Philosophical Studies

, Volume 154, Issue 1, pp 149–159 | Cite as

The paradox of the question

  • Ryan WassermanEmail author
  • Dennis Whitcomb


What is the best question to ask an omniscient being? The question is intriguing; is it also paradoxical? We discuss several versions of what Ned Markosian calls “the paradox of the question” and suggest solutions to each of those puzzles. We then offer some practical advice about what do if you ever have the opportunity to query an omniscient being.


Paradox Question Markosian Self-reference 



Thanks to Aaron George, Adam Elga, Dan Howard-Snyder, Frances Howard-Snyder, Hud Hudson, David Manley, Joshua Schechter, Ned Markosian, Shieva Kleinschmidt, Steve Steward, Ted Sider, Achille Varzi, and an audience at Western Washington University.


  1. Markosian, N. (1997). The paradox of the question. Analysis, 57, 95–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Scott, A. D., & Scott, M. (1999). The paradox of the question. Analysis, 59, 331–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Sider, T. (1997). On the paradox of the question. Analysis, 57, 97–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Varzi, A. (2001). The best question. Journal of Philosophical Logic, 30, 251–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyWestern Washington UniversityBellinghamUSA

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