All about flooble | fun stuff | Get a free chatterbox | Free JavaScript | Avatars
 perplexus dot info

 Poisonous Dilemma (Posted on 2004-04-19)
Suppose you get the following proposal from a weird billionaire:

"Toxin X is a substance that will make you violently ill for a few hours. However, it has no long term effects of any kind. As an experiment in psychology, I'm offering you a million dollars if tonight at midnight you fully intend to drink toxin X by tomorrow at noon. You don't actually have to drink the toxin; all you have to do is to intend to drink it. Your intention will be tested by a device similar to a polygraph which my people have developed and which has been shown to be 100% accurate. If at midnight you have the intention, a million will be wired to your bank account. The only other conditions are that you are to make no bets, do anything that will cause you to become irrational, or arrange for any way to avoid the effects of the toxin."

Suppose you decide that being ill for one day is a reasonable price to pay for a million dollars. Your first thought is to therefore agree to the proposal. It then occurs to you that you won't even have to become sick in order to win the money. All you have to do is to intend to drink the toxin. You don't actually have to carry out your intention.

But now if you know ahead of time that you don't actually have to drink the toxin, then you can't really intend to drink it. So you tell yourself you really do have to drink it. But then if at midnight you really did intend to drink the toxin, and you got the million, then come the next day you would no longer have any reason to drink it: you've already been paid and drinking the toxin would make you unnecessarily sick.

Is there any way for you to win the money?

 No Solution Yet Submitted by Victor Zapana Rating: 3.8519 (27 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
 re(3): No Subject - Logic and Reason | Comment 16 of 84 |
(In reply to re(2): No Subject - Logic and Reason by Benjamin J. Ladd)

Well, I see that there is only one simple way to solve this paradox. And that is with another paradox. Lets assume no one likes being sick. Aggree to taking toxin X, and tell yourself that if you don't get the money by Midnioght, that you will drink the toxin X anyway.

That right there will get you the money. Why? Because you can say, "Good. I'll not drink it, and not get sick. But if I do that, then I don't get anything. If I won't get anything then I'll drink this thing and kill myself (nearly) and put myself through unnecessary pain. If I do that, I'll get \$1,000,000.". See, the trick here is "intend to drink it, but don't". The answer lies in "NOT intending to drink it, but drinking it anyway". Do this, and you will intend to do it. This will get you a \$mill. This way, you'll never drink the toxin X. or whatever that stuff was called.
 Posted by Ten on 2004-04-26 05:04:45

 Search: Search body:
Forums (0)