# what is a paradox? how do you explain it?

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what is a paradox? how do you explain it?

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A paradox is when one part of a statement/situation directly conflicts with/disproves another part of the same statement/situation.

I’m not a dictionary but my definition: A paradox is a statement that essentially seems logical, or is founded on good sense, but seems to result a nonsensical, impossible, or self-contradictory answer.

I would use “This sentence is false” as an example of a paradox.

Some paradoxes are “True”, like the above, in that they can’t possibly be explained or unraveled to a coherent answer.

Some paradoxes are “False” in that they can be explained down to a coherent answer. An example of a false paradox might be classical relativity which states that two people might make perfectly accurate and correct measurements of an objects speed and get different results. This would paradoxically imply that an object could be in two different places at once (which is impossible accordingly to classic physics). This paradox can be explained and solved using the logic and math of Relativity which shows that an object *can* have different speed measurements, but still be physically located in a single place.

Here’s a famous example: “this statement is false.” Is that statement true or false?

If it’s true, then it is false. If it’s false, then it is not false, so it must be true. It cannot be resolved with logic.

A paradox is a statement or idea that seems to contradict itself logically.

For example, let’s say you build a time machine to travel back in time to kill your grandfather. If your grandfather is killed before your parent is born, then a paradox is created because then how could you have been born and built the time machine to go back and kill the grandfather?

Another paradox would be created if you take a card and write “the other side of this card is true” and then on the other side you write “the other side of this card is false”.

There are two types of paradox.

Others have mostly talked about the self contradictions like going back in time and killing your grandfather before your father was born, or sentences like “this sentence is false”.

The other kind of paradox is things that appear to be absurd or wrong, but are actually corrected on closer inspection. One example is the twins paradox: Imagine twins, where one twin gets in a spaceship and travels nearly the speed of light for a ten years, then turns around and comes back to earth, taking another ten years. Einstein’s law of special relativity tells us that when the twins are reunited, the one that stayed on earth will be nearly twenty years older that the traveller. This is on its face absurd. The theory works very well, but gives this unbelievable result, so it is called a paradox. This type of paradox has a solution though: the traveling twin really will be nearly twenty years younger, even though it seems hard to believe.