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What is a paradox? It is a valid statement - which means it that it is 'legitimate' in some way, but appears to be wrong or self-contradictory at the same time. For example, try by playing the game of inventing a statement which is of the type such as:

"The barber shaves all men in the village who do not shave themselves" and then posing a question - "who shaves the barber?" If you think about it, you will see that:

  • barber is shaving all men in the village who do not shave themselves, then he should not be shaving himself,
  • but if he is not shaving himself, he should be because he shaves all the men in his village who do not shave themselves.

Epiminides of Crete, who lived in 6 th century BC, was allegedly the first person to record a paradox of this kind.

This particular story can be retold in many ways.   Some are given below. Try to resolve them and see where you get!

"One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies."

So now you can argue that, if a Cretian says "the Cretians are always liars", this statement includes the Cretian who was quoted, and as he is included as liar himself what he says is not true. If it is not true, than that means that Cretians are not liars, but that makes a paradox of the initial statement.

Another one:

"I am lying" is only true if it is false, and vice versa.


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