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Can you explain this?

  1. Jan 9, 2005 #1
    A man had not eyes, yet saw plums on a tree. He neither took plums, nor left plums. How many plums were on the tree?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2005 #2
    One answer:
    He saw the plums in his mind's eye; there was no actual tree so no actual plums were on it.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2005 #3
    No plums where there in the first place.
     
  5. Jan 9, 2005 #4
    That doesn't explain how he saw them. It didn't say he saw "all" plums on the tree; it said he saw "plums" on the tree, implying "some plums." That means he saw at least two plums.
     
  6. Jan 10, 2005 #5

    DaveC426913

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    So, to complete Bart's answer, he saw
    as many as he wished to see.
     
  7. Jan 12, 2005 #6
    though it does not make much of a difference to the answer, but just for you, assume that he saw all the plums that were on that tree.
     
  8. Jan 12, 2005 #7
    No, you miss the point. If you had said "all" plums it could have meant "no" plums (if there weren't any). Since you just said "plums" it means "some plums," and can't mean "no plums."
     
  9. Jan 12, 2005 #8

    yeah, i guess you are right.


    and, i said plums, not all plums. (just to avoid any confusion)
     
  10. Jan 12, 2005 #9

    DaveC426913

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    So, what *is* the answer?
     
  11. Jan 13, 2005 #10
    OK, the answer is 2.

    now i will give all of you another chance, see if you can come up with the explanation for this. :rofl:
     
  12. Jan 13, 2005 #11

    Gokul43201

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    2 plums fits the second half of the puzzle. He neither took plums, nor left plums. He took a plum leaving behind a plum.

    Can't make sense of the first statement, though.
     
  13. Jan 13, 2005 #12

    NateTG

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  14. Jan 13, 2005 #13

    Gokul43201

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    Yes, I must have not eyes ! Or brains !
     
  15. Jan 13, 2005 #14

    DaveC426913

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    OK, this is going over my head.

    We've got a partial answer: there are 2 plums.
    The rest of the teaser is about 'why?'

    Now, what do the eyes have to do with anything?
     
  16. Jan 13, 2005 #15
    That's a "trick answer," and technically I don't think it's correct. The English language is illogical here--when you say a man "had not eyes," it's the same as saying the man "had not any eyes," or "did not have any eyes," which convention clearly dictates to mean the man "had zero eyes."

    Similarly, if you say he did not take plums, it's the same as saying he didn't take any plums, which convention clearly dictates to mean he took zero plums.
     
  17. Jan 14, 2005 #16
    well if you check the question, it says, 'a man not had eyes', and not ' a man had not eyes'.

    what it means that a man not had eyes, but he had an eye. i don't think that would be incorrect english.

    though i agree, that a general assumption for this phrase is that the man has no eyes, but technically, i don't think it is an incorrect statement for a man who has just one eye.
     
  18. Jan 14, 2005 #17

    Gokul43201

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    It says he "had not".

    If it did say, "A man not had eyes", then it would definitely be incorrect English, but may be accepted as a logical statement, where 'not' is the logical operator refering to the complement of some set.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2005
  19. Jan 15, 2005 #18
    Oh, my mistake :redface:

    i guess, i just switched places between the two phrases, but i still mean the same.

    and logically, my statement(in the original question) is an acceptable statement, and does support the answer.
     
  20. Jan 15, 2005 #19
    No, it doesn't. Did you read my post?
     
  21. Jan 15, 2005 #20
    Easy Bart the real issue for the teaser is not that we have a "English language" issue.
    It is the "language of LOGIC" and the tight rules there.
    where having an eye
    ....will return a false on having eyes.
    .... Thus true on "not eyes"
    ....would even return a false on having 'any eyes' (still need two)
    but having having 'an eye' or 'any eye'
    ....would return true on "having vision" or able to see tree.

    You can't expect to depend on a spoken language to be exact when "That's Bad" is used to decribe 'the most desirable item'.

    Good one vikasj007.

    'without wax'
    RB
     
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