Philosophy is paradoxical

Paradox, paradox

(Greek para: against, doxa: opinion, expectation). In a broader sense, the adjective specifies facts or statements that contradict common opinion or expectation and appear alogical, nonsensical or contradicting; In the narrower sense, paradox is used synonymously with antinomy and represents a contradiction in the form of a contradiction. As an opportunity to represent models of revolutionary developments, P.n have a supporting function in intellectual history. As soon as a problem can no longer be solved within the relevant reference system, a paradoxical thesis can lead to a change or abandonment of the system. - There are several types of P.n: (1) Logical P.n are e.g. Zeno's demonstrations of the limits of mathematical descriptions of motion. (2) Epistemological P.n are based on self-referential processes. (3) Moral, social and metaphysical subjects address questions of conduct of life, theological problems such as the idea of ​​God-man. (4) Rhetorical P.n, especially in the sophistic eulogy or in the mocking encomium, serve among other things. to perfect the arguments and the effect. - Characteristic elements are: apparent contradiction, exploitation of relative and competing value systems, self-reference, circular reasoning and ambiguity. Zenon's paradox, liar, Bertrand's paradox, Olber's paradox, raven paradox, prediction paradox, twin paradox.


  • B. Bolzano: Paradoxes of the Infinite. Reprinted in Darmstadt 1964
  • N. Falletta: Paradox. Munich 1985.