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What are Paradoxes?

Cowie, Christopher

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According to a standard view, paradoxes are arguments with plausible premises that entail an implausible conclusion. This is false. In many paradoxes the premises are not plausible precisely because they entail an implausible conclusion. Obvious responses to this problem—including that the premises are individually plausible and that they are plausible setting aside the fact that they entail an implausible conclusion—are shown to be inadequate. A very different view of paradox is then introduced. This is a functionalist view according to which paradoxes are the kinds of things that puzzle people in characteristic ways. It is claimed that this view, too, fails and for the very same reason. The result is a new puzzle about the nature of paradoxes


Cowie, C. (2023). What are Paradoxes?. Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 9(1), 154-171.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Apr 11, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date May 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 18, 2023
Journal Journal of the American Philosophical Association
Print ISSN 2053-4477
Electronic ISSN 2053-4485
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 154-171


Published Journal Article (277 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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