A Brief History of the Paradox

A Brief History of the Paradox : Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind

3.71 (250 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Expected delivery to the United States in 9-12 business days.

Not ordering to the United States? Click here.


Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift? Can time have a beginning? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Riddles, paradoxes, conundrums-for millennia the human mind has found such knotty logical problems both perplexing and irresistible.
Now Roy Sorensen offers the first narrative history of paradoxes, a fascinating and eye-opening account that extends from the ancient Greeks, through the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment, and into the twentieth century. When Augustine asked what God was doing before He made the world, he was told: "Preparing hell for people who ask questions like that." A Brief History of the Paradox takes a close look at "questions like that" and the philosophers who have asked them, beginning with
the folk riddles that inspired Anaximander to erect the first metaphysical system and ending with such thinkers as Lewis Carroll, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and W.V. Quine. Organized chronologically, the book is divided into twenty-four chapters, each of which pairs a philosopher with a major paradox, allowing for
extended consideration and putting a human face on the strategies that have been taken toward these puzzles. Readers get to follow the minds of Zeno, Socrates, Aquinas, Ockham, Pascal, Kant, Hegel, and many other major philosophers deep inside the tangles of paradox, looking for, and sometimes finding, a way out.
Filled with illuminating anecdotes and vividly written, A Brief History of the Paradox will appeal to anyone who finds trying to answer unanswerable questions a paradoxically pleasant endeavor.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 412 pages
  • 128 x 176 x 26mm | 404g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • numerous line drawings
  • 0195179862
  • 9780195179866
  • 443,293

Review quote

...one might perhaps think of Sorensen's book as a philosophical entertainment ... a raconteur * W.D. Hart, Mind *
show more

About Roy Sorensen

Roy Sorensen is Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College.
show more

Rating details

250 ratings
3.71 out of 5 stars
5 22% (54)
4 39% (97)
3 30% (76)
2 7% (18)
1 2% (5)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X