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Crocodile Sophism


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284 replies to this topic

#261 raghav123123

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 01:28 PM

I think it's "You will eat my child." because if that were to be false, he would eat the child anyways, making it true, therefore regaining her child.
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#262 omthkkr

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:11 PM

The best answer according to me would be -
You will not poison him with any subtance that would kill you.

If assumed true, the child would come back unpoisoned.
If assumed false, the child would be poisoned by the crocodile and eaten knowing that it would kill himself, which he would never do.

So, it would be the correct answer and the mother would get back her child!
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#263 Jack the Ripper

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:43 AM

The lady would say, "I guess you'll eat him."
If it is true, the crocodile will give the boy back. If it's not, the crocodile is supposed to eat the boy but then the lady's guess became true. so the answer is "I guess you'll eat him."
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#264 dzfan

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 12:20 PM

Assuming there are no other players in this scenario, the mother should say, "You will return him."

Let us start by assuming that the croc plans to return the child. If the mother says "You will return him," then she guessed correctly and the croc will return the child. If the mother says, "You will eat him," then she guessed incorrectly, and consequently the croc will eat the child. However, this is exactly what the mother said the croc would do, so he is forced to return the child, but that leaves us back where we started, and on and on and on in a never-ending loop. Now let us assume that the croc plans to eat the child. If the mother says "You will return him," the croc will eat the child. If the mother says, "You will eat him," then she correctly predicts the croc's course of action and the croc is forced to return the child, but then again because the croc is returning the child and not eating him, the mother did not make the correct prediction, so the croc will eat the child; this is another endless loop.

So, if the mother says you will return the child, she has a probability of getting the child back that is equal to the probability that the croc already decided to return the child. Of course 1 - (that probability) equals the probability of the child being eaten. However, if she tells the croc that he will eat the child, the result is a endless loop. Now at this stage the answer depends on other players in the scenario. If there are none, then as mentioned previously she should say, "You will return the child" because this is the best (only) chance for her to get the child back--saying "You will eat him" will result in the croc taking an infinite amount of time to come to a decision. However, if there are other players in the scenario, then the mother should say "You will eat him" to ensure the safety of the child while she runs for help--she can find a hunter to kill the croc while he is stuck in the endless loop, for instance.

Edited by dzfan, 13 June 2012 - 12:29 PM.

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#265 bradyjohn

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:46 PM

I believe the crocodile is normally vegetarian except in the case of the boy. If he is slim, he would have found plentiful of meat (be it fish, human, or reptilian) however, there is little vegetation near the Nile. The crocodile will only eat the boy if she says he will, and only release him if she says he will. After all, most crocodiles attack on sight, but if he has intelligence than he realizes (like the majority of philosophers) that we decide our own fate and that of those around us.
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#266 bradyjohn

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:51 PM

Or the answer is soulely you'll release him. He said he'd eat him but never kill him. He may just take a nibble or om nom nom some of his leg. Like most creatures that are famished they can't eat too much at once or their stomach could react my exploding (more of ripping)
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#267 flamebirde

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 06:05 AM

maybe you could just whap it with a stick and get the kid back.
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#268 voodoogirl360

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Posted 15 July 2012 - 12:56 AM

I would think that the only way to make ANY sense of the situation is for the woman to repeat back to the croc EXACTLY what he said to HER: "If I guess right, you'll give my baby back, if I dont, you'll eat him. That's what you'll do to him." He'd have to return the baby, because she's CORRECT NO MATTER WHAT. Eh? hehehe


I think this is a reasonable answer.
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#269 Perfect logician

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 03:49 PM

It doesnt really say that you need to decide wether the boy is given back or eaten so there is a lot of possibilities of his fate. The guess that she should say you will eat my kid is a paradox alone. If you say you will give him back it is a risk. Though you can say, "You will eat my kid if I answer incorrectly," and vice versa, "You will give him back if I answer correctly," just say them both and you are set.
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#270 BrainDrain

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 12:19 AM

As a newbie to this site, perhaps I don't understand. This was under the category of "sophisms", which means a faulty or flawed argument. It's like a bad syllogism:

The **** crows.
The sun rises.
Therefore, the sun rises due to the ****'s crow.

Compare with:

If you answer correctly, I will return the child.
If you answer incorrectly, I will eat the child.
Therefore, I will (or will not) (return/eat) the child.

There's not really a riddle here, so there can be no answer. But it does make for some interesting discussion, doesn't it?
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