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Puzzles and Paradoxes

When you'll study it
Semester 2
CATS points
15
ECTS points
7.5
Level
Level 7
Module lead
Giulia Felappi
Academic year
2021-22

Module overview

Socrates wants to cross a river and comes to a bridge guarded by Plato, who says: “Socrates, if you say something true, I will permit you to cross. But if you speak falsely, I shall throw you into the water.” Socrates answers: “You will throw me into the water”. It is clear that Socrates puts Plato in a difficult situation: He cannot throw Socrates into the water, because if he did he would violate his promise to let Socrates cross the bridge if he speaks the truth. On the other hand, if Plato allows Socrates to cross the bridge it would mean that Socrates spoke untruth. What should Plato do? This is a classic example of a philosophical paradox. Paradoxes, and related types of puzzles, have had a lot of attention in philosophy, particularly in philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics. But what are puzzles and paradoxes? Why have they always been considered so important in philosophy? What are the most famous puzzles and paradoxes in philosophy? This module aims at answering these questions by presenting some the most famous, challenging and intriguing puzzles and paradoxes that philosophers have provided us with. Since puzzles and paradoxes are indeed puzzling and paradoxical, the aim will primarily be to work out together the various solutions or dissolutions one might try out to solve the problems.

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