Baffling Paradoxes—Finding Solutions or Not?

Peter Klein (Philosophy)

Paradoxes, as we will study them, are what appear to be perfectly valid arguments from premises that appear to be true to conclusions that seem false. Thus, they are baffling, and our question will be what to think about them. We will examine four paradoxes that concern 1) moral obligation, 2) the extent of our knowledge, 3) the possibility of there being a surprise quiz, and 4) the nature of motion. They conclude respectively: our moral judgments are not to be trusted, we know almost nothing, there can be no surprise quizzes, and there is no motion. We will examine each argument carefully and consider at least the following possible responses: Yikes, it shows what it claims to show; at least one of the premises is false; there is something wrong with the reasoning; or, maybe, there is no good response because our reasoning is simply unreliable. Our challenge will be to defend one (or more) of these responses or develop a better one.

Course Number: 
01:090:101 section 67 index 12554