Being incoherent is lindy

by Crispy Chicken

Paradoxes are about incoherency, and they’re usually about misframing things to make them incoherent. Think about the paradox of choice”, which can be summarized as When you have too many choices you might end up less happy with your choice.”

Wait. Why is this a paradox? Isn’t that just, like, a model of what’s going on? Why yes it is.

The paradox” is smuggled in by preconceptualizng the problem as a paradox, e.g. through descriptions such as more is less”.

This kind of incoherency is selected-for when it comes to philosophical questions.

Consider Zeno’s paradox, which basically boils down to:

If one can infinitely divide the remaining space” or the remaining time” till some event happens, how do events even happen?

To which my answer is: What? What the fuck?

The incoherency here comes from the fact that the given data (‘one can infinitely divide the remaining space” or the remaining time” till some event happens’) has nothing to do with the given question (‘how do events happen?’). This hijacks assumed relevancy in language (cf. Grice’s Maxim of Relation). It forces one to believe that their is a connection, because it’s phrased to hide the necessity of proving the connection. There is no paradox to resolve: time can be infinitely subdivided (or not, who cares) and events happen. There is no explanatory path, because point A doesn’t hold the information that answers question B. The question simply assumes-away the idea that X can be derived from Y in a mystical enough way that it snipes people who like to have answers.

Yet Zeno’s paradox and many similar ideas stick around and people keep arguing about them.

Why? Because being unresolvable increases an idea’s shelf-life. Resolvable philosophical dilemmas like How is something solid, like glass, transparent?” become science. Unresolvable philosophical paradoxes stay in the philosophy cannon, don’t require technical knowledge to understand, and accrue power as reference points because so many people refer to them in the literature.

Being incoherent is lindy, because proposition resolution is memetically selected against.