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Paradox Examples

A paradox is a statement that seems false and yet might be true, e.g. "Truth is stranger than fiction." Most logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking. Paradox can prove to be very revealing about human nature and the way that we speak. If someone says to you "I'm a compulsive liar," do you believe them or not? That statement in itself is a paradox, because it is self contradictory, which is precisely what a paradox is. Though paradox normally creates humor, in literature however, paradox is not just a clever or comical statement or use of words. Paradox has serious implication, because it makes such statements that often summarize the major themes of the work they are used in. From George Orwell's Animal Farm, "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others". It is the concept of equality stated in this paradox which is opposite to the common belief of equality.

Unlike literature, in poetry, the use of paradox is not confined to mere wit and pleasure; rather, it becomes an integral part of poetic diction. Some types of paradox in poetry are meant to communicate a tone of irony to its readers as well as lead their thoughts to the immediate subject. Paradox in most poems normally strives to create feelings of intrigue and interest in readers' minds to make them think deeper and harder to enjoy the real message of the poem.
The Butterfly Effect.
Meaning: The sensitive dependency on initial conditions in which a small change at one place in a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.
Time
The Predestination.
Meaning: A man travels back in time to discover the cause of a famous fire. While in the building where the fire started, he accidentally knocks over a kerosene lantern and causes a fire, the same fire that would inspire him, years later, to travel back in time. The bootstrap paradox is closely tied to this, in which, as a result of time travel, information or objects appear to have no beginning.
Time
The Boostrap.
Meaning: Can a time traveler send himself information with no outside source? After information or an object is sent back in time, it is recovered in the present and becomes the very object/information that was initially brought back in time in the first place.
Time
Buridan's ass.
Meaning: How can a rational choice be made between two outcomes of equal value? This paradox refers to a hypothetical situation wherein an ass that is equally hungry and thirsty is placed precisely midway between a stack of hay and a pail of water. Since the paradox assumes the ass will always go to whichever is closer, it will die of both hunger and thirst since it cannot make any rational decision to choose one over the other.
Value
Diamond-water.
Meaning: Water is more useful than diamonds, yet is a lot cheaper.
Value
Grandfather.
Meaning: You travel back in time and kill your grandfather before he conceives one of your parents, which precludes your own conception and, therefore, you couldn't go back in time and kill your grandfather.
Time
Temporal.
Meaning: What happens when a time traveler does things in the past that prevent him from doing them in the first place?
Time
Olbers Paradox.
Meaning: Olbers paradox is the argument that the darkness of the night sky conflicts with the assumption of an infinite and eternal static universe.
Logical
The Unstoppable Force.
Meaning: What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
Logical
The Lottery.
Meaning: There is one winning ticket in a large lottery. It is reasonable to believe of a particular lottery ticket that it is not the winning ticket, since the probability that it is the winner is so very small, but it is not reasonable to believe that no lottery ticket will win.
Logical
The Catch-22.
Meaning: A situation in which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules.
Logical
The Barber.
Meaning: Suppose there is a town with just one barber, who is male. In this town, every man keeps himself clean-shaven, and he does so by doing exactly one of two things: shaving himself; or going to the barber.
Logical
The Paradox of the Stone.
Meaning: Can God create a stone so heavy He cant lift it? If his power is infinite, what happens when infinity is turned against itself?
Logical
The Tree in the Forest.
Meaning: If a tree falls in a forest does it make a sound?
Logical
Paradox Meaning
At the most basic level, a paradox is a statement that is self contradictory because it often contains two statements that are both true, but in general, cannot both be true at the same time. Paradox can prove to be very revealing about human nature and the way that we speak. If someone says to you "I'm a compulsive liar," do you believe them or not? That statement in itself is a paradox, because it is self contradictory, which is precisely what a paradox is.
Paradox Examples
My nose will grow now!