6 Paradoxes That You Can’t Get Out of The Deal When You Hear

Arzu Dokuzoğlu

Arzu Dokuzoğlu

İTÜ-Kimya Müh.

27 April 2021

The paradox is that an apparently correct expression creates contradiction. Although its definition may seem boring, it is actually thoughts that foster fun and abstract thinking. Paradoxes can occur spontaneously, as well as paradoxes created by mathematicians and famous thinkers. Such paradoxes may lead to new discoveries in mathematics and science, while changing the way of thinking.


1) Epimenides Paradox

The Epimenides Paradox is a logical paradox. “Cretans are always liars.” said Epimenides, a Cretan philosopher. This expression is called the Epimenides Paradox. The reason is:

1. If all Cretans are liars, Epimenides must also be a liar because he is Cretan. If Epimenides is a liar, the phrase “All Cretans are liars” would be a lie, as they say. If we believe he is telling the truth, we understand that he is lying. So, this statement is both true and false.

2. If we accept the suggestion that all Cretans are liars, Epimenides, who is Cretan, must have said it correctly. Then the statement “All Cretans are liars” should be true. We’re confused, aren’t we?

3. And finally, a proposition cannot be both right and wrong.


2) Theseus’s Ship

The Ship of Theseus, which is a philosophical paradox, according to the Greek legend, the ship that returns with victory from Crete is kept as a souvenir in Athens for a long time. Over time, parts of the ship begin to rot and is replaced with new ones. After a while, there were no parts on the ship that were not replaced. In this case, is the ship still a Ship of Theseus or another ship?


3) Grandpa Paradox

Let’s say that someone who travels to the past goes back and kills his grandfather without meeting his grandmother. In this case, his existence will not be possible. But then he couldn’t go back and kill his grandfather. There are theories that say this situation can be explained by parallel universes. According to one of these theories, even if the person who killed his grandfather did not live in the future, he could survive in the time period he killed his grandfather, after his grandfather died, the universe branched out and continues to live in another universe.


4) Euplides (Sand Stack) Paradox

Euplides claimed that sand grains could not be formed because no grain of sand is a “stack”. In other words, it is not possible to create a pile by adding a grain of sand on something that is not stacked. In a clearer way, what’s the limit for being a stack? So, let’s say 1 million pieces of sand form a pile.


5) Cannibal Paradox

A logician falls into the hands of cannibals on the island. Cannibals say that they eat every stranger that falls into their hands, and they decide how will they cook their food by asking a question to strangers; if they answer the question correctly, they boil; if they answer it wrong, they fry their food. “Are we going to eat you boiling, frying?” they ask. The logician thinks for a while and answers: by frying! Cannibals fall into a dilemma here, and the paradox begins here. If they were planning to fry it, the logician will have given the correct answer. If they were planning to boil it, the logician would have given the wrong answer, this time they should eat it by frying. So, the logician gets rid of cannibals.


6) King Paradox

The king opens a competition in his country. When he meets a lie that make him to say “This is a lie!”, he tells the owner of the lie that he will give him a cube of gold. The liars flocked to the palace and listed the lies one by one. However, there was no lie satisfying the king.

Then a man came with an empty cube in his hand and said:

-When your grandfather went to war at one time and he borrowed a cube of gold from my grandfather because there was not enough gold in the treasury. Your grandfather promised him to pay the debt to his grandson. Now it’s time to pay your debt.

When the king reacted, “This is really a lie,” the man asked for his reward. However, when the king, who did not want to give the prize, said, “Maybe it could be,” then the man said, “Then pay your debt.”.

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