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Paradoxes 3rd Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Good paradoxes aren't just for entertainment (although they _are_ vastly entertaining; check out any of Raymond Smullyan's books for proof of that assertion). Each of them opens a door to all sorts of fascinating issues of tremendous philosophical importance.
Mark Sainsbury's fine introduction, in its heavily revised second edition, is a set of keys to those doors. For example, his discussion of Zeno's famous paradoxes doesn't just inform the lay reader what they are; it explains why they're important even today: because they call into question whether the now-standard mathematical analyses of the paradoxes adequately capture our ordinary understanding of space. That is, the paradoxes can be resolved in the ideal space of mathematicians, but that doesn't _necessarily_ mean they can be resolved in the space in which we really live.
In difficulty, the exposition is about one notch higher than in William Poundstone's _Labyrinths of Reason_, so you may want to read Poundstone first if you're new to this subject altogether. But do get around to this one. It's a solid account, from a more or less "analytic" outlook (though that term probably suffers from all the "vagueness" problems discussed in Sainsbury's second chapter).
Sainsbury will also introduce some topics Poundstone doesn't cover -- notably, and perhaps most interestingly, Graham Priest's "dialethism" -- a logic in which, Priest claims, it's possible for some contradictions to be true[!]. Sainsbury doesn't agree but nevertheless concludes that he doesn't have a knockdown argument against it. (Be aware that Sainsbury's account has been criticized by other philosophers, including Priest. Follow up with Priest's own books if you get interested in this subject.Read more ›
Students and communities need to move from seeing contradictions and states of mutually exclusivity as something beyond the juvenile "Oxymoron." This book can help.
Chapter 2, Moral Paradoxes is a good exploration into moral issues but it is hardly conclusive or exhaustive. Chapter 5, Believing Rationally is equally good in its discussion of seeking reason but that chapter also fails to quite soar.
Nevertheless, this book is recommended because it encourages readers to challenge their assumptions and follow an argument back to its root premise. If you cannot buy the first cause, nothing follows.
This book would make a good companion text to a course in logic or critical thinking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting book that goes over famous paradoxes. A lot of puzzling ideas and allows you to enhance your way of thinking.Published 11 months ago by Venus Project
I bough this thinking it would be about a pair of boots, but it wasn't. Instead it is a well written book that presents a number of paradoxes, paradoxical problems and ways to... Read morePublished 22 months ago by DW
This book is certainly not worth the price. I have never seen such an interesting topic turned into something so dull. Certainly not what I had expected. Read morePublished on October 16, 2008 by Lubom
Paradoxes are surprising conclusions drawn from seemingly reasonable premises. And for the past twenty five centuries paradoxes have driven the most interesting developments in... Read morePublished on September 15, 2008 by Steve Reina
As a beginner in the study of philosophy, I have frequently read that the study of paradoxes is a waste of time, that paradoxes add little to the appreciation of philosophy as a... Read morePublished on April 17, 2005 by Epops