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Definition

A seemingly nonsensical statement that might actually be true.

Examples

From "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland":

"'Take some more tea,' the March hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
'I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, 'so I can't take more.'
'You mean you can't take less,' said the Hatter. 'It's very easy to take more than nothing.'"

It sounds like a ridiculous conversation, but the March hare is right:  you can't take less than no tea, but you can certainly take more than none.

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2 Comments

  1. Unknown User (tjm9)

    Hutton's Paradox (dream argument): when the person who is dreaming asks if he is dreaming or not (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_argument)

    "'So I wasn't dreaming, after all,' she said to herself, 'unless—unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do hope it's MY dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like belonging to another person's dream,' she went on in a rather complaining tone: 'I've a great mind to go and wake him, and see what happens!'" ("Alice's Adventures in Wonderland")

    Formally, this occurs when the subject questions whether or not he is dreaming. Generally speaking, such a question is only asked when one is in a dream state, but what happens when the subject asks this same question while he is "awake?" Thus, reality becomes impossible to discern from a dream-state.

  2. Unknown User (wtp2)

    There's also a paradox called Carroll's Paradox (as in Lewis Carroll) which appears in his "What the Tortoise Said to Achilles".
    Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_the_Tortoise_Said_to_Achilles to read about it.