ABSTRACT

Of late years, a method of disguising platitudes as paradoxes has been too extensively used by Mr. G. K. Chesterton. The method is as follows. Take any proposition p which holds of an entity a ; choose p so that it seems plausible that p also holds of at least two other entities b and c; call a, b, c, and any others for which p holds or seems to hold, the class A, and p the " A-ness " or " A-ity " of A ; let d be an entity for which p does not hold ; and put d among the A's when you think that nobody is looking. Then state your paradox : " Some A's do not have A-ness." By further manipulation you can get the proposition " No A's have A-ness." But it is possible to make a very successful coup if A is the null-class, which has the advantage that manipulation is unnecessary. Thus, Mr. Chesterton, in his Orthodoxy put A for the class of doubters who doubt the possibility of logic, and proved that such agnostics refuted themselves —a conclusion which seems to have pleased many clergymen.