Roy Sorensen is Professor of Philosophy at Dartmouth College.
Sorensen (philosophy, Dartmouth) argues that paradoxes are "atoms of philosophy" out of which philosophical systems are constructed. A paradox is a question or argument that seems to have too many answers. Kant, for example, claimed that equally good arguments show that the universe has always existed and that it has existed only for a finite time. Faced with equally valid arguments to contradictory conclusions, what is one to do? Sorensen gives a historical account, ranging from the Greeks to Quine, of how various philosophers have coped with paradoxes. Among the paradoxes discussed are the liar, the surprise examination, Goodman's new riddle of induction, and the sorites, an argument with many premises and a single conclusion, on which Sorensen is one of the world's leading experts. He explains difficult material, such as Cantor's diagonal argument and Wittgenstein on following a rule, in a way that is both easy to follow and illuminating. Sorensen's book gives readers an excellent account not only of paradoxes but also of the whole course of philosophy. Highly recommended.-David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
"Because paradoxes show great minds at once at their most inspired and befuddled, a book like this makes an excellent introduction to philosophy in general. By treating how different thinkers deal with a problem, Mr. Sorensen provides a sort of whistle-stop tour of Western thought."--New York Sun "Because paradoxes show great minds at once at their most inspired and befuddled, a book like this makes an excellent introduction to philosophy in general. By treating how different thinkers deal with a problem, Mr. Sorensen provides a sort of whistle-stop tour of Western thought."--New York Sun "One of the most enjoyable books I read this past year, though I don't share Sorenson's conception of philosophy. To fully appreciate the book--and to adequately assess it--you would need to be a philosopher, which I am not. But for general readers with a strong interest in philosophy, it's an unbeatable bedside book, witty and stimulating if taken in small doses."--John Wilson, Christianity Today "High-interest material for recreational philosophers."--Booklist "Clear, informative, well-documented, witty, intelligent--an enticing philosophical adventure that will captivate the attention of scholars and neophytes alike. A wonderful portrait of philosophy through the history of its most bewildering issues."--Achille Varzi, Columbia University