It’s Not What It Looks Like

A collection of random paradoxical statements

These are the definitions of paradox listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

noun par•a•dox \ˈper-ə-ˌdäks, ˈpa-rə-\
(a) something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible; (b) someone who does two things that seem to be opposite to each other or who has qualities that are opposite; (c) a statement that seems to say two opposite things but that may be true.

A paradox is self-contradictory: a statement can be correct; it can be incorrect as well. It exists in every field of study; physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, philosophy, economics, logic, politics and so on. It is finely differentiated from a fallacy, which is something that seems to be true, but is false.

Most of these paradoxical statements and entities share common themes of:

a)    self-reference (occurs in natural or formal languages when a sentence, idea or formula refers to itself. Eg: This sentence is false.)
b)    infinite regress (a series of propositions arises if the truth of proposition P1 requires the support of proposition P2, the truth of proposition P2 requires the support of proposition P3, ... , and the truth of proposition Pn−1 requires the support of proposition Pn and n approaches infinity. Eg: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?)
c)    circular definition  (the term being defined as a part of the definition or assumes a prior understanding of the term being defined. Eg: X is true because of Y. Y is true because of X.)
d)    confusion between levels of abstraction (or a conceptual process by which general rules and concepts are derived from the usage and classification of specific examples.)

Text courtesy:
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (


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