Margaret Cuonzo

“Long before Aristotle struggled with Zeno’s paradox, philosophers were enthralled by paradox. The MIT Press Essential Knowledge author Margaret Cuonzo examines paradoxes and the methods employed to resolve them in this book. She discovers that paradoxes can inspire fresh ways of thinking and go beyond being simple puzzles.

A group of seemingly truthful propositions that are all mutually inconsistent is known as a paradox. Paradoxes show up in real life as well as in salons and ivory towers. (A picture of an ashtray with the “no smoking” symbol written on it appears when you search for “paradox” on the Internet.) Cuonzo claims that offering solutions is a typical reaction to paradoxes. Regardless of whether any of the most potent paradoxes can even be solved, she challenges us to reconsider paradoxes by focusing on solutions, saying that there are many lessons to be learned from this.

Cuonzo provides a list of methods for resolving paradoxes, including the Preemptive-Strike, the Odd-Guy-Out, the You-Can’t-Get-There-from-Here, and the You-Can’t-Get-There-from-Here (denying the validity of the reasoning). She contends that some solutions are more effective than others in particular situations and that the likelihood of some techniques succeeding decreases as paradoxicality rises. Cuonzo demonstrates the appeal and significance of the processes involved in creating paradoxes and suggesting solutions. Knowing how to answer a paradox results in new paradoxes being created and new paradoxes being created as a result of the notions utilized in new sciences. “How great that we have met with a paradox,” wrote Niels Bohr. We can finally see some signs of development now. “