What Is a Paradox? (Definition and Examples)

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What Is a Paradox? (Definition and Examples)

A paradox is a statement or a concept that seems to be self-contradictory. In Logic, a paradox is a statement that contradicts itself absolutely. In everyday language, a paradoxical statement might only seem contradictory; it could well be sound. For example:
  • I always lie. (Logic)
  • (This would be accepted as a paradox in the Logic arena. If it's true, then it's not true.)
  • You can save money by spending it. (Everyday)
  • (This seems absurd, but it's possibly true. For example, spending money insulating your roof would reduce heating bills.)
In everyday language, paradoxical expressions can be impactful and memorable. Your audience will enjoy working out for themselves why your words are true despite their seemingly contradictory nature.

Examples of Paradox (Everyday)

Here are some more examples of everyday paradox. These are paradoxical statements that might be accurate.
  • When you increase your knowledge, you understand how little you know.
  • (In essence, your unknown unknowns become known unknowns.)
  • To shut down your computer, first click Start.
  • You have to be cruel to be kind.
  • Deep down, you're really shallow.
  • Less is more.
  • We need to go backwards to go forwards.

Examples of Paradox (Logic)

Here are some more examples of paradox. These are paradoxical statements that are genuinely self-contradictory.
  • Everything I say is a lie.
  • If you didn't get this message, call me.
  • Your mission is to not accept this mission? Do you accept?
  • No keyboard detected. Press F1 to continue.
  • Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. (Herbert Henry Asquith, 1852-1928)

An Oxymoron Is a Paradox

An oxymoron is a combination seemingly contradictory words. An oxymoron is typically a two-word construction. An oxymoron is a paradox. Here are some examples of oxymorons:
  • crash landing
  • dull shine
  • escaped prisoner
  • female gunman
  • fresh raisins
  • wise fool
  • bittersweet