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  • Page extent: 188 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.31 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521720793)

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 (Stock level updated: 17:01 GMT, 25 November 2015)


A paradox can be defined as an unacceptable conclusion derived by apparently acceptable reasoning from apparently acceptable premises. Many paradoxes raise serious philosophical problems, and they are associated with crises of thought and revolutionary advances. The expanded and revised third edition of this intriguing book considers a range of knotty paradoxes including Zeno's paradoxical claim that the runner can never overtake the tortoise, a new chapter on paradoxes about morals, paradoxes about belief, and hardest of all, paradoxes about truth. The discussion uses a minimum of technicality but also grapples with complicated and difficult considerations, and is accompanied by helpful questions designed to engage the reader with the arguments. The result is not only an explanation of paradoxes but also an excellent introduction to philosophical thinking.

• This third edition includes a new chapter on moral paradoxes • Each chapter contains questions to actively encourage the reader to think philosophically • Every paradox is introduced very simply and readers can choose to take or leave the more technical sections of the book


Foreword to third edition; Introduction; Suggested reading; 1. Zeno's paradoxes: space, time, and motion; 1.1 Introduction; 1.2 Space; 1.3 The Racetrack; 1.4 The Racetrack again; 1.5 Achilles and the Tortoise; 1.6 The Arrow; Suggested reading; 2. Moral paradoxes; 2.1 Crime reduction; 2.2 Mixed blessings; 2.3 Not being sorry; 2.4 Moral dilemmas; Suggested reading; 3. Vagueness: the paradox of the heap; 3.1 Sorites paradoxes: preliminaries; 3.2 Sorites paradoxes: some options; 3.3 Accepting the conclusion: Unger's view; 3.4 Rejecting the premises: the epistemic theory; 3.5 Rejecting the premises: supervaluations; 3.6 Rejecting the reasoning: degrees of truth; 3.7 Vague objects?; Suggested reading; 4. Acting rationally; 4.1 Newcomb's paradox; 4.2 The Prisoner's Dilemma; Suggested reading; 5. Believing rationally; 5.1 Paradoxes of confirmation; 5.1.1 Background; 5.1.2 The paradox of the Ravens; 5.1.3 'Grue'; 5.2 The Unexpected Examination; 5.3 Revising the Unexpected Examination; 5.4 The Knower; Suggested reading; 6. Classes and truth; 6.1 Russell's paradox; 6.2 The Liar: semantic defects; 6.3 Grounding and truth; 6.4 The Strengthened Liar; 6.5 Levels; 6.6 Self-reference; 6.7 Indexicality; 6.8 Indexical circularity; 6.9 Comparison: how similar are Russell's paradox and the Liar?; Suggested reading; 7. Are any contradictions acceptable?; 7.1 Contradictions entail everything; 7.2 A sentence which is both true and false could have no intelligible content; 7.3 Three dualities; 7.4 Negation; 7.5 Falsehood and untruth; Suggested reading; Appendix I: Some more paradoxes; Appendix II: Remarks on some text questions and appended paradoxes; Bibliography; Index.


'An engaging and accessible guide through some of the deepest conceptual labyrinths we know. Sainsbury encourages the reader to think with him, always asking questions and pointing out roads not taken. This is the first place I send students who have become puzzled by the liar paradox or the paradox of the heap.' John McFarlane, University of California, Berkeley

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