November Mathematics Seminar: Paradoxes: What Are They and Why Are They Significant?

The GRCC Mathematics Department will host its third monthly Mathematics Seminar of the 2012-2013 academic year on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM in room 109 Cook.  Our speaker will be Patrick Campbell, former GRCC mathematics student and current GRCC mathematics tutor. Patrick will be speaking about paradoxes.

Paradoxes are apparent in everyday life, but there are significant differences between occurrences that appear to be paradoxical and mathematical or logical constructs that are truly paradoxical.  This is a talk that will encourage participants to think beyond the ordinary.  No specific higher-level mathematics skills are necessary to understand the ideas in this talk.  Those with interests in philosophy and/or logical puzzles may find added value in this seminar.  Of  course, as always, everyone is welcome.  Pop and cookies will be served at 2:45 PM.

Paradoxes: What Are They and Why Are They Significant?

Consider the following statement: “This sentence is false.”  Well then, if the statement is true, it must be false; and if the statement is false, then it must be true.  What is going on here?  The statement above is a version of the “Liar” or “Epimenides Paradox”, named after the ancient Greek Epimenides of Crete, who is believed to have once stated that all Cretans are liars.  As interesting and puzzling as paradoxes of this sort may be, even more fascinating things arise when we investigate the paradoxes of mathematics and logic.  In this seminar, we will look at some paradoxes relevant to mathematics and logic, attempt to understand what it is that creates such bizarre results, and discuss why paradoxes are significant mathematically, historically, and philosophically.

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