4 Examples of Oxymora in Romeo and Juliet – a study guide

The main theme of Romeo and Juliet is of course love – but there are so many levels of depth in the play that it would be near impossible to go through all of them without embarking on a journey to madness of sorts. Just like Macbeth that I discussed previously, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet too is filled with contradictory and paradoxical statements. Given my interest in paradoxes, I will focus only on this particular […]

‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’

Some two years ago I wrote this post defining what a paradox is and how it is used on this website. In there, I also gave as an example of paradoxes Orwell’s well-known quotations, appearing in all kinds of articles: ‘War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength’. It is, I think, high time to return to an idea from two years ago, and give my take on these paradoxical statements. It is assumed […]

Zeno’s paradoxes

Zeno of Elea (c. 490 – c. 430 BC) is one of the most enigmatic pre-Socratic philosophers. Though none of his own works have survived, there are fragmentary mentions of his on the classics like Aristotle and Plato. He was a member of the Eleatic School and, according to Plato at least, aimed to reinfoced Parmenides’s arguments (Parmenides being the founder of the school). While we know very little of Zeno himself, other than some […]

6 Paradoxes in Macbeth – a study guide

Macbeth is known for its paradoxes and there are many of them in the play. Though I am by no means an expert in drama, and in fact my main appreciation of Shakespeare is in Hamlet (for madness) and Othello (for being an outsider with an ability to seduce). I have read most of his sonnets, and I still think them rather dull (sorry Shakespeare fans). And yet, despite these admissions, I will also admit […]

Friedrich Nietzsche and Lou von Salomé, the myth of marriage proposals

The following is not really a paradox as such, but rather falls into the category that I call ‘philosophy gossip’. It could still be thought of as a paradox, but then in the Greek sense of the word – something that is “contrary to common belief”. There is also a double paradox that is the result of the following analysis; though my primary aim here is to shed some light on a historical misrepresentation that […]

Paradox of the political – Benjamin Arditi

In a long time of absence, a lot of thoughts come to mind. And yet, it remains very difficult to write about them. Everywhere one looks, he encounters one paradox or another – and yet, little writing is a result. My phone is by now full of paradoxes to write about. So an attempt has to be made to make the list somewhat smaller. Today’s paradox is to be found in Benjamin Arditi’s view of […]

‘Why write?’, or Blanchot’s double paradox of writing, through Hegel’s paradox of action

Hegel’s paradox of action The paradox of action for Hegel is that I can only discover who I am by acting, but acting already presupposes that I know who I am: ‘an individual cannot know what he really is until he has made himself a reality through action’. [The Spiritual Animal Kingdom, in Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit]. This means that he already has to determine the end of his action [that is, the end in […]

Philosophy jokes – part 3 (Why did the chicken cross the road?)

Adams, Douglas: Forty-two. Aristotle: To actualize its potential. Blake, William: To see heaven in a wild fowl. Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature. Chaucer, Geoffrey: So priketh hem nature in hir corages. Constable: To get a better view. Cosell, Howard: It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history.  An historic, unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo […]

The Fermi Paradox, or ‘Where the hell are they?’ and ‘They are made out of meat!’

The Fermi paradox is quite well known in the community of the scientists and pseudo-scientists alike. In simple terms, it simply does not make sense that we, as human beings, are the only intelligent life form in the universe. Seeing the vast amount of stars, probability of existence of other intelligent life forms beyond our planet stands in contradiction to our knowledge of them. Enrico Fermi summarises it as such: The Sun is a typical star, and relatively young. There are […]

Philosophy jokes – part 2 (therefore p)

Anselm: I can entertain an idea of the most perfect state of affairs inconsistent with not-p. If this state of affairs does not obtain then it is less than perfect, for an obtaining state of affairs is better than a non-obtaining one; so the state of affairs inconsistent with not-p obtains; therefore it is proved, etc. Brandom: Sellars has established to McDowell’s and my satisfaction that p. Therefore p. Brandom (alternative): Sellars argues that p. […]