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Our panel of 89 professional philosophers has responded to

Question of the day

I'm intrigued by your suggestion that there may be a paradox here, but I'm having trouble reconstructing your reasoning. As far as I can tell, your reasoning relies on the premise that any definition must contain whatever it defines. But I'm not sure that premise is plausible. defines "walrus" as follows: "a large gregarious marine mammal (Odobenus rosmarus of the family Odobenidae) of arctic waters that is related to the seals and has long ivory tusks, a tough wrinkled hide, and stiff whiskers and that feeds mainly on bivalve mollusks."

That definition (more precisely, the definiens) doesn't contain the word ("walrus") being defined, which is good: otherwise the definition would be unhelpful. Nor does the definition contain a walrus; we'd need a cage to do that. Instead, the definition gives us a string of words meant to pick out the walrus from among other things. If it's a genuine definition, then the principle on which it seems you're relying is false. But I may just be misunderstanding your reasoning.