A Cabinet of Philosophical Curiosities: A Collection of Puzzles, Oddities, Riddles, and Dilemmas

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Oxford University Press, Apr 7, 2016 - Philosophy
Will you answer this question in the same way that you will answer my next question? Done? Good! Will you buy this book?. Inside you will discover that your only truthful answer to this second question is affirmative. Logic has made some men rich. Inside this book you will learn of John Eck (who debated Luther in 1519). He Will you answer this question in the same way that you will answer my next question? Done? Good! Will you buy this book? Inside you will discover that your only truthful answer to this second question is affirmative. A Cabinet of Philosophical Curiosities is a colorful collection of puzzles and paradoxes, both historical and contemporary, by philosopher Roy Sorensen. Taking inspiration from Ian Stewart's Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, which assembled interesting "maths" from outside the classroom into a miscellany of marvels, these puzzles are ready to be enjoyed independently but gain mutual support when read in clusters. The volume ranges from simple examples to anomalous anomalies, considers data that seems to confirm a generalization while lowering its probability, and argues that we are doomed to believe infinitely many contradictions-and that the pain of contradictions can be profoundly stimulating.Inside this book you will learn of John Eck, who debated Luther in 1519. He devised a sequence of contracts that sidestepped usury laws, and German bankers made a fortune from this Triple Contract. Sorensen also recounts how Voltaire set himself up for life by exploiting a fallacy in the construction of a Parisian lottery. There is logic for altruists, too. You will discover how General Benjamin Butler used other-centric reasoning to protect runaway slaves. There are historical snapshots of logic in action, and the book contains tributes to Lewis Carroll, Arthur Prior, and Peter Geach. In addition to short essays, there are dialogues, cures and insults.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Conform to Confound
7
Razing Hopes
8
Hidden Messages in Songs
9
A Blessed Book Curse
10
Listen for a Counterexample
11
Schopenhauers Intelligence Test
12
A Knucklehead on My Premises
13
Advice from Shih Teng
122
Thales Shady Measurement of Pyramids
124
The Cowpox Transmission Problem
125
An Antipodal Algorithm
126
The Invisibility of Function Words
127
Necessary Waste
133
The Art of the Counterexample
135
The Philosophy of Scale Effects
138

The Tversky Intelligence Test
14
A Matter of Life and Death
16
Indiscernible Pills
17
A Pebble from the Baths of Caracalla
18
Assassination Proof
20
Lewis Carrolls Peek at Menos Slave Boy
23
The Elderly Scientist
24
Emily Dickinsons Hummingbird
26
Telepathy for the AbsentMinded
27
Order of Absence versus Absence of Order
28
Child Proof
30
Wittgensteins Parallelograms
35
Freud versus the Dreaming Logicians
37
Do Butterflies Dream?
39
Descartess Disappearance
42
The Most Fairly Distributed Good
44
What the Dishwasher Missed
46
Developmental SelfDefeat
49
Greshams Law of Numbers
50
Laziest Reductio
52
The Twin Cities Race
53
Deducing Names
54
Richard Feynman is Inconsistent
57
Galbraiths Cow
59
Logical Names for Babies
60
Being Relatively IllNamed
62
Roman Resemblance Humour
63
The PrisonHouse of Language
64
The Pierre Puzzle and Implicit Racism
66
Eyebrow Punctuation
67
Putting Out Your Second Eye
68
A Pyramid Schema
72
The Eighteenth Camel
74
The Negation Test for Nonsense
75
Shifty Os
78
A Plenum of Palindromes for Lewis Carroll
79
Pining for the Impossible
83
Anything Is Possible?
86
Half Full or Half Empty?
87
The Scientific Drinker
89
Is Akrasia Crazy?
92
A Cure for Incontinence
93
Lewis Carrolls Pig Puzzles
94
A Round Trip from Small to Large
97
Contrapositive Thinking
98
Queer Quantities
101
New Zealands Arthur Prior
103
Most Remote Capital City
106
Predicting Your Predictor
107
The Freedom of a Coin Toss
108
Fair Tosses from an Unfair Coin
109
Wittgenstein on Ice
111
Impossible Crimes
113
Double Belief
114
The Evil of Doing the Impossible
115
Identity Theft
116
Infinite TwoMinute Debate
117
Indian Debate Tournament
118
Winning by Losing
119
Minimising Selfishness
120
Lawrence of Arabia Collars a Leopard
121
Humble Exercise
142
Philosophy for the Eye
143
Synthetic A Priori Lies
155
Passive A Priori Deception
157
Crete Revisited
159
Less Lucky the Second Time?
160
Nothing Is Written in Stone
163
The Philosophers Petition
164
Handicaps on Deduction
165
Logical Insults
167
Blasphemous Tautologies
169
Generality Jokes and Consistency Proofs
172
To Be and Not to Be
174
The Triple Contract
178
Voltaires Big Bet
179
Biblical Counting
180
The First Female Philosopher?
183
Is a Burrito a Sandwich?
185
Second Place
186
The Drachmas Defect
187
Illogical Coin Collecting
189
A Meeting of Minds
190
Deadliest Gettier Case
191
Premature Explanatory Satiation
195
UpsideDown Charity
198
Does Charity Apply to Group Beliefs?
199
Following the Argument
200
A Foolproof Guessing Game
201
Predicting Your Death Date
202
The Oldest Mosque
203
The Referees Dilemma
204
A Terrible Tautology?
206
Quantifier Mottos
207
Christmas Eve364
209
Putting Parody into Practice
210
Hoax Proof
211
Penny Wise
212
Platos Punning Riddle
213
Chess Puzzle Puzzle
214
The Moment of Truth
215
Preventing Prevarication
217
Argument and Oscar Wildes The Decay of Lying
218
Ethics of Supposition
219
Behaviourism for Eggs
223
The Egg Came Before the Ellipse
224
Indiscernible Harm
225
An Unjust but Fair Obituary
229
Reflective Truth Tables
230
The Bikini Palindrome
232
Family Resemblance for Primates
233
Minimal Resemblance
235
BrotherinLaw Resemblance
236
Tolstoys Syllogism
239
Woody Allens Death Wish
241
A Memory Lapse
242
The Penultimate State
243
Meditations on the Headstone of Adam Ferguson
244
The Answers
251
Acknowledgements
290
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About the author (2016)

Roy Sorensen is a professor of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of Seeing Dark Things, A Brief History of the Paradox, Vagueness and Contradiction, Pseudo-Problems, Thought Experiments and Blindspots.

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