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The guilty demon (Posted on 2002-05-29) Difficulty: 3 of 5
As the story goes, Prometheus stole fire from the gods of Olympus and gave it to humans. This made Zeus very angry. Prometheus was told to return the fire by 1:00pm, an order that he defied.

To punish Prometheus for his disobedience, at 1:00 pm, Zeus paused time (he can do this as a god), and conjured up an infinite number of demons. To the first demon he said:
"If Prometheus is still alive at 2:00 pm, kill him!" To the second one he said:
"If Prometheus is still alive at 1:30 pm, kill him!" And to the third:
"If Prometheus is still alive at 1:15 pm, kill him!"

So he kept ordering each of his demons to kill Prometheus in half the time of the demon before. After giving orders to all the demons, Zeus un-paused time again and waited.

At two o'clock, Prometheus was dead, and the council of gods was none too happy about it. They told Zeus:
"Tell us which one of your demons killed Prometheus, so that we may punish him!"

"But none of my demons could possibly have killed Prometheus!" answered Zeus. How can this be?

See The Solution Submitted by levik    
Rating: 4.1875 (16 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
Solution Solution is wrong | Comment 35 of 37 |

There is no paradox.

Let us assume that Prometheus is alive at 1.00 pm.

Then if  Zeus is telling the truth that none of his demons could possibly have killed Prometheus, then none of his demons can have found Prometheus alive.

Since demons arrive as soon as we wish AFTER 1.00 then none (according to Zeus) found Prometheus alive.

Therefore our assumption that Prometheus is alive at 1.00 must be false and Prometheus was dead at 1.00 pm.

Only if Zeus is lying do we have the problem given in the "solution" of naming the culprit.


  Posted by goFish on 2005-11-23 16:01:53
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