6 Paradoxes That Will Blow Your Mind

           


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Before diving to the main topic of the article, I need to make sure that you know the definition of a paradox. I know it sounds nice and majestic, but do you really know its meaning?

 

What Is a Paradox?

A paradox is a self-contradicting proposition. It is a situation that seems to defy logic, which results in some sort of inconsistency that opposes common sense.

Most logical paradoxes seem to be invalid arguments in the first place; however, they are still valuable because they can be used to stimulate critical thinking and sometimes prove a point by contradiction.

The habit of testing your mind’s abilities and questioning everything can yield in a great intellectual and subtle activity. And keep in mind that the more you observe your surroundings more thoroughly, the more paradoxes you will be able to examine.

With that said, I will leave you with 6 paradoxes that will blow your mind, hence the title. Enjoy!

 

1. Chicken and Egg Paradox

Oh, boy. This is a popular one. This paradox is one of the oldest to exist, and it is still perplexing humanity until this day. It serves two purposes. The first one is to ask questions about the origin of life and the universe in general.

The second one is to explore the consequential logical fallacy, meaning “when the consequence of a phenomenon is said to be an unavoidable cause of the phenomenon when the truth may be otherwise."

So, which came first? The chicken or the egg?

 

2. Ship of Theseus Paradox

It goes like this:

Imagine there is a ship. And, you, for some reason, decided to replace each plank of this ship with a newer one. Would this ship still be the same thing? Don’t answer yet - just bear with me for now.

Let’s say that you built another ship using the old planks you took from the first ship. Is the new ship the old one? Are both ships the same? Which one is the original ship now?

A newer version would have to do with your brain. If you were somehow able to replace some of your brain parts with other identical ones and made a new brain with the old ones, are both brains the same? Are both of them you?

 

3. Socratic Paradox

The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

Yes, my fellow reader. More knowledge means more unanswered questions - the more we know, the more we don't know.

For example, if we knew that some celestial creatures exist indeed in our universe, this would open up a door with questions like, “why haven’t they contacted us sooner? Are they a peace-loving race, or are they planning to conquer our world? Which galaxy are they from?" and so on.

See, more knowledge led to more unanswered questions, hence the more we know, the more we don’t know.

 

4. The Grandfather Paradox

This is an intriguing scenario. Let’s say that you are so desperate to die, but you refuse to use any of the rational death routes and decided to travel back in time to kill your grandfather. And since your grandfather is dead, your birth never happened at all.

But, if you have never been born, how were you able to go back in time and kill your grandfather?

 

5. The Liar Paradox

The great stoical logician Chrysippus came up with a paradox popularly known as the Liar Paradox. This scenario has a plot twist at the end. It goes like this:

A Cretan was said to sail to Greece. Upon arriving, he was greeted by the Greek men on the shore and then said, “All Cretans are liars.” Here lies the paradox. Did he speak the truth? Or did he lie because he is Cretan?

A week later, the Cretan is off to sail to Greece again. And upon arriving, he said, “All Cretans are liars, and all I say is the truth.”

The Greeks were truly puzzled. However, no one was more confused than the Grammarian and Critic Philetus of Cos, who is said to have died of exhaustion while attempting to resolve the paradox.

 

6. Unstoppable Force Paradox

So, a man was walking across a market when he encountered a merchant. The merchant was advertising two of his items, a spear and a shield: “This spear can pierce any shield!” and “This shield can block any spear!” 

Yes, as you expected, the man approached the merchant and asked, “What would happen when you pierce the shield with the spear?.” The merchant stood there without an answer. 

Another example would consist of a bullet and an armor. Imagine there is a bullet which can go through any barrier, and there is also some absolute bullet-proof armor which no object can penetrate.

What would happen if such a bullet is shot through such an armor?

 

Written by – Eyad Aoun

Edited by Adrija Saha


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