Book review: A brief history of the paradox by Roy Sorensen

The oldest recorded paradox is from Anaximander: “Does each thing have an origin?”
He answers no: there is an infinite being that sustains everything else but which is not grounded in any other thing. This answer tries to run away from the infinite loop created by the question, since everything that exists was created by a consequence of something before.
The past can be a challenge to explain, what about the future?
Does each thing end?, and now we are on the same challenge. If it ends, what happens next?

The book, starts with the first recorded paradox and continues through time and areas of knowledge, such as philosophy, science,etc, and you start to see how some paradoxes are just old paradoxes in other areas.

What I like about this book, it is not a catalog of paradoxes. For each paradox there is a history behind it, sometimes as a consequence of other paradoxes, and the author writes it very well.

You can find, in 24 chapters, near 400 pages, discussions such as:

  • Pythagoras’s Search for the Common Denominator
  • Socrates: The Paradox of Inquiry
  • Aquinas: Can God Have a Biography?
  • Kant and the Antinomy of Pure Reason
  • Russell’s Set
  • Ockham and the Insuolubilia
  • And the usual suspects such as the negative paradoxes and similares.

I love paradoxes, since they are the “living” proof that, limits exist in our thinking and science. They are the obstacles in our progress for a better understanding of the universe in every area. And as every obstacle, they exist to show our errors and works as an opportunity for us to be better.

There are several books about paradoxes, many of them work as a catalog. But this one, is not about specific paradoxes, but about the Paradox, and its history in different areas such as philosophy, science, religion and others.
I always love a good history, and when it is about paradoxes, that’s a plus.

You can find the book here: