Question: Is a paradox possible?

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  1. Hmm. A paradox is something that is seemingly contradictory. Say when you take some initial assumptions, apply some rules, and end up with a result that is inconsistent with the initial assumptions. What this usually means is that either your initial assumptions were wrong, or that the rules used were incorrect.

    They are handy as they highlight things we don’t understand, or don’t clearly state.

    An example – “If I could travel back in time, I could kill my grandfather. So then I wouldn’t exist to go back in time to kill my grandfather.” This is a paradox – but based on the assumption that time travel is possible! So maybe that assumption is wrong!

    Maybe its not, but there are other things that stop you killing your grandfather. Cue plot line for hundreds of science fiction novels! 🙂


  2. A classic example of an apparent paradox is the wide spread belief that the Bumblebee (Bombus sp.) should not be capable of flight. Early work in the area suggested that in terms of the size of the wing and number of beats per second, it was simply incapable of doing so. However they do!
    As investigation methods improved it became apparent the early calculations were too simplistic. As scientists began to understand more about the effects of insects size, airflow over the wings and volume of air moved – it was shown scientifically, as we already knew, Bumblebees are able to fly.
    People can also be said to paradoxical, if they have belief systems or behaviours that are apparently inconsistent with one another – which is the realm of the Psychologist.


  3. Clearly a complex area and one that brain & behavioural scientists could inform


  4. Matthew’s answer sums it up very nicely. In general a paradox is something is used to highlight something we don’t understand, usually because we often make assumptions that are not valid.