"A Man's a Man for all that!" - Rabbie Burns

"Religion? No thanks. I prefer not to outsource my brainwashing." - Bunc
Trying to get your average Joe creationist to understand the phrase scientific theory is as hard as getting a fish to enjoy mountaineering. Its an unimagined world for them - it requires a complete reversal of their normal modes of thinking and being. The fact that humans could explain the complexities of this world without a creating God is a world view they cannot grasp. It's like asking a tuna if it appreciates the view from the top of Mount Everest. Bunc

May 3, 2009

But you cant shoot me I'm a philosopher

Did you hear about the philosopher who displeased the King?

The King was so displeased that he told the philosopher that he would have him executed (shot) during the course of the next seven days. The King told him that in order to add to the punishment he absolutely guaranteed that the philosopher would not know the actual day of his execution.

Sitting in his prison cell the philosopher reasoned as follows;

"Hmm" he thought, "The king could not execute me on the seventh day because if I have not been executed by the end of the sixth day then it would need to happen on the seventh day and this would mean I would know the day of my execution. The king always keeps his word so I can't be executed on the seventh day."

The philosopher was becoming more optimistic by the minute.

"In fact the King can't execute me on the sixth day either because if I am not executed by the end of the fifth day then I would know he must do it on the sixth day so I would know the day of my execution and he can't break his guarantee."

The philosopher was becoming positively cheerful now as he followed his cast iron line of reasoning.

"Hmm .. the same line of logic leads me to conclude that he can't execute me on the fifth day either. In fact by following this line of reasoning I can logically show the king can't execute me at all if he keeps his guarantee."

What should we make of the philosopher's line of reasoning and his conclusion that he could not be executed as long as the King kept to his guarantee?


Marf said...

The king has him shot in the leg (non-fatal) sometime in the next week. Then executed on the 8th day.

The king keeps his word that the philosopher will be shot within 7 days. The philosopher will not expect the execution to take place after those 7 days have passed, so the king keeps his word on that point as well.

Looney said...

Marf is thinking along the same line as me. The king could execute him on the first day (chopping the head off), but shoot him on the 7th.

Bunc said...

No marf - the only shot which might or might not be fired is a fatal one. Try again.

To be clear - the king has promised that he will be executed within the seven days.

Bunc said...

Looney - to be clear - the king is talking about shooting him to execute him. The king has promised he wil be shot dead within the seven days but that he will not know the day on which he will be shot dead.

And its not about sneaking up behind him when he's not looking either !!

Although you are not really addressing the issue I like the lateral thinking nevertheless.

Marf said...

On this type of thing you have to make the wording very clear and direct... And you can't keep adding conditions to it later.

Marf said...

Well then, how about this...

Because this philosopher wrapped himself up in this little logical fantasy of his, he won't expect it whenever the King has him shot. So no matter what day the king chose, the guy wouldn't expect it to happen.

Looney said...

I was observing the earlier part: " ... in order to add to his punishment ..." and the actual effect on the philosopher, "becoming positively cheerful". From this we can deduce that what the king says was false, which means that the philosophers observation "the king always keeps his word" is in error, and therefore the king can do whatever he wants. But then again, it may be a punishment to a philosopher to be forced into a state that is "positively cheerful".

Bunc said...

Ok Marf you got it first with Looney on your heels.

The king can of course choose to execute him on any of the days and by doing so he will prove that the philosphers reasoning was false.

Every step of the philosphers reasoning appears on the face of it logical but of course he didnt tae this into account.

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