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Are there any real paradoxes? Answered

I'm interested in paradoxes, like "You cannot prove a negative" as a statement of fact.
Because I'm thinking these things are only apparent paradoxes, and I'd like some more to think about.





Best Answer 5 years ago

Statements of language can easily be "real" paradoxes, because language is imprecise, and generally paradoxes of language rely on multiple, incompatible interpretations.

Paradoxes of math or science are generally assumed to be apparent, as a corollary of the assumption that the Universe in intrinsically self-consistent. If we observe, or infer, inconsistent behaviour, then the error is assumed to be our own.

I like that answer (I'm a not a Mathematician though), I apply a math or science view to statements of language much of the time.


Doxes don't come in pairs, they only come as singles.

I once knew a husband and wife who were both docs. So, yes, there are.

I don't understand the problem there, it happens quite often.

(Unless you mean Doc's?)



Lots to think about.

"Briefly, the story runs as follows: Uncle Joe and Uncle Jim are walking to the barber shop. There are three barbers who live and work in the shop—Allen, Brown, and Carr—but not all of them are always in the shop. Carr is a good barber, and Uncle Jim is keen to be shaved by him. He knows that the shop is open, so at least one of them must be in. He also knows that Allen is a very nervous man, so that he never leaves the shop without Brown going with him.

Uncle Joe insists that Carr is certain to be in, and then claims that he can prove it logically. Uncle Jim demands the proof. Uncle Joe reasons as follows.

Suppose that Carr is out. If Carr is out, then if Allen is also out Brown would have to be in—since someone must be in the shop for it to be open. However, we know that whenever Allen goes out he takes Brown with him, and thus we know as a general rule that if Allen is out, Brown is out. So if Carr is out then the statements "if Allen is out then Brown is in" and "if Allen is out then Brown is out" would both be true at the same time.

Uncle Joe notes that this seems paradoxical; the hypotheticals seem "incompatible" with each other. So, by contradiction, Carr must logically be in."

Paradoxes always rely on the lack of precision in language. What means one thing to me means something else to you

UK Biscuits - USA Cookies (actually no, because cookies are generally soft and biscuits are hard.)

UK Wardrobe - USA Closet (in the UK a water closet is a Toilet)

In the US a bathroom is where the toilet is kept, usually. Also called a washroom. But then there are still out houses around also.

If a tree falls in the forest and it lands in front of your outhouse, do you make a sound?  Would it depend on if you were inside or outside?


The grass is always greener ---- around the outhouse.

Two is company, three is standing room only.

So, just what is a group effort?

Contemplation or conversation stopper?

Why you don't stay mad at each other, especially when it is 20 below zero outside.


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

(Unless someone used the bush as an outhouse)...

The above is a his and hers outhouse, can you tell which side belonged to who?

All I know is they need a partition. o_0

OK, well that is one answer. I was hoping to draw you into the paradox. Most people would say the one with the seat up is the guys. However, what you don't know is that it is adjacent to very large (and long abandoned) house with what appears to be 5 bedrooms. That implies that it was a large family that lived here. With a 50/50 chance of having boys and/or girls it is highly likely that there were both boys and girls living here. With everyone using the outhouse there is no way to tell who was the last and in fact it could have even been a person wandering by who last used it. In addition in the rurals boys (males) are more inclined to "mark their territory" rather than walk all the way back from a barn to use an outhouse. So that cuts down on the probability that it was last used by a male. So the paradox is that although it is common knowledge that men tend to leave the toilet seat up and thus it would appear that it was a his and hers with the man using the right hand side in reality it is not possible to say because of the large number of people involved. So there at first appears to be a common sense answer but after examining the facts one finds that there is no way of proving what appears to be because the picture fits with any number of explanations.
Another question is who painted it pink and why?

lol... "I wasn't born yesterday" - Another strange paradox. To imply that you are more intelligent than that (as in 'you were not born yesterday'), is a little strange, because had you been born yesterday (and could engage in conversation), you would be a genius of epic proportions.

It's a rhetorical-statement of fact, the meaning is essentially "I ain't as stupid* as you think that I am".


*young in the mind

"if Allen is out then Brown is in" is false, and if Carr is out then "if Allen is out then Brown is out" is not the case.
If can never happen where rules prevent it.


They are all three on vacation and they hired a fill in barber for the time they are gone. Thus the first premise is wrong as the none of them need to be there for it to be open.

Further, how can all three live and work in the same place? There would have to be apartments that are separate from the shop and thus they could all be home but the shop would not be open if they were all sleeping. Again the first assumed fact is incorrect thus making the logic sequence inaccurate.

I should also mention that people often do not function in a logical manor. That was one of the main sub themes in Star Trek with Spock always wanting to be logical and Kirk often solving unsolvable problems because he worked in an illogical manor.

A case in point---- I just had my 28 year old Troy Built Horse rototiller stolen. It weighs over 300 lbs. They waited for me to leave and drove a truck up to the garden and struggled to load it up. It is to big to be used for small gardens, it is to old to sell to someone and make a lot of profit. They walked right by more valuable things and didn't even notice. The tiller has a serial number which is now on record with the sherif's office. Its not a common thing in the area.
While filling out the crime report the deputy commented that there had been a rash of lawnmower thefts in the small town next to here. But they caught that guy when he sold a stolen lawnmower to the brother in law of the guy he stole it from. It just makes no sense.

A man is in a prison and told he will be executed before the weekend but that he will not know which day it is that he will be executed. The man starts to think:

If I havent been executed by thursday I know it must be on friday but since they say I wont know when it is it cant be on friday.
Therefore if I havent been executed by wednesday I know it must be on thursday but since they say I wont know when it is it cant be on thursday.
Therefore if I havent been executed by tuesday I know it must be on wednesday but since they say I wont know when it is it cant be on wednesday.
Therefore if I havent been executed by monday I know it must be on tuesday but since they say I wont know when it is it cant be on tuesday.
Therefore I will be executed on monday but since they say I wont know when it is it cant be on monday.

By having logically excluded all days because he would know when he would be executed he ended up being completely unable to tell when he was going to be executed.

(not sure if it is a true paradox but interesting thought experiment non the less)

The opening statement "he will not know which day it is" is false, excepting that they kill him while he's unconscious (e.g. asleep).
The closing statement is only true until it happens.


The best one that is heard quite often (and bugs me), is "A near miss". Like 2 planes that nearly hit each other but didn't... They didn't nearly miss each other. They missed hitting each other.

IDK if that's a true paradox per se, but its one that bugs me nonetheless.

It's bad-language, and essentially meaningless.
A miss is a miss, but it sounds better than a "nearly-collision" and that's why they use "near-miss".


I agree its a poor choice of words.

Saying its "a near miss" suggest the possibility of "a far miss". In which case, all planes flying the skies are "far misses".... no? lol

But that's not what a "near miss" means. It means "missed nearby", as opposed to "distant miss." A "near miss" in general safety terms is an incident whch came close to (i.e. "near") causing injury or deal, due to some failure of equipment or procedure, but did not actually do so (i.e., a "miss").

I understand what it means, I just think its a poor choice of words.... like, "its raining cats and dogs".... say wha? o_0 (but when you hear it, you know what they mean).

I know what you mean! It's kind of like, "Hose off, ya hoser!" What does that mean, anyway? ;-D

Probably the same thing as "Don't have a cow, man!" :P

Why a duck, ohhhh, don't make me post that Marx brothers clip again.

Vie a duck when you could use a chicken? :)