Paradoxes are more than just intellectual puzzles: they raise substantive philosophical issues. Indeed, an apparently impeccable argument that leads to an apparently outrageous conclusion is a threat to the very trustworthiness of reason. In this introduction to paradox and paradoxes Doris Olin shows how seductive paradoxes can be, why they confuse and confound, and why they continue to be such a fascinating area of philosophical inquiry. Olin examines the nature of paradox with a rigorous definition, a clear statement of what counts as a successful resolution, and a description of how one can make progress on a paradox short of offering a full solution. The view that a statement can be both true and false and that contradictions can be true and rationally believed is given particular attention. She then examines a selection of paradoxes, including the Prediction Paradox, the Preface Paradox, the Lottery Paradox, Newcomb's Problem, the Prisoner's Dilemma, and the Sorites Paradox. The selection is not arbitrary: each paradox is shown to pack a considerable philosophical punch and raise difficult issues about the rationality of belief, the rationality of action, and the coherence of our language. For each paradox Olin systematically delineates each stage of the argument to reveal the philosophical impact of its resolution.
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