What Does Paradox Mean?
Paradox of the Chicken and the Egg Explained by a Farmer

Socrates said, “I know only one thing. That is, I do not know anything. ” Does this mean that Socrates really does not know anything, or one thing, or many things?

This sentence of Socrates is a paradox. A paradox is a kind of sentence or statement from which no unique conclusion can be drawn. Rather the descriptions of such problems create two contradictory solutions, one of which is true the other is not possible. There are some paradoxes that have no solution, while there are some that have a very complex mathematical philosophical solution. But not the solution, let’s find out about some of these famous paradoxes.

Achilles and the tortoise race competition:

Achilles and the tortoise race competition
Achilles and the tortoise race competition
Achilles and the tortoise race competition

In the fifth century BC, the Greek philosopher Zeno created some complex paradoxes about motion. Achilles and the tortoise race competition is one of them. Suppose a race is held with the Greek hero Achilles. Since Achilles can run fast, so that the tortoise is not treated unfairly, it is decided that the tortoise will be given a chance to start the race from the front. Suppose the tortoise ran 500 meters ahead of Achilles.

Now, as soon as the competition starts, Achilles will cross this 500 meters very fast and move to the east of the tortoise. But by then the tortoise would have covered the distance, albeit a little at its normal slow speed. Suppose the tortoise crossed a distance of only 50 meters at this time. It will take Achilles less time to cross this 50 meter path. But by then the tortoise will be 5 meters ahead.

This process will continue, and no matter how short the tortoise is before Achilles arrives, the tortoise will cover a very short distance. In other words, according to Zeno’s proposal, it will never be possible for Achilles to go beyond the tortoise. But in real life we ​​always see any runner or car coming from behind in such a case and passing another runner or car.

Ship of Theseus:

This is also an ancient Greek paradox. Although Plato and Heraclitus also discussed this problem, the most famous description of it is found in the writings of the Greek biographer Plutarch. He describes the problem in this way: The Athenians preserved the ship that the mythical King Theseus of Ancient Greece returned from Crete. But after a long time the ship’s logs, oars, decks, etc. began to break down, and they began to replace them with new logs. Gradually most of the ship’s structure was replaced. Plutarch asks, is the ship now the same as the previous one, or is it a new one?

Ship of Theseus:
Ship of Theseus:
Ship of Theseus:

There are also different forms of this problem. According to one account, if both the head and the handle of an ax are changed, does it remain the old ax, or does it become a new ax? In another description, it is imagined that a hole was made in a sock and then it was fixed by sewing. After the second hole was made, the hole was also sewed. After so many sewing, it can be said that the sock is the previous sock?

Grandfather Paradox:

Grandfather Paradox:
Grandfather Paradox:
Grandfather Paradox

Time travel is a popular part of science fiction. But if time travel were possible, various complications would arise. There are multiple paradoxes related to time travel, the most famous of which is the Grandfather Paradox. It says that if someone travels back in time and kills his grandfather before his father is born, then he is not supposed to exist on his own. Grandfather’s paradox basically refers to the idea that going back to the past and any small change that would have a huge impact on the world today is incompatible with each other.

Grandfather Paradox also has many forms. One of them is the paradox of killing Hitler. Many say that if time travel is possible, Hitler should be killed as a child first, so that he does not start World War II. But it is not possible. Because if Hitler had been assassinated earlier, the next generation of people would have no idea about Hitler, so no one would want to go back to the past to assassinate him.

Bootstrap paradox:

The Bootstrap paradox is also a time travel paradox, but it’s the opposite of the Grandfather paradox. It does not change any event in the past, but brings information from the future to the past, which is used later. Then the question arises, where did the information actually come from.

For example, someone bought Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali from a shop and did time travel and brought it with a young Rabindranath Tagore. Then Rabindranath Tagore saw it and made a copy of Gitanjali, which later became famous and found a place in the shop. But then who is the real author of Gitanjali?

The word bootstrap means shoelace. The English proverb ‘Pulling yourself by bootstrap’ is derived from the fact that one pulls oneself by the laces of one’s shoes.

The Grayling-Nelson Paradox:

Adjectives in any language can be semantically divided into two parts. Autological words are the kind of words that describe themselves.

For example, the word ‘Noun’ itself is Noun, the word ‘English’ itself is an English or English word, the word ‘Unhyphenated’ has no hyphens, so these words are autological. Heterological words, on the other hand, are the kind of words that do not describe themselves. As the word ‘Long’ comes short, the word ‘Hyphenated’ has no hyphens, the word ‘Verb’ is not actually a verb. So these are all heterological terms.

In 1908, Kurt Grayling and Leonard Nelson raised the question of whether the term “heterological” itself was heterological. If the answer is no, it means it is autological, i.e. it will describe itself, i.e. the word heterological will be heterological, but it does not mean it will describe itself, which is contradictory. Again if the answer is yes, then the term heterological will still be heterological, meaning it will not describe itself, which means it is not heterological. This is also contradictory.

Lying paradox:

It’s a lot like the Grayling-Nelson paradox. If someone says “I’m lying”, is this statement true or false? If his sentence is taken to be true, it means he is lying, whereas it was taken to be true. Again if his sentence is found to be false, then his claim to be lying is false, meaning he is telling the truth, but it was assumed he is lying. In both cases the solutions are contradictory.

Interesting number paradox:

1 is the first natural whole number, 2 is the first prime number, 3 is the first odd prime number — thus some unique features of different numbers are obtained. That said, the first number to be found, which has no special features, will be a non-special or ‘uninteresting’ number. But according to this paradox, the absence of any specialty is a special feature. So even this number cannot be ‘uninteresting’. As it turns out, no number can actually be ‘uninteresting’.

Unexpected hanging paradox:

The paradox is that the judge sentenced the accused to death by hanging any day within the next week. But it will be a day that will be unexpected or a surprise to the accused. The accused thought that if there was a surprise, he would not be hanged on the 7th day. Because if he is not hanged on the first 7 days, then on the 6th day he will understand that he will be hanged the next day, so it will not be a surprise. By the same token, 6th, 5th, he will never be hanged. But the problem will be, if the accused is convinced that it is not possible to hang him according to the conditions of the judge, then any day if he is suddenly hanged, it will seem like a surprise to him and the promise of the judge will be fulfilled.

Son-daughter paradox:

This is a paradox of possibility. It is said that a family has two children. One of them is a son. How likely is it that the two children are sons? Thinking normally, it seems that since the other child can only be a son or a daughter, the answer will be 1/2.

But if we think differently, it is seen that there are four possible combinations of two children in a family: son-son, son-daughter, daughter-son and daughter-daughter. In this case, since it is known that a child is a son, the opportunity of a daughter-daughter will be eliminated and any of the remaining three combinations may be possible. In other words, the answer will be 1/3.

Freelancer Blogger and Writer. I am now studying CSE at Chengdu University Of Technology. Feel free to contact with me.

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