Exception To The Rule Paradox
By James Donahue
We have all heard the old cliché: "There is an exception to the rule." Ah, but therein lies a paradox
designed to befuddle the mind.
Consider that if every rule has at least one exception, then there must be a rule that every rule
must have at least one exception. But if we attempt to establish a rule without any exceptions, the above paradox still stands.
This is because such a rule, in of itself, becomes an accepted exception to the rule.
Just for argument, suppose we live in a world that has no rules. But this also becomes a paradox because
there is a rule established within such a world. It is a rule against rules. Thus there exists an exception.
We can carry this absurdity on to the extreme. Suppose every rule must have an exception. Then the
exception to the rule becomes the probability that a rule may exist that offers no exception. Then is the rule: "every rule
has exceptions" an exception to the rule that "every rule has exceptions?"
We can argue that if every rule has an exception, then there must be an exception to the rule that
every rule has an exception. But using logic, the above statement is proof that maintaining an exception to every rule must
be false. No matter how you examine it, you cannot avoid the exception to the rule.
If we proclaim that every rule must have an exception, we create a whole new twisted kind of paradox.
Suppose someone creates a rule that has no exception. This in itself becomes an exception to the rule
because every rule must have an exception. Thus we conclude that there can be no exception to the rule of exception.
We suggest that the bottom line to all of this nonsense is that there can be no absolutes.