Cover

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Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Series Foreword

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pp. ix-x

The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series offers accessible, concise, beautifully produced pocket-size books on topics of current interest. Written by leading thinkers, the books in this series deliver expert overviews of subjects that range from the cultural and the historical to the scientific...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

When I began the long journey of writing this book almost fifteen years ago, I set out to write a treatise on famous paradoxes such as the liar paradox (which arises from the claim that what I’m now claiming is false). The plan was to expand on the treatment given in my dissertation of the...

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Introduction: Is There Trouble in Paradox?

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pp. 1-16

In a BBC television series aptly called Paradox, a British astrophysicist claims to have images of a future explosion in which many people are going to die. After seeing these images of the future, poor harried detective Rebecca Flint must try to prevent this vision from coming to be. But if...

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1. A New Way to Think about Paradoxes and Solutions

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pp. 17-42

We have already discussed three ways of defining paradox, namely as (1) a set of inconsistent statements, in which each statement seems true (Rescher 2001), (2) an argument with seemingly good assumptions, seemingly fine reasoning, but an obviously false conclusion (Mackie 1973), and...

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2. How to Solve Paradoxes

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pp. 43-136

Imagine that you are a contestant on a game show. The host shows you three closed doors and tells you that there is a prize of a brand new car behind one door and goats behind each of the other two doors. You are then asked to choose a door. Once you make your selection of, say, Door...

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3. Paradox Lost? On the Successes (and Failures) of Solutions to Paradoxes

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pp. 137-208

An influential argument in the philosophy of science is relevant to our discussion of paradoxes. It runs as follows: throughout the long history of science, most scientific theories have been proven false and the entities posited by these theories were proven to not exist. Based on this...

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Conclusion

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pp. 209-210

There are many reasons why philosophers study philosophical paradoxes. Paradoxes force those who study and attempt to solve them to confront strong, conflicting intuitions; discover ways in which intuitions can be misleading; and analyze ways in which our ordinary concepts are...

Glossary

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pp. 211-212

Notes

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pp. 213-216

References

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pp. 217-220

Further Readings

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pp. 221-222

Index

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pp. 223-225