Five Puzzles


1. A jeweler has 3 diamonds. They all look exactly alike, but one diamond is heavier than the others. How can she identify the heavier diamond by using a balance scale just once? Please outline your argument as carefully as you can.


2. Same as above, but now the jeweler doesn't know whether the odd diamond is lighter or heavier than the other two. By using the scale twice, how can she tell (i) which is the odd one, and (ii) whether it is lighter or heavier?

scale.jpg (78804 bytes)


3. What do you see in the two sketches below?

facevase.jpg (11156 bytes) hag.jpg (16726 bytes)


4. An unfinished story by William James is reprinted below. Please think about James' predicament and come prepared to tell the class next session: Does the man, or doesn't he, go round the squirrel?

Some year ago, being with a camping party in the mountains, I returned from a solitary ramble to find every one engaged in a ferocious metaphysical dispute. The corpus of the dispute was a squirrel--a live squirrel supposed to be clinging to one side of a tree-trunk; while over against the tree's opposite side a human being was imagined to stand. This human witness tries to get sight of the squirrel by moving rapidly round the tree, but no matter how fast he goes, the squirrel moves as fast in the opposite direction, and always keeps the tree between himself and the man, so that never a glimpse of him is caught. The resultant metaphysical problem is this: Does the man go round the squirrel or not? He goes round the tree, sure enough, and the squirrel is on the tree; but does he go round the squirrel? In the unlimited leisure of the wilderness, discussion had been worn threadbare. Everyone had taken sides, and was obstinate; and the numbers on both sides were even. Each side, when I appeared, therefore appealed to me to make it a majority. Mindful of the scholastic adage that whenever you meet a contradiction you must make a distinction, I immediately sought and found one, as follows:

squirrel.jpg (97924 bytes)

5. Three glasses contain liquid, and three are empty. Rearrange the glasses so that they alternate--one with liquid, one without, one with liquid, one without, etc. You are allowed to touch or move only one glass. cups.jpg (86281 bytes)


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