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Buridan's ass




A paradox of medieval logic concerning the behavior of an ass who is placed equidistantly from two piles of food of equal size and quality. Assuming that the behavior of the ass is entirely rational, it has no reason to prefer one pile to the other. Thus lacking a basis to decide which pile to eat first, it remains in its original position and starves. With one pile it would have lived; having two identical piles it dies. How can this make sense? The paradox is named after the French philosopher Jean Buridan.


Related category

   • PARADOXES