# Crocodile Sophism

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Crocodile Sophism - Back to the Paradoxes

A slim crocodile living in Nile took a child. Mother begged to give him back. The crocodile could not only talk, he was also a great sophist, and so he stated: "If you guess (Edited: predict the fate = guess correctly), what I will do with him, I will return him. However, if you don't guess his fate I'll eat him." What statement shall the mother make to save her child (what about a vicious circle ...)?

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I don't think that this is a paradox. It sounds like one. The word "guess" doesn't belong because there is nothing to guess about. This is more like an 'Honestant and Swindicant' problem becuase the mother either says "crocodile gives the child back" and the croc does it or the croc "deceives" the woman and eats the child.

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Well, I'm guessing that she said that he was gonna return the child.

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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

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Perhaps I'm not understanding the question here. However, it would seem to me the obvious issue and advice here would be to say: "You'll eat the child Mister Crocodile." Remember: this is an ancient beast more known for clamping down and rolling around in muddy pools of water than for it's scholarly dissertations on high energy physics. In the confusion where it doesn't know if it should consume the kid and thus have to return him, unharmed, or fail to and thus be compelled to do so - grab the child and run away. If you are very kind you might leave behind an aluminium crocodile hat/heatsink as the poor guy tries to figure out what just went wrong.

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This is what the mother should say to the crocodile:

"Crocodile, before I tell you what you will do to my child, I will tell you this: My child is the thing I hold dearest to my heart and if someone were to take him away from me, then I will spend the rest of my life studying whomever was responsible for destroying my child and destroy the one thing that he loves most in this world. If he has children of his own, I will destroy them. If not, he will have to live in constant fear that if one day he should have children, their lives will be in danger. If perhaps it is a swamp that he loves the most in the world, I will use the power of man's knowledge to destroy it. Whatever it is that he loves most will be taken away from him, and he will not know when it will happen and thus must live a life of fear. That being said, you will give me back my child."

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There is no way to get the child back because:

1. If she ask for the child (predict that he will turn it back) Croc can eat child.

2. If she will tell that the croc will eat the child she cant be right - in this situation id croc will give back child she wont be right but he cant eat the child because mother will be right.

Only way to prevent crock from eating child is tell him that child will be eaten and this is only thing that can be done for him :>

F

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"You will hold my child until I answer your question."

The croc didn't ask EVERYTHING he would do with him. Fate is a fickle matter. His fate is to be held until the croc does something, at which time his fate becomes something else.

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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

ur statement seems partially true

had the croc's st8ment been like

"If you guess, what I will do with him", I will return him

so the mother could repeat "if you guess, what will I do with him" and the croc wud return the kid

but the quote includes the words " I will return him" so the logic doesnt work

I think the mother could say anything to retrieve the chiild

since all the croc wants is the mother to "GUESS"

he dint say predict the fate or speak the truth or sumthin liek that

so the mother could go on and guess anything random related to the child in order to save him

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if you look at the so called paradox it says if you dont guess his fate, ill eat him, so as long as you provide a guess you'll get him back either way, because any guess is a correct guess but if you stay silent and not provide an answer then your screwed lady

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this is a classic paradox from Martin Gardner's Book of Paradoxes, which has a ton.

anyway, the lady says "You will eat my baby."

If the crocodile eats the baby, the lady predicted right, so he has to give it to her. But if he gives it to her, she predicted wrong, so he gets to eat the baby... but then she will have predicted right. An endless cycle. Except it's answered easily:

I just said this: "If the crocodile eats the baby, the lady predicted right, so he has to give it to her." So he gives it to her, THEN realizes she predicted wrong. by that time, though, she's running away with the baby, and there's nothing the croc can do.

that's not what Martin Gardner wrote, but thats how i think of it

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The dear old croc should be replied to in this manner: 'You will do with my child what you DECIDE to do with him'. The crocodile must make a decision, therefore the mother cannot be wrong. A cop out perhaps but it can't be argued that the croc's next move is not covered in this answer. If the mother had not been present then our scaley chum would surely have eaten the child. Only her presence could have induced him to prompt the question and thus cause him to make a decision. I may be wrong of course and it could be the case that the intelligent crocodile had already made up his mind that he was going to give the lad a first class education in sub aquatic lifeforms.

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good one, except i dont think it follows the rules and the croc would eat the baby... in a simpler way, "you will do what you will do" or she couldve just said "1+1=2"

but neither of those are okay cuz the croc said "predict what i will do with your baby: will I eat him or give him back?" and if u dont pick either of those he'd probably just eat it i mean she could easily just say "2+2=4" and get the baby back cuz she said the truth, but the croc asked specifically.

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I must beg to differ with you, 'unreality'. The croc doesn't say "will I eat him or give him back?" He says "if you guess what I will do with him, I will return him". The Mother can accurately guess that the crocodile will do with him what he will whether that be to eat the child, give it back or give it a first rate education in sub aquatic lifeforms. The strength of your arguement lies in the fact that she has not been specific, but she is not wrong in guessing the childs fate. The fate of the child IS the crocodiles action of deciding. He will indeed do with it what he will and therefore she has guessed the childs fate correctly. However, the Mother is in too high a state of emotion to see it this coldly and assumes that the crocodile means exactly as you suggest --"will I eat him or give him back? She is a good Mother and tells the croc that he will eat her instead because she's more of a meal. The croc sees the sense in this, proclaims that she is correct and lays the child safely upon the river bank. Just before he lunges at his new prize, a hippo, who has been listening sympathetically just beneath the surface, breaks through the water and sinks his misile-like teeth into the crocs head. The croc is deflected from his intended action and, after much introspection, goes on to found the first reptilian college for the study of underwater asparagus cultivation and the eradication of bullying.

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and now he rules the asparagus industry, creating a monopoly and pushing the other firms out of business... MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!

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That's riight! When did you find out? Let me know if you're interested in buying shares.

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how much are they?

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I'll let check it out. Anyway, my friend, the crocodile has told me you should snap them up, and he should know!

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What could get the child eaten is if the crocodile has a preference or default position/decision. It's not automatic that she will get the child back unharmed simply by making any guess. The story alludes to the idea that since he is a slim crocodile, and since he snatched him to begin with, might make him prone to eat the child rather than release it. These statements are then at least partially erased when our reality is suspended by making the crocodile a great sophist, and by considering that perhaps the crocodile is slim because he values sophist principles over sustenance, and perhaps snatched the child in order to educate the child and the mother. The responders that have said, "You will either eat the child or return it to me" are correct in my book because that is the limit of absolute certainty. The crocodile may not be satisfied with the broadness of the mother's response, but he might yield to her demonstration of sophist logic. If the mother chooses to answer with either "You will eat..." OR "You will return..." then the odds are 50% that the child will be returned unharmed IF the crocodile has a default position already. If the crocodile does not have a default position then his response will be a measurable/programmable response to what the mother inputs (it is not a guess at that point). She need only say you will return..., if she says you will eat... then she only wants to satisfy the narrator who simply wanted her to gain the child back, but cares nothing to whether the child's fate is twofold and would then be eaten. She can not escape with the child after given to her because then she would be incorrect. In this case I judge that the premise is to satisfy the narrator's end question rather than the crocodile's. These are the possibilities as I see them. And if I were her, I would reply, "You will either eat the child or you will return the child to me."

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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

That's what I was thinking...

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If the mother says "you will eat him, and she is right, she will get him back." If she is wrong she at least ensures that the croc will not eat the child. So then she can get him back. yo yo

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If the mother says "you will eat him, and she is right, she will get him back." If she is wrong she at least ensures that the croc will not eat the child. So then she can get him back. yo yo

No Big guy, if the mom says "you will eat him" and she is right then it will be too late for the poor sucker cause he will be eaten and that's the only way that the mom can be right with her statement.

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The crocodile would say ... "if you guess correctly" the mothers answer would be that the croc would give the child back.

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Well that wouldmean shewould have to be a psychic. Or maybe if she says he'll eat him, then if he eats him that would be his fate, and OOPS! This is a variation on a man in court for something and he hasto say something. If its true he gets boiled in water, ifnot fried in oil. If he says he'll be fried in oil he gets set free because if he does get fried in oil then its true so he should be boiled in water. If he's boiled in water it's false so he should have been fried in oil anyway.

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Maybe I’m being dense but the answer to this seems some what obvious... in fact there are 2 possible answers depending on how you interpret it.

Firstly, as Cyr|s pointed out the croc only asks the mother to guess what he will do, as apposed to guess correctly. Therefore what ever the mother guesses the child will be fine...

However, if you don't guess his fate I'll eat him.
she only needs to guess his fate to save him.

But even if the croc was asking her to guess correctly, she should just say that he will eat the child. He says that if she doesn’t guess the fate of her child (correctly) he will eat him. So, although she can never be right, per se, the croc will be unable to eat the child because if he does then the mother was correct and so he must return the child. But even if the crocodile was planning to, say, tickle the child the mothers guess is therefore incorrect but this then means the croc eats the child making the mothers guess correct. So, with this statement she can't be incorrect and so the child will never get eaten...

This made sense when I wrote I hope it makes sense to read aswell.

TIM x

p.s. there is a reason this crocodile is slim... he's not as clever as he thinks...

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