The Barber Paradox

Russell’s Barber paradox is quite philosophical. It needs an intellectual mind to answer. It shows a logically impossible scenario since the barber only has two options: either to shave himself, or be shaved by a barber (who he is). The two possibilities are not valid because he is the barber who is in a position of shaving everyone who does not shave himself (including himself). It sounds so paradoxical.

On the other hand, a heterological word is the one which expresses a property which it does not possess. Unlike the autological word, it does not apply to itself, but only describes the qualities of other words. It includes adjectives such as long, awkward, ignorant and deliciousness. A word can neither be awkward, ignorant nor long. However, these are qualities which can only be possessed by other things.

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The word heterological can only be heterological if and only if it applies to itself. Otherwise, it cannot be heterological if and only if it describes itself. Therefore, it is quite paradoxical to classify it as a heterological word. However, heterological can become heterological only in special circumstances. Meaning, a situation becomes heterological if and only if it is undisputedly heterological.

However, the only way through which a word can be heterological is when its real meaning is modified to enable it to acquire the properties of all the other autological words excluding heterological. Such modifications go beyond mere refinements. For instance, if heterological words such as awkward, ridiculous and ignorant are applicable in this case. In other words, improper pronunciation of such words can make them awkward, ridiculous or ignorant. It will enable them to become self-descriptive. In such a situation, they will possess the quality of describing themselves. Although this concept is paradoxically complex, linguists should refer to Russell’s ideology so as to provide logical answers for such philosophical queries.

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