Z neporiadku na polici nad mojím pracovným stolom spadla knižka Raymonda Smullyana, Alice in Puzzle-land. Útla knižka ostala na mojom stole ležať stranami nadol otvorená na tejto pasáži:
"Well," said Humpty Dumpty, "would you believe if I told you I had a baby?"
"Why not?" said Alice.
"And would you believe it if I told you that everybody loves my baby?"
"Why not?" said Alice.
"And would you also believe it if I told you that my baby loves only me?"
"I don't see why not," replied Alice.
"Ah!" said Humpty Dumpty, "if you believed all those things, then you'd be inconsistent!"
"Why?" asked Alice.
"Or at least you would be driven to a very absurd conlusion: You don't believe I'm my own baby, do you?"
"Of course not!" replied Alice.
"Well, you'd have to if you believed all those other things!"
"Why?" asked Alice, who was very puzzled.
"It's just simple logic, that's all. Look, suppose those other things were true. Since everybody loves my baby, then my baby also loves my baby."
"Oh, I hadn't thought of that!" said Alice.
"Of course not, but you should have, you know. You should always think of everything."
"I can't think of everything!" replied Alice.
"I never said you could," replied Humpty Dumpty, "I merely said you should."
"But is it reasonable to say that I should do something that I cannot do?" asked Alice.
"That is an interesting problem in Moral Philosophy," he replied, "but that would take us too far afield. Coming back to this problem,..."
...a záver si vyskúšajte domyslieť - ako z troch Humptyho tvrdení vyplýva, že je sám svojím dieťaťom?
Je krásne, keď jednému skvelému matematikovi píše úvod do knihy jeho kamoš, ďalší skvelý matematik. Úvod k Smullyanovej knihe napísal Martin Gardner. Bez jeho komentáru by som nezistil, že v tomto texte Smullyan naráža na v tých časoch (1982) populárny Hintikkov paradox z morálnej filozofie. Fínsky filozof Jaakko Hintikka tvrdí, že je morálne nesprávne pokúšať sa o nemožné. A takto pôvabne vysvetľuje prečo:
1. Doing something that cannot be done without something wrong being done would in itself be wrong.
2. Something that cannot be done at all cannot be done either with or without something wrong being done. So, for example, if X is impossible and Y is wrong, it is not possible to do either (X and Y) or (X and (not Y)).
3. Assume that Y is wrong. We have shown in the previous step that (X and (not Y)) is impossible. In other words, it is impossible to do X without something wrong (Y) being done. By step 1, X must be wrong.
4. Therefore, if it is impossible to do something, it is wrong to do it.