Paradox Lost

Logical Solutions to Ten Puzzles of Philosophy

  • Michael Huemer

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxvii
  2. Michael Huemer
    Pages 1-14
  3. Semantic Paradoxes

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Michael Huemer
      Pages 17-44
    3. Michael Huemer
      Pages 45-88
  4. Paradoxes of Rational Choice

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-89
    2. Michael Huemer
      Pages 91-106
    3. Michael Huemer
      Pages 107-132
    4. Michael Huemer
      Pages 133-147
    5. Michael Huemer
      Pages 149-158
  5. Paradoxes of Probability

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 159-159
    2. Michael Huemer
      Pages 161-202
    3. Michael Huemer
      Pages 203-207
    4. Michael Huemer
      Pages 209-218
    5. Michael Huemer
      Pages 219-243
    6. Michael Huemer
      Pages 245-253
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 255-260

About this book


Paradox Lost covers ten of philosophy’s most fascinating paradoxes, in which seemingly compelling reasoning leads to absurd conclusions. The following paradoxes are included: 

  • The Liar Paradox, in which a sentence says of itself that it is false. Is the sentence true or false?
  • The Sorites Paradox, in which we imagine removing grains of sand one at a time from a heap of sand. Is there a particular grain whose removal converts the heap to a non-heap?
  • The Puzzle of the Self-Torturer, in which a series of seemingly rational choices has us accepting a life of excruciating pain, in exchange for millions of dollars.
  • Newcomb’s Problem, in which we seemingly maximize our expected profit by taking an unknown sum of money, rather than taking the same sum plus $1000.
  • The Surprise Quiz Paradox, in which a professor finds that it is impossible to give a surprise quiz on any particular day of the week . . . but also that if this is so, then a surprise quiz can be given on any day.
  • The Two Envelope Paradox, in which we are asked to choose between two indistinguishable envelopes, and it is seemingly shown that each envelope is preferable to the other.
  • The Ravens Paradox, in which observing a purple shoe provides evidence that all ravens are black.
  • The Shooting Room Paradox, in which a deadly game kills 90% of all who play, yet each individual’s survival turns on the flip of a fair coin.

Each paradox is clearly described, common mistakes are explored, and a clear, logical solution offered. Paradox Lost will appeal to professional philosophers, students of philosophy, and all who love intellectual puzzles.


paradoxes logic reasoning semantics Sorites Newcomb intellectual puzzle

Authors and affiliations

  • Michael Huemer
    • 1
  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulder, COUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-90489-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-90490-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site