Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Three Wise Men Puzzle: Answer

This is the answer to the "Three Wise Men Puzzle" posted earlier.

To understand the reason the men stop laughing we follow the thoughts of one of the philosophers, let's call him A. A sees the other two men, B and C laughing. Assuming that he doesn't have a mark on his forehead, he thinks that B is laughing at C and vice versa. But he must also assume that B is unaware of his own mark on the forehead. If A had no mark, what does B think C is laughing about? In other words, if A's assumption was true, B should quickly realise that C is laughing at B and therefore B should stop laughing. But after enough time has passed, and B hasn't stopped, A must assume that he himself has a spot on his forehead.

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