Paradox vs. Oxymoron - What's the difference?

Wikipedia

  • Paradox

    A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently valid reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently-self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. A paradox involves contradictory-yet-interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.Some logical paradoxes are known to be invalid arguments but are still valuable in promoting critical thinking.Some paradoxes have revealed errors in definitions assumed to be rigorous, and have caused axioms of mathematics and logic to be re-examined. One example is Russell's paradox, which questions whether a "list of all lists that do not contain themselves" would include itself, and showed that attempts to found set theory on the identification of sets with properties or predicates were flawed. Others, such as Curry's paradox, are not yet resolved. Examples outside logic include the ship of Theseus from philosophy (questioning whether a ship repaired over time by replacing each and all of its wooden parts, one at a time, would remain the same ship). Paradoxes can also take the form of images or other media. For example, M.C. Escher featured perspective-based paradoxes in many of his drawings, with walls that are regarded as floors from other points of view, and staircases that appear to climb endlessly.In common usage, the word "paradox" often refers to statements that are ironic or unexpected, such as "the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking".

  • Oxymoron

    An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, more rarely oxymora) is a rhetorical device that uses an ostensible self-contradiction to illustrate a rhetorical point or to reveal a paradox. A more general meaning of "contradiction in terms" (not necessarily for rhetoric effect) is recorded by the OED for 1902. The term is first recorded as latinized Greek oxymōrum, in Maurus Servius Honoratus (c. AD 400); it is derived from the Greek ὀξύς oksús "sharp, keen, pointed" and μωρός mōros "dull, stupid, foolish"; as it were, "sharp-dull", "keenly stupid", or "pointedly foolish". The word oxymoron is autological, i.e. it is itself an example of an oxymoron. The Greek compound word ὀξύμωρον oksýmōron, which would correspond to the Latin formation, does not seem to appear in any known Ancient Greek works prior to the formation of the Latin term.

Wiktionary

  • Paradox (noun)

    An apparently self-contradictory statement, which can only be true if it is false, and vice versa.u

    ""This sentence is false" is a paradox."

  • Paradox (noun)

    A counterintuitive conclusion or outcome.s

    "It is an interesting paradox that drinking a lot of water can often make you feel thirsty."

  • Paradox (noun)

    A claim that two apparently contradictory ideas are true.t

    "Not having a fashion is a fashion; that's a paradox."

  • Paradox (noun)

    A thing involving contradictory yet interrelated elements that exist simultaneously and persist over time.

  • Paradox (noun)

    A person or thing having properties.t

    "He is a paradox; you would not expect him in that political party."

  • Paradox (noun)

    An unanswerable question or difficult puzzle, particularly one which leads to a deeper truth. s

  • Paradox (noun)

    A statement which is difficult to believe, or which goes against general belief.

  • Paradox (noun)

    The use of counterintuitive or contradictory statements (paradoxes) in speech or writing.

  • Paradox (noun)

    A state in which one is logically compelled to contradict oneself.

  • Paradox (noun)

    The practice of giving instructions that are opposed to the therapist's actual intent, with the intention that the client will disobey or be unable to obey.s

  • Oxymoron (noun)

    A figure of speech in which two words or phrases with opposing meanings are used together intentionally for effect.

  • Oxymoron (noun)

    A contradiction in terms.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Paradox (noun)

    a seemingly absurd or contradictory statement or proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true

    "the uncertainty principle leads to all sorts of paradoxes, like the particles being in two places at once"

  • Paradox (noun)

    a statement or proposition which, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems logically unacceptable or self-contradictory

    "Parmenides was the original advocate of the philosophical power of paradox"

    "the liar paradox"

  • Paradox (noun)

    a person or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities

    "cathedrals face the paradox of having enormous wealth in treasures but huge annual expenses"

Webster Dictionary

  • Paradox (noun)

    A tenet or proposition contrary to received opinion; an assertion or sentiment seemingly contradictory, or opposed to common sense; that which in appearance or terms is absurd, but yet may be true in fact.

  • Oxymoron (noun)

    A figure in which an epithet of a contrary signification is added to a word; e. g., cruel kindness; laborious idleness.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Paradox (noun)

    (logic) a self-contradiction;

    "`I always lie' is a paradox because if it is true it must be false"

  • Oxymoron (noun)

    conjoining contradictory terms (as in `deafening silence')

Illustrations

Paradox

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