of evidence, naked statistical evidence fails to satisfy normic support. This is his solution to the puzzles of statistical evidence in legal proof. This paper focuses on Smith’s claim that DNA evidence in cold-hit cases does not satisfy normic support. I argue that if this claim is correct, virtually no other form of evidence used at trial can satisfy normic support. This is troublesome. I discuss a few ways in which Smith can respond.
There are two paradoxes of satisfaction, and they are of different kinds. The classic satisfaction paradox is a version of Grelling’s: does ‘does not satisfy itself’ satisfy itself? The Unsatisfied paradox finds a predicate, P, such that Px if and only if x does not satisfy that predicate: paradox results for any x. The two are intuitively different as their predicates have different paradoxical extensions. Analysis reduces each paradoxical argument to differing rule sets, wherein their respective pathologies (...) lie. Having different pathologies, they are paradoxes of different kinds. Furthermore, each of these satisfaction paradoxes has an analogue with the same pathology in set theory. Therefore, these analogues are respectively of the same two kinds. This level of abstraction is significant in that it tracks two related but different pathologies. Thus, not all paradoxes of semantics and set theory share the same pathology: there are at least two kinds of paradox cutting across the semantic and set-theoretic distinction. (shrink)
Many of the most popular genres of narrative art are designed to elicit negative emotions: emotions that are experienced as painful or involving some degree of pain, which we generally avoid in our daily lives. Melodramas make us cry. Tragedies bring forth pity and fear. Conspiratorial thrillers arouse feelings of hopelessness and dread, and devotional religious art can make the believer weep in sorrow. Not only do audiences know what these artworks are supposed to do; they seek them out in (...) pursuit of prima facie painful reactions.Traditionally, the question of why people seek out such experiences of painful art has been presented as the paradox of tragedy. Most solutions to the paradox of tragedy assume that the reason we seek out tragedies, horror films, melodramas, and the like is because they afford pleasureful experiences. From there, theorists attempt to account for the source of this pleasure, a pleasure assumed to be had from representations of events from which we do not derive pleasure in real life. I argue that this assumption is suspect: the motive for seeking out devotional religious art, melodrama, tragedy, and some horror is not clearly to find pleasure. (shrink)
This paper gives a definition of self-reference on the basis of the dependence relation given by Leitgeb (2005), and the dependence digraph by Beringer & Schindler (2015). Unlike the usual discussion about self-reference of paradoxes centering around Yablo's paradox and its variants, I focus on the paradoxes of finitary characteristic, which are given again by use of Leitgeb's dependence relation. They are called 'locally finite paradoxes', satisfying that any sentence in these paradoxes can depend on finitely many sentences. I (...) prove that all locally finite paradoxes are self-referential in the sense that there is a directed cycle in their dependence digraphs. This paper also studies the 'circularity dependence' of paradoxes, which was introduced by Hsiung (2014). I prove that the locally finite paradoxes have circularity dependence in the sense that they are paradoxical only in the digraph containing a proper cycle. The proofs of the two results are based directly on König's infinity lemma. In contrast, this paper also shows that Yablo's paradox and its nested variant are non-self-referential, and neither McGee's paradox nor the omega-cycle liar paradox has circularity dependence. (shrink)
I distinguish paradoxes and hypodoxes among the conundrums of time travel. I introduce ‘hypodoxes’ as a term for seemingly consistent conundrums that seem to be related to various paradoxes, as the Truth-teller is related to the Liar. In this article, I briefly compare paradoxes and hypodoxes of time travel with Liar paradoxes and Truth-teller hypodoxes. I also discuss Lewis’ treatment of time travel paradoxes, which I characterise as a Laissez Faire theory of time travel. Time travel paradoxes are impossible according (...) to Laissez Faire theories, while it seems hypodoxes are possible. (shrink)
I present a paradoxical combination of desires. I show why it's paradoxical, and consider ways of responding. The paradox saddles us with an unappealing trilemma: either we reject the possibility of the case by placing surprising restrictions on what we can desire, or we deny plausibly constitutive principles linking desires to the conditions under which they are satisfied, or we revise some bit of classical logic. I argue that denying the possibility of the case is unmotivated on any reasonable (...) way of thinking about mental content, and rejecting those desire-satisfaction principles leads to revenge paradoxes. So the best response is a non-classical one, according to which certain desires are neither determinately satisfied nor determinately not satisfied. Thus, theorizing about paradoxical propositional attitudes helps constrain the space of possibilities for adequate solutions to semantic paradoxes more generally. (shrink)
What José Luis Bermúdez calls the paradox of self-consciousness is essentially the conflict between two claims: (1) The capacity to use first-personal referential devices like “I” must be explained in terms of the capacity to think first-person thoughts. (2) The only way to explain the capacity for having a certain kind of thought is by explaining the capacity for the canonical linguistic expression of thoughts of that kind. (Bermúdez calls this the “Thought-Language Principle”.) The conflict between (1) and (2) (...) is obvious enough. However, if a paradox is an unacceptable conclusion drawn from apparently valid reasoning from apparently true premises, then Bermúdez’s conflict is no paradox. It is rather a conflict between the view that thought must be explained in terms of language, and the view that first person linguistic reference must be explained in terms of first-person thought. Neither view is immediately obvious, and nor is it obvious that the arguments for either are equally compelling. What we have here is a difference of philosophical opinion, not a paradox. (shrink)
Paradox Lost covers ten of philosophy’s most fascinating paradoxes, in which seemingly compelling reasoning leads to absurd conclusions. The following paradoxes are included: The Liar Paradox, in which a sentence says of itself that it is false. Is the sentence true or false? The Sorites Paradox, in which we imagine removing grains of sand one at a time from a heap of sand. Is there a particular grain whose removal converts the heap to a non-heap? The Puzzle (...) of the Self-Torturer, in which a series of seemingly rational choices has us accepting a life of excruciating pain, in exchange for millions of dollars. Newcomb’s Problem, in which we seemingly maximize our expected profit by taking an unknown sum of money, rather than taking the same sum plus $1000. The Surprise Quiz Paradox, in which a professor finds that it is impossible to give a surprise quiz on any particular day of the week... but also that if this is so, then a surprise quiz can be given on any day. The Two Envelope Paradox, in which we are asked to choose between two indistinguishable envelopes, and it is seemingly shown that each envelope is preferable to the other. The Ravens Paradox, in which observing a purple shoe provides evidence that all ravens are black. The Shooting Room Paradox, in which a deadly game kills 90% of all who play, yet each individual’s survival turns on the flip of a fair coin. Each paradox is clearly described, common mistakes are explored, and a clear, logical solution offered. Paradox Lost will appeal to professional philosophers, students of philosophy, and all who love intellectual puzzles. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the paradox of decrease. Its aim is to defend the answer to this puzzle that was propounded by its originator, namely, the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus. The main trouble with this answer to the paradox is that it has the seemingly problematic implication that a material thing could perish due merely to extrinsic change. It follows that in order to defend Chrysippus’ answer to the paradox, one has to explain how it could be (...) that Theon is destroyed by the amputation without changing intrinsically. In this paper, I shall answer this challenge by appealing to the broadly Aristotelian idea that at least some of the proper parts of a material substance are ontologically dependent on that substance. I will also appeal to this idea in order to offer a new solution to the structurally similar paradox of increase. In this way, we will end up with a unified solution to two structurally similar paradoxes. (shrink)
A paradox about sets of properties is presented. The paradox, which invokes an impredicatively defined property, is formalized in a free third-order logic with lambda-abstraction, through a classically proof-theoretically valid deduction of a contradiction from a single premise to the effect that every property has a unit set. Something like a model is offered to establish that the premise is, although classically inconsistent, nevertheless consistent, so that the paradox discredits the logic employed. A resolution through the ramified (...) theory of types is considered. Finally, a general scheme that generates a family of analogous paradoxes and a generally applicable resolution are proposed. (shrink)
Paradoxes of the Infinite presents one of the most insightful, yet strangely unacknowledged, mathematical treatises of the 19 th century: Dr Bernard Bolzano’s Paradoxien . This volume contains an adept translation of the work itself by Donald A. Steele S.J., and in addition an historical introduction, which includes a brief biography as well as an evaluation of Bolzano the mathematician, logician and physicist.
Sometimes people desire that their lives go badly, take pleasure in their lives going badly, or believe that their lives are going badly. As a result, some popular theories of welfare are paradoxical. I show that no attempt to defend those theories from the paradox fully succeeds.
The classical theory of semantic information (ESI), as formulated by Bar-Hillel and Carnap in 1952, does not give a satisfactory account of the problem of what information, if any, analytically and/or logically true sentences have to offer. According to ESI, analytically true sentences lack informational content, and any two analytically equivalent sentences convey the same piece of information. This problem is connected with Cohen and Nagel's paradox of inference: Since the conclusion of a valid argument is contained in the (...) premises, it fails to provide any novel information. Again, ESI does not give a satisfactory account of the paradox. In this paper I propose a solution based on the distinction between empirical information and analytic information. Declarative sentences are informative due to their meanings. I construe meanings as structured hyperintensions, modelled in Transparent Intensional Logic as so-called constructions. These are abstract, algorithmically structured procedures whose constituents are sub-procedures. My main thesis is that constructions are the vehicles of information. Hence, although analytically true sentences provide no empirical information about the state of the world, they convey analytic information, in the shape of constructions prescribing how to arrive at the truths in question. Moreover, even though analytically equivalent sentences have equal empirical content, their analytic content may be different. Finally, though the empirical content of the conclusion of a valid argument is contained in the premises, its analytic content may be different from the analytic content of the premises and thus convey a new piece of information. (shrink)
Paradoxes are arguments that lead from apparently true premises, via apparently uncontroversial reasoning, to a false or even contradictory conclusion. Paradoxes threaten our basic understanding of central concepts such as space, time, motion, infinity, truth, knowledge, and belief. In this volume Roy T Cook provides a sophisticated, yet accessible and entertaining, introduction to the study of paradoxes, one that includes a detailed examination of a wide variety of paradoxes. The book is organized around four important types of paradox: the (...) semantic paradoxes involving truth, the set-theoretic paradoxes involving arbitrary collections of objects, the Soritical paradoxes involving vague concepts, and the epistemic paradoxes involving knowledge and belief. In each of these cases, Cook frames the discussion in terms of four different approaches one might take towards solving such paradoxes. Each chapter concludes with a number of exercises that illustrate the philosophical arguments and logical concepts involved in the paradoxes. _Paradoxes_ is the ideal introduction to the topic and will be a valuable resource for scholars and students in a wide variety of disciplines who wish to understand the important role that paradoxes have played, and continue to play, in contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
The sorites paradox is the name given to a class of paradoxical arguments, also known as little by little arguments, which arise as a result of the indeterminacy surrounding limits of application of the predicates involved. For example, the concept of a heap appears to lack sharp boundaries and, as a consequence of the subsequent indeterminacy surrounding the extension of the predicate ‘is a heap’, no one grain of wheat can be identified as making the difference between being a (...) heap and not being a heap. Given then that one grain of wheat does not make a heap, it would seem to follow that two do not, thus three do not, and so on. In the end it would appear that no amount of wheat can make a heap. We are faced with paradox since from apparently true premises by seemingly uncontroversial reasoning we arrive at an apparently false conclusion. (shrink)
When we evaluate moral agents, we consider many factors, including whether the agent acted freely, or under duress or coercion. In turn, moral evaluations have been shown to influence our (non-moral) evaluations of these same factors. For example, when we judge an agent to have acted immorally, we are subsequently more likely to judge the agent to have acted freely, not under force. Here, we investigate the cognitive signatures of this effect in interpersonal situations, in which one agent (“forcer”) forces (...) another agent (“forcee”) to act either immorally or morally. The structure of this relationship allowed us to ask questions about both the “forcer” and the “forcee.” Paradoxically, participants judged that the “forcer” forced the “forcee” to act immorally (i.e. X forced Y), but that the “forcee” was not forced to act immorally (i.e. Y was not forced by X). This pattern obtained only for human agents who acted intentionally. Directly changing participants’ focus from one agent to another (forcer vs. forcee) also changed the target of moral evaluation and therefore force attributions. The full pattern of judgments may provide a window into motivated moral reasoning and focusing bias more generally; participants may have been motivated to attribute greater force to the immoral forcer and greater freedom to the immoral forcee. (shrink)
I argue that on very weak assumptions about truth (in particular, that there are coherent norms governing the use of "true"), there is a proposition absolutely inexpressible with conventional language, or something very close. I argue for this claim "constructively": I use a variant of the Berry Paradox to reveal a particular thought for my readership to entertain that very strongly resists conventional expression. I gauge the severity of this expressive limitation within a taxonomy of expressive failures, and argue (...) that despite its strength there is nothing incoherent about admitting its existence. The argument forms part of a project of clarifying precisely what trade-offs are required to secure the kinds of expressive power truth theorists typically want, in the process showing that the admission of very strong expressive limitations may ultimately prove to be the lesser of two evils. (shrink)
Paradoxes have played an important role both in philosophy and in mathematics and paradox resolution is an important topic in both fields. Paradox resolution is deeply important because if such resolution cannot be achieved, we are threatened with the charge of debilitating irrationality. This is supposed to be the case for the following reason. Paradoxes consist of jointly contradictory sets of statements that are individually plausible or believable. These facts about paradoxes then give rise to a deeply troubling (...) epistemic problem. Specifically, if one believes all of the constitutive propositions that make up a paradox, then one is apparently committed to belief in every proposition. This is the result of the principle of classical logical known as ex contradictione (sequitur) quodlibetthat anything and everything follows from a contradiction, and the plausible idea that belief is closed under logical or material implication (i.e. the epistemic closure principle). But, it is manifestly and profoundly irrational to believe every proposition and so the presence of even one contradiction in one’s doxa appears to result in what seems to be total irrationality. This problem is the problem of paradox-induced explosion. In this paper it will be argued that in many cases this problem can plausibly be avoided in a purely epistemic manner, without having either to resort to non-classical logics for belief (e.g. paraconsistent logics) or to the denial of the standard closure principle for beliefs. The manner in which this result can be achieved depends on drawing an important distinction between the propositional attitude of belief and the weaker attitude of acceptance such that paradox constituting propositions are accepted but not believed. Paradox-induced explosion is then avoided by noting that while belief may well be closed under material implication or even under logical implication, these sorts of weaker commitments are not subject to closure principles of those sorts. So, this possibility provides us with a less radical way to deal with the existence of paradoxes and it preserves the idea that intelligent agents can actually entertain paradoxes. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to provide a constructive criticism of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards. After pointing out a number of benefits and limitations in the effectiveness of CSR standards, both from a theoretical point of view and in the light of empirical evidence, we formulate and discuss a Paradox of CSR standards: despite being well-intended, CSR standards can favor the emergence of a thoughtless, blind and blinkered mindset which is counterproductive of their aim of enhancing the (...) social responsibility of the organization. We analyze three problems that might underlie the Paradox—namely the problem of deceptive measurements; the problem of responsibility erosion and the problem of blinkered culture. We apply the philosophical tradition of American Pragmatism to reflect on these issues in relation to different types of existing standards, and conclude by suggesting a number of considerations that could help both CSR standards developers and users to address the Paradox. (shrink)
It can be shown by means of a paradox that, given the Principle of Sufficient Reason, there is no conjunction of all contingent truths. The question is, or ought to be, how to interpret that result: _Quid sibi velit?_ A celebrated argument against PSR due to Peter van Inwagen and Jonathan Bennett in effect interprets the result to mean that PSR entails that there are no contingent truths. But reflection on parallels in philosophy of mathematics shows it can equally (...) be interpreted either as a proof that there are "too many" contingent truths to combine in a single conjunction or as a proof that the concept _contingent truth_ is indefinitely extensible and there is no such thing as "all contingent truths." Either interpretation would reconcile PSR with contingent truth, but the natural rationales of those interpretations are at odds. This essay argues that the second interpretation is a more satisfactory explanation of why, if PSR is true, there should be no conjunction of all contingent truths. This sheds new light on the nature of the explanatory demand embedded in PSR and uncovers a number of surprising implications for the commitments of rationalism. (shrink)
This essential guide to paradoxes takes the reader on a lively tour of puzzles that have taxed thinkers from Zeno to Galileo and Lewis Carroll to Bertrand Russell. Michael Clark uncovers an array of conundrums, such as Achilles and the Tortoise, Theseus' Ship, Hempel's Raven, and the Prisoners' Dilemma, taking in subjects as diverse as knowledge, ethics, science, art and politics. Clark discusses each paradox in non-technical terms, considering its significance and looking at likely solutions.
Conscientious objection in health care is a form of compromise whereby health care practitioners can refuse to take part in safe, legal, and beneficial medical procedures to which they have a moral opposition (for instance abortion). Arguments in defense of conscientious objection in medicine are usually based on the value of respect for the moral integrity of practitioners. I will show that philosophical arguments in defense of conscientious objection based on respect for such moral integrity are extremely weak and, if (...) taken seriously, lead to consequences that we would not (and should not) accept. I then propose that the best philosophical argument that defenders of conscientious objection in medicine can consistently deploy is one that appeals to (some form of) either moral relativism or subjectivism. I suggest that, unless either moral relativism or subjectivism is a valid theory—which is exactly what many defenders of conscientious objection (as well as many others) do not think—the role of moral integrity and conscientious objection in health care should be significantly downplayed and left out of the range of ethically relevant considerations. (shrink)
Many proposed moral principles are such that it would be difficult or impossible to always correctly identify which act is required by that principle in a given situation. To deal with this problem, theorists typically offer various methods of determining what to do in the face of epistemic limitations, and we are then told that the right thing to do – given these limitations – is to perform the act identified by the given method. But since the method and the (...) underlying principle can diverge, it would seem that in such cases we are being given contradictory advice: some particular act will be both right and not right. Various attempts to resolve this apparent paradox are surveyed, but none are completely satisfactory. (shrink)
The laws of logic and two of the broader theories of truth are fundamental components that are responsible for espousing an ontology and meaningfulness in matters of analytic philosophy. In this respect they have persisted as conventional attitudes or modes of thought which most, if not all, of analytic philosophy uses to philosophize. However, despite the conceptual productivity of these components they are unable to account for matters that are beyond them. These matters would include certain theological beliefs, for instance, (...) that transcend the purview of analytic ontology and the meaningfulness it ensues. Any attempt in making rational sense of such beliefs that are insusceptible to these methodological components would conventionally prohibit (restrict) us from rationally believing in them. This is because we would be unable to make sense of such beliefs with the aid of these methodological components. As a result of this, religious beliefs of this particular nature would be deemed irrational. I shall demonstrate this point by applying both of these components to an absolutely ineffable God of Islam. This would entail, attempting to make sense of an absolutely ineffable God of Islam in virtue of the laws of logic and two broad categories of truth theories, namely, substantive and insubstantive theories. I hope to establish that applying both of these methodological components in attempting to make sense of an absolutely ineffable God of Islam would not be conceptually viable. It would result in a contradictory notion which I shall allude to as the paradox of ineffability. (shrink)
Saying that x is ineffable seems to be paradoxical – either I cannot say anything about x, not even that it is ineffable – or I can say that it is ineffable, but then I can say something and it is not ineffable. In this article, I discuss Alston’s version of the paradox and a solution proposed by Hick which employs the concept of formal and substantial predicates. I reject Hick’s proposal and develop a different account based on some (...) passages from Pseudo-Dionysius’ Mystica Theologia. ‘God is ineffable’ is a metalinguistic statement concerning propositions about God: not all propositions about God are expressible in a human language. (shrink)
The principle of charity is used in philosophy of language and argumentation theory as an important principle of interpretation which credits speakers with “the best” plausible interpretation of their discourse. I contend that the argumentation account, while broadly advocated, misses the basic point of a dialectical conception which approaches argumentation as discussion between two parties who disagree over the issue discussed. Therefore, paradoxically, an analyst who is charitable to one discussion party easily becomes uncharitable to the other. To overcome this (...)paradox, I suggest to significantly limit the application of the principle of charity depending on contextual factors. (shrink)
Philosophers often claim that forgiveness is a paradoxical phenomenon. I here examine two of the most widespread ways of dealing with the paradoxical nature of forgiveness. One of these ways, emblematized by Aurel Kolnai, seeks to resolve the paradox by appealing to the idea of repentance. Somehow, if a wrongdoer repents, then forgiving her is no longer paradoxical. I argue that this influential position faces more problems than it solves. The other way to approach the paradox, exemplified here (...) by the work of Jacques Derrida, is just too obscure to be by itself helpful. Yet, I argue that what I take to be its spirit is on the right track. I recommend distinguishing between the definition and the justification of forgiveness, and also between forgiveness understood as a mental phenomenon and an overt, communicative act. These distinctions are not given their due in the specialized literature, and I expose the nefarious consequences of this neglect. By focusing on forgiveness as a mental phenomenon I seek to analyze the root of the talk of paradoxes which surrounds the discussion of forgiveness. Finally, I present an analysis of forgiveness as a pure mental phenomenon, and argue that this analysis is the most important step in understanding forgiveness in any other sense. While my analysis reveals interesting aspects of forgiveness, it reveals, too, that forgiveness is not quite as paradoxical after all. (shrink)
I use the principle of truth-maker maximalism to provide a new solution to the semantic paradoxes. According to the solution, AUS, its undecidable whether paradoxical sentences are grounded or ungrounded. From this it follows that their alethic status is undecidable. We cannot assert, in principle, whether paradoxical sentences are true, false, either true or false, neither true nor false, both true and false, and so on. AUS involves no ad hoc modification of logic, denial of the T-schema's validity, or obvious (...) revenge. (shrink)
Challenging prevailing interpretations of the development of modern philosophy, this book proposes a reinterpretation of the transcendental tradition, as represented primarily by Kant and Husserl, and counters Heidegger's influential reading of these philosophers. Author David Carr defends their subtle and complex transcendental investigations of the self and the life of subjectivity, and seeks to revive an understanding of what Husserl calls "the paradox of subjectivity"--an appreciation for the rich and sometimes contradictory character of experience.