## [lit-ideas] Re: Back to Popper (and further back to Hume)

• From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
• To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
• Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 18:52:19 -0000

Given that everybody knows the urban myth about there only being white swans until black ones are discovered (I recently answered a pub quiz question on this basis though I won't bore you with my reasoning), given all that, it stands to reason that the third box must contain a black swan. Otherwise the philosophical question wouldn't make any sense.

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If, on the other hand, the question was being posed prior to the discovery of Australia (a hint to the answer to the pub quizz question...no not a hint, the answer), if we were in the sixteenth century say, then it would be impossible (or as near as dammit) for there to be a black swan in the third box. Given that we know about Australia and black swans, and given that we know the guff about white and black swans, and given that this is about philosophy, I think that the probability that there is a black swan in the box is 'probably' close to 100 per cent.
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Can I open it yet?

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----- Original Message ----- From: "Donal McEvoy" <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
```To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 1:50 PM
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Back to Popper (and further back to Hume)

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You are given a proposition: "All swans are white".

You are given three boxes to test the proposition.

You open Box 1: in it is a white swan.

Box 2: is empty.

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Box 3: you are not allowed to open. Until, that is, you have found a way to
```say _as a probability_ what should _probably_ be in the box.

Donal
Popper&HumeWereRightOnThisSociety
And It Relates To Darwinism

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