[lit-ideas] Re: Try a Logic Problem

  • From: Eric Yost <eyost1132@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 14:15:40 -0400

Red hats, white hats, P1, P2, P3 ... where is your moral outrage?*

Here's another solution: We cannot know what color hats any of the prisoners are wearing.

Remember that it is the guard who is telling the prisoners to guess hat colors, and the guard, as they say in lit crit, is an unreliable narrator. Guards cannot dispense justice or decide the terms of an amnesty. Guards are merely assigned to keep watch over prisoners.

Not only is the guard lying about the amnesty, he is also lying about the number of red and white hats. At the very least, his information is so unreliable, the prisoners cannot make any informed deduction about their hat colors.

It could be that Prisoners #1 and #2 state they cannot guess their hat colors because they see the blind prisoner #3 is wearing a purple, paisley fez and they know they are merely playthings of the sadistic guard.

After they guess hat colors, they are all taken outside and shot.

Channeling Sextus Empiricus, Eric


*If this were Gitmo or Abu Gharib, everyone would be spitting nickels about such arbitrary and cruel treatment of prisoners.

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