Philosophy 20229: Paradoxes
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Date Topic Reading
Wednesday, January 15
What is a paradox?
Paradoxes of space and time
Monday, January 20
Zeno’s paradoxes
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, ch. 1
Wednesday, January 22
Kant’s antinomies
Kant, "The antinomy of pure reason" (excerpt)
extra readings
Monday, January 27
Paradoxes of special relativity
Einstein, Relativity (excerpt)
extra readings
Wednesday, January 29
Quantum mechanics and superposition
Albert, "Superposition"
extra readings
Monday, February 3
McTaggart’s proof of the unreality of time
McTaggart, "Time" (excerpt)    
Metaphysical paradoxes
Wednesday, February 5
Material objects: composition and constitution
Sider, "Constitution"    
Monday, February 10 Material objects, continued none    
Wednesday, February 12
Paradoxes of personal identity: teletransportation, split brains, & immaterial souls
Parfit, "Divided minds and the nature of persons"
extra readings
Monday, February 17
Fate and the master argument
Aristotle, De Interpretatione (selection)
Epictetus, Discourses (selection)
Taylor, "Fate"
extra readings
Wednesday, February 19
The impossibility of free will
van Inwagen, "The powers of rational beings: freedom of the will"
Friday, February 21 1st paper due
Monday, February 24 Midterm exam (covers paradoxes of space & time and metaphysical paradoxes)
Wednesday, February 26 & Monday, March 3 Class canceled
Theological paradoxes
Wednesday, March 5
The paradox of heaven and hell
Sider, "Hell and vagueness"    
Spring break
Monday, March 17
The paradox of the stone
Aquinas, "Whether God is omnipotent?"
extra readings
Wednesday, March 19
The argument from evil
Mackie, "Evil and omnipotence"
extra readings
Monday, March 24
The Trinity and contradiction
The Athanasian Creed
extra readings
Paradoxes of belief & action
Wednesday, March 26
Newcomb’s problem
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, pp. 69-81
Monday, March 31 2nd paper due
The prisoner’s dilemma
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, pp. 82-87
Wednesday, April 2
The St. Petersburg & two-envelope paradoxes
Clark, "The St. Petersburg Paradox"
extra readings
Monday, April 7
Paradoxes of confirmation
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, pp. 90-106
Wednesday, April 9
The surprise exam
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, pp. 107-114
extra readings
Monday, April 14
Sleeping beauty
Elga, "Self-locating belief and the sleeping beauty problem"
extra readings
Wednesday, April 16
The lottery paradox
Hawthorne, Knowledge and Lotteries (excerpt)  
Easter break
Logical paradoxes
Wednesday, April 23

The sorites
[guest lecture: Peter Finocchiaro]

Sainsbury, Paradoxes, ch. 3
Monday, April 28 3rd paper due
The liar
[guest lecture: Andrew Brenner]
Sainsbury, Paradoxes, ch. 6
extra readings
The end of the world
Wednesday, April 30
The doomsday argument
Leslie, The End of the World (excerpt)
extra readings
Tuesday, May 6, from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. in 102 DeBartolo Final exam (covers theological paradoxes, paradoxes of belief & action, and logical paradoxes)