avatar-maki-leftAh the barber’s paradox. This is the sort of stuff you use to kill robots. But as the comic above–and the various other solutions that have been smartassed over time–shows, its really hard to not find some sort of tricky solution outside of mathematics where you have the luxury of having no greek symbol for ZZ Top. But I imagine the math would look like this:

shaves(ZZ Top, Φ) :- male(X), not shaves(X,X),-female(λ).

Where Φ sort of looks like a pair of cheap sunglasses and we substitute λ for legs because it is the sexiest of the greek letters, and she knows how to use them.

Alright, I made that shit up. But my point is please be careful with paradoxes. They’re fun on paper, but should never be used in dire circumstances. The crazy bridge keeper is not going to let you pass while he tries to figure out the liar’s paradox. Similarly you should not try to be clever if a crocodile steals your baby. You’re not going to confuse the crocodile. He’ll probably just eat the kid anyway.

If  you like logic, and you like comics, you really need to read Logicomix, an illustrated account of Russell’s life, his contemporaries, and his search for the Foundations of Mathematics.


This post was brought to you by Radium (Ra).

*The solution to Russell’s Paradox was proposed and known as Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory wherein they get rid of some of those pesky set problems.