puzzles-paradoxes

Lecturer: Brian Rabern

Office hours: Online by appointment


Email: brian.rabern[at]ed.ac.uk


All detailed infomation for this course is on the LEARN site.

Course description. Paradoxes have formed a central topic of philosophical investigation, stretching back from Zeno of Elea up to David Lewis. Paradoxes figure both in influential arguments for philosophical theses and in famous (alleged) refutations of philosophical theses. This course provides an overview of a number of famous philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and important attempts to solve them. In so doing students will be introduced to some important issues in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, decision theory, and formal epistemology. The course will put emphasis on both methodology and philosophical content.



Course Texts:


  • Sorensen (2005) A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind, Oxford University Press.


  • Sainsbury (2009) Paradoxes, Cambridge University Press.


  • Clark (2012) Paradoxes from A to Z, Routledge.


week

date

topic

read

group

1

Sainsbury: 1-3; Sorensen: 1-18



2

The liar paradox

Sainsbury: 127-138; Sorensen: 93-96;

Clark: 118-125;

SEP: Liar paradox

3

Russell's paradox

Sainsbury: 123-127; Sorensen: 316-332; Clark: 211-216;

SEP: Russell's paradox

4

Paradox of the question

5

The sorites paradox

Sainsbury: 40-68; Sorensen: 96-99;

Clark: 86-93;

SEP: Sorites paradox

Flexible Learning Week





6

Cartwright's paradox

7

Surprise exam

Sainsbury: 107-120 Clark: 256-258;

SEP: Epistemic paradoxes

8

Muddy children

Clark: 144-147;

xkcd: blue eyes

 

9

Newcomb's paradox

Sainsbury: 69-82;

Clark: 150-154;

SEP: Newcomb's paradox

              

10

St. Petersburg paradox

Sorensen: 232-234; Clark: 217-220;

SEP: St. Petersburg paradox

11

The truth machines


Assessment:


Online Presentations: 20% of final grade

Guidelines


Final essay: 80% of final grade

2500 words

due: April 2020