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Thread: How do you answer the question...

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  1. #1
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Default How do you answer the question...



    A slim crocodile living in the Nile took a child. His mother begged to have him back. The crocodile could not only talk, but was also a great sophist and stated, "If you guess correctly what I will do with him, I will return him. However, if you don't predict his fate correctly, I'll eat him." What statement should the mother make to save her child?

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    The crock will try to deceive and complicate things, and try to sound wise. But, I wouldn't believe him for he is not to be trusted. No matter what I would say he would probably get fatter, so I think...I would not listen to what he has to say and that might get my son back. Then, I would stay far away from the Nile.

    That is probably a silly answer.

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post

    A slim crocodile living in the Nile took a child. His mother begged to have him back. The crocodile could not only talk, but was also a great sophist and stated, "If you guess correctly what I will do with him, I will return him. However, if you don't predict his fate correctly, I'll eat him." What statement should the mother make to save her child?
    Man, that croc's a jerk. It ends badly no matter what she says, why torture her like that?
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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    There is an absolutly correct answer to the above puzzle...read it carefuly...

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    Circular logic. There is no possible correct answer to this if it's thought through completely. I agree...crocs are mean critters!

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Yes...there is a correct answer to it...

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    Tell me. I won't tell anyone.

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    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    The answer is in the question...

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    It seems that from the crocodile's viewpoint it doesn't matter if the mother speaks truly or falsely, for if she speaks truly the crocodile cannot return the child without destroying the truth of the mother's statement. Similarly, if the mother has spoken falsely, the crocodile still cannot return the child, because the mother has not fulfilled the agreement. From the mother's viewpoint it doesn't matter if she has spoken truly or falsely. If the mother has spoken truly, then by the terms of the agreement the crocodile must return the baby. Then, too, the mother can be said to have spoken falsely only after the child has been returned. Therefore, whether the mother speaks truly or falsely, the child must be returned.

    To understand the logical inconsistencies buried in the mother's and the crocodile's arguments, it is helpful to sumarize their views.

    The crocodile's argument can be expressed as follows:

    If the mother accurately predicts what I will do, then I will return the baby. If I return the baby, then the mother has not accurately predicted what I will do. Therefore I will not return the baby.

    The mother's view can be expressed as follows:

    If I accurately predict what the crocodile will do, then my baby will be returned to me. If my baby is not returned (eaten), then I predicted accurately what the crocodile will do. Therefore the baby will be returned to me.

    Consider the two premises of the crocodile's argument. As the crocodile states in the first premise, he returns the baby if and only if the mother accurately predicts what he will do. However, according to the second premise, if he does return the baby, then the mother's prediction is false. But how can this be, if based on the first premise the baby can be returned if and only if the mother predicts accurately? The point is that it can't be for as we have just demonstrated, assuming that the agreement can be kept leads to validly deduced contradictory conclusions. A similar analysis can be made of the mother's argument.

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    Is Macman right? I need to know these things.
    Macman you would make a great lawyer, are you one?

    Maybe, the croc doesn't know of what he speaks. lol
    Last edited by Cookie; 03-05-2009 at 04:30 AM.

  11. #11
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macman View Post
    It seems that from the crocodile's viewpoint it doesn't matter if the mother speaks truly or falsely, for if she speaks truly the crocodile cannot return the child without destroying the truth of the mother's statement. Similarly, if the mother has spoken falsely, the crocodile still cannot return the child, because the mother has not fulfilled the agreement. From the mother's viewpoint it doesn't matter if she has spoken truly or falsely. If the mother has spoken truly, then by the terms of the agreement the crocodile must return the baby. Then, too, the mother can be said to have spoken falsely only after the child has been returned. Therefore, whether the mother speaks truly or falsely, the child must be returned.

    To understand the logical inconsistencies buried in the mother's and the crocodile's arguments, it is helpful to sumarize their views.

    The crocodile's argument can be expressed as follows:

    If the mother accurately predicts what I will do, then I will return the baby. If I return the baby, then the mother has not accurately predicted what I will do. Therefore I will not return the baby.

    The mother's view can be expressed as follows:

    If I accurately predict what the crocodile will do, then my baby will be returned to me. If my baby is not returned (eaten), then I predicted accurately what the crocodile will do. Therefore the baby will be returned to me.

    Consider the two premises of the crocodile's argument. As the crocodile states in the first premise, he returns the baby if and only if the mother accurately predicts what he will do. However, according to the second premise, if he does return the baby, then the mother's prediction is false. But how can this be, if based on the first premise the baby can be returned if and only if the mother predicts accurately? The point is that it can't be for as we have just demonstrated, assuming that the agreement can be kept leads to validly deduced contradictory conclusions. A similar analysis can be made of the mother's argument.
    To full fill the contract if the mother guesses correctly the crock has to place the baby in the mothers arms and once that is done it is to late to do anything...

    You still haven't understood the question the crock has posed...or you would know the answer...the answer places the crock in the position of having to return the child no matter what and it must go into the mothers arms to complete the transaction...

    The answer stated as the mother would reply is a clue to the correct answer. You are thinking about what she would say instead of answering...
    Last edited by Cass; 03-05-2009 at 05:27 AM.

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cass View Post

    A slim crocodile living in the Nile took a child. His mother begged to have him back. The crocodile could not only talk, but was also a great sophist and stated, "If you guess correctly what I will do with him, I will return him. However, if you don't predict his fate correctly, I'll eat him." What statement should the mother make to save her child?

    What if the mother predicts the croc will return the boy? If the croc does indeed return him, the mother was correct and thus the croc returns the kid.

    Or am I missing something?

    Seeing the croc described as slim suggests he returns more children than he eats.

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