Does Infinite Monkey Theorem Prove Originality?

In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of originality and how the postmodern theory challenges the traditional definition of it. The speaker suggests that a unique combination of ingredients can constitute something original, using the infinite monkey theorem as an example. However, the other person disagrees, stating that this theory is not always applicable. They also mention the idea of chaos theory and how it supports the concept of everything being original due to constantly changing initial conditions. The expert suggests looking at information theory and surprisal for a more concrete understanding of originality in literature.
  • #1
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First of all, hello!

Ok, now down to business. So, the postmodern theory basically says that nothing is original. We are just remixing and copying everything that is already there. Basically. But my thought is that we are defining originality in the wrong terms as something completely new in the absolute sense of the word. Yet wouldn't a unique combination of ingredients constitute something original? Take the infinite monkey theorem for example: Isn't the sheer probability of the same work of literature being created again a hallmark of its originality? The fact that only one person could write a given work, given the random probability of life events, experiences, word choice, etc. I'm asking because I'm a literature student and not a math student. Help me out here. Am I completely wrong on this or what? And furthermore, doesn't chaos theory support this idea, if the initial conditions are always changing, i.e., life - each moment. Doesn't that mean everything is 'original'? You would never get the same outcome again. Any author writing any book would never write the same exact words again if you changed one little things. Yes, no? Your thoughts, please.
 
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  • #2
devsitee said:
So, the postmodern theory basically says that nothing is original. We are just remixing and copying everything that is already there.

You should tell the postmodernists that lots of people already said that. Tell them they should try to think of something new.

Basically. But my thought is that we are defining originality in the wrong terms as something completely new in the absolute sense of the word. Yet wouldn't a unique combination of ingredients constitute something original? Take the infinite monkey theorem for example: Isn't the sheer probability of the same work of literature being created again a hallmark of its originality?

I would say no. I've read some routine boring things that monkeys would be unlikely to type.

Doesn't that mean everything is 'original'?

Hmm... Similar to: Every human being is unique. Every one we meet has something to teach us. Every cloud has a silver lining. ... It sound's too trite to be a useful theory.

If you want to grasp at the straws of probability theory in order to make an argument about literature, I suggest you look at "information theory" and "surprisal". That would be based on the analogy that if a literary work is predictable, it isn't very original. (I'm not sure that's true, however.)
 

1. Does the Infinite Monkey Theorem actually prove originality?

No, the Infinite Monkey Theorem does not prove originality. It is simply a thought experiment that suggests that given enough time, a monkey randomly typing on a keyboard could eventually produce a work of literature. It does not account for intention or purpose in creating original work.

2. What is the Infinite Monkey Theorem?

The Infinite Monkey Theorem is a theoretical concept that suggests that given an infinite amount of time, a monkey randomly typing on a keyboard would eventually produce a work of literature, such as Shakespeare's Hamlet. This concept is often used to discuss the probability of certain events occurring.

3. Can the Infinite Monkey Theorem be applied to other areas besides literature?

Yes, the concept of the Infinite Monkey Theorem can be applied to various areas, such as art, music, and even science. It is used to illustrate the idea that with enough time and random attempts, something complex and meaningful can be created by chance alone.

4. Is the Infinite Monkey Theorem a proven theory?

No, the Infinite Monkey Theorem is not a proven theory. It is a thought experiment that has been used to discuss the concept of randomness and probability. While it has been tested and simulated with computers, it remains a theoretical concept and is not considered a proven theory in the scientific community.

5. What are the limitations of the Infinite Monkey Theorem?

The Infinite Monkey Theorem has several limitations. It assumes that the monkey has an infinite amount of time and a perfect keyboard, which is not possible in reality. It also does not account for intention or purpose in creating original work, and it ignores the complexity and structure of language and art. Additionally, it is based on randomness and does not take into account the influence of external factors such as culture and society on creative output.

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