Why is this a paradox? Can you solve it? (in Off-topic)


Zenai July 26 2009 10:33 PM EDT

Just a little Stimulation for the Braincells ^_^

Why is this a paradox? Can you solve it?


There is a village where the barber shaves all those and only those who do not shave themselves. Who shaves the barber?

AdminTal Destra [Forge Of Norn] July 26 2009 10:36 PM EDT

He shaves himself

Mesoshort July 26 2009 10:40 PM EDT

But it says he only shaves those that do not shave themselves. So if he shaves himself... he can't shave himself.

I hate you Zen.

AdminTal Destra [Forge Of Norn] July 26 2009 10:41 PM EDT

Then the barber has a beard?

Mesoshort July 26 2009 10:42 PM EDT

If he has a beard, he doesn't shave himself, so he has to shave himself. But he can't.

I still hate you Zen.

AdminTal Destra [Forge Of Norn] July 26 2009 10:45 PM EDT

So the complete answer is that the barber can be shaved by ALL the villagers; those he shaves and those he does not shave. Because those who do not shave themselves do so, doesn't mean they can't shave anyone else. The same can be said of everyone in the village sans the barber

QBOddBird July 26 2009 10:48 PM EDT

You're assuming the barber shaves.

He just has a beard, that's all.

Drama July 26 2009 10:48 PM EDT

It's a mutual service.

Drama July 26 2009 10:54 PM EDT

Anyway everyone knows that barbers do not shave, but they epilate themselves.


Is epilate a verb? I'm not even sure

Zenai July 26 2009 10:57 PM EDT

No Trip they do not all do so only a very select few from only certain countries/beliefs.

However this does actually throw an extra option out there >:)

Cube July 26 2009 10:58 PM EDT

The barber doesn't live in the village.

Admin{CB1}Slayer333 July 26 2009 10:59 PM EDT

The other barber does it.

Zenai July 26 2009 11:02 PM EDT

So Far Trip and Cube have Thrown other Options out there.

Slayer nice try :P

SundariZelia [The Knighthood] July 26 2009 11:04 PM EDT

He is shaved be another version of himself from an alternate universe, that way he is both shaving and not shaving himself at the same time.

Kefeck [Demonic Serenity] July 26 2009 11:06 PM EDT

meh, everyone shaves themself?

DoS [Battle Royale] July 26 2009 11:08 PM EDT

Well, the barber is a woman. xD

Adi July 26 2009 11:11 PM EDT

i think epilate was the best answer, but women don't grow facial hair until they are really old.

Admiralkiller July 26 2009 11:14 PM EDT

He leaves the village to go get shaved somewhere.

Rawr July 26 2009 11:15 PM EDT

I concur with deifeln8. The barber is a woman, therefore no one shaves the barber.

QBOddBird July 26 2009 11:16 PM EDT

The barber's barber shaves the barber.

The barber doesn't shave.

The barber's wife does it. She also mops, vacuums, cooks, and does the dishes.

Kefeck [Demonic Serenity] July 26 2009 11:21 PM EDT

The barber shaves half the town, and the other half can shave the barber?

Mesoshort July 26 2009 11:23 PM EDT

Hey, a woman has to shave too! Legs and ... other areas. Gawsh, shows they have never lived with one =P

DoS [Battle Royale] July 26 2009 11:31 PM EDT

Meso, does a conventional barber shave womens' legs?

Zenai July 26 2009 11:40 PM EDT

Within the Supposed Guidelines Kefeck would be correct.

The barber shaves half the town, and the other half can shave the barber?
(Close Enough, Those who Shave Themselves are Free to Shave others only the Barber is restricted by this Rule of he cannot Shave himself.)

However since there are no other guidelines as to where we cannot add to or take away from the equation. We have the conundrum is there more that we must suppose/assume or not?

In this part we add, so far we have this:

Trip - He Epilates(Removes hair by waxing or pulling it out.) therefore has no need to shave.
Cube - The Barber lives in another Village. (The Rules do not apply because of this?)
Slayer333 - The other Barber Does it. (Assuming he has a Barber himself.)
deifeln8 - The Supposed he is a SHE therefore has no need to shave. (The answer though is assuming only the face, what about the head?)
Admiralkiller - He goes to another place to be shaved (Reference to Slayers answer?)
Anonymous - The Barbers wife does it. (Does she shave herself? If not then no.)


Now within the lines of being realistic and appropriate let us say that there are multiple "places" for women to shave so jumble in these solutions as well to supplement.

Demigod July 26 2009 11:41 PM EDT

The barber suffers from alopecia.

IndependenZ July 27 2009 4:54 AM EDT

Well... doesn't every other villager have the option to shave the barber? The barber shaves those who do not shave themselves, but it doesn't say they can't shave others.

If the barber were to shave me because I don't shave myself, I can still shave him, right? The above statement of 'the other half that does shave themselves can shave the barber' is also true for the half that doesn't shave themselves. The rule implies half the villagers can't shave at all, but it doesn't say that. It says they can't shave themselves.

Or am I missing something?

Zenai July 27 2009 6:55 AM EDT

Honestly it is a simple Riddle and the Answer is more often than not unacceptable to most. the reason why is because most people prefer to "Read" into the question.

So to evoke the thought processes it is often suggested to "Add" supposed/assumed elements to see the outcome of what people infer. This also adds spice to the exercise so that people can actually have fun.

In this case one person got the Clinical answer so quickly I had to start the Adding process just as quickly to throw people off.

True Answer: Tal - So the complete answer is that the barber can be shaved by ALL the villagers; those he shaves and those he does not shave.

Because those who do not shave themselves do so, doesn't mean they can't shave anyone else.(Wording shot your answer if you had left this part out it would have been perfect.)

The same can be said of everyone in the village sans the barber.


The Barber is the only one with a restriction, it is only implied that anyone else does so in fact ANY villager has the freedom to shave the barber.

{WW]Nayab [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 27 2009 7:10 AM EDT

So its boring in its final answer put genius at first glance.
Thanks Zenai for such amusement for the mind.

Cube July 27 2009 7:31 AM EDT

My interpretation of the paradox was:
The paradox isn't on the villagers, but on the barber himself. The barber can't shave himself, but must shave himself at the same time. Thus, the only way to solve it would be to go around the rules, such as he's not from the village. The other villagers can shave other people sure, but the barber must shave himself, and not shave himself at the same time.

If the barber doesn't shave himself, he is not shaving _all_ the people in the village who don't shave themselves.

If he does shave himself, then he violates the fact that he only shaves people who _don't shave_ themselves. (Because he would be shaving himself)

{WW]Nayab [Cult of the Valaraukar] July 27 2009 7:36 AM EDT

I take back my previous statement. Thanks to Cube, i see that this is a throughly concrete Paradox that must be solved outside of the square.
I still thank Zenai for this though.

iBananco [Blue Army] July 27 2009 7:39 AM EDT

True Answer: Tal - So the complete answer is that the barber can be shaved by ALL the villagers; those he shaves and those he does not shave.

False.

Case 1: The barber shaves himself. Thus, as he only shaves those who do not shave themselves, he must not shave himself. =><=.
Case 2: The barber does not shave himself. Thus, as he shaves all those who don't shave themselves, he must shave himself. =><=.

Phaete July 27 2009 7:52 AM EDT


I agree with deifln, not with zen.

If the barber can be shaved by the village, he falls in category of people who do not shave themselves, and he must thus shave himself.

Original:
There is a village where the barber shaves all those and only those who do not shave themselves. Who shaves the barber?

Zenai July 27 2009 1:36 PM EDT

Keep Going Folks as this is what the exercise is truly about, constantly seeing the Conundrum of the Paradox. I do not need to be agreed with as the answer I have given is only the first of 3 anyway >:)

Yes I know I am terrible but I did not make it just perpetuating it :P

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] July 27 2009 1:42 PM EDT

JS is correct. This is why it's called a paradox.

Admiralkiller July 27 2009 1:52 PM EDT

The barber is a little KID/teen not mature enough to shave and he shaves everyone that does not shave themselves, plus he lives out of town and comes to visit weekly to shave the towns people, plus his mom shaves his head (part of his tribe rituals) when he is at home.

Not working but my best attempt

So hopefully this rule only works when he is in the village.

Mesoshort July 27 2009 1:55 PM EDT

"If the barber can be shaved by the village, he falls in category of people who do not shave themselves, and he must thus shave himself. "

It doesn't say that he =has= to shave, only that he can shave, doesn't say it has to be him to shave himself. Answer: the barber uses hot wax on his face, its not shaving but it get rids of the hair.

-or-

barber
c.1320, from Anglo-Fr. barbour, from O.Fr. barbeor, from V.L. *barbator-em, from L. barba "beard." Originally also regular practitioners of surgery and dentistry, they were restricted to haircutting and dentistry under Henry VIII. Barber-shop is from 1579; in ref. to close harmony male vocal quartets, it is attested from 1910.

The barber in question that needs a shave is actually a singer, surgeon or a dentist and this is actually the 1300s, and not a hair trimmer. That's a bit out there though =P

Cube July 27 2009 4:42 PM EDT

the barber uses hot wax on his face

But then the barber's still not shaving everyone in the village (that doesn't shave themselves).
Same problem if the barber's a woman(who doesn't shave her legs) or a child.

In fact, it even follows that everyone in the village must get shaved, one way or another. I guess there's no one under 14.

Admiralkiller July 27 2009 4:48 PM EDT

It is a village with two barbers and they shave each other.

three4thsforsaken July 27 2009 5:08 PM EDT

the barber can shave himself. But only once.

His process of shaving how now been extended for an entire lifetime, shaving hair as it grows.

iBananco [Blue Army] July 27 2009 6:33 PM EDT

It's not a question of which set of people is allowed to shave the barber. The barber either shaves himself or doesn't shave himself. Either case leads to a contradiction.

Phaete July 27 2009 6:45 PM EDT

There is a village where the barber shaves all those and only those who do not shave themselves. Who shaves the barber?


There is a person in the village called 'themselves'
Themselves always shaves himself.
Thus the barber, not shaving 'themselves', can shave himself.

rockdiva42 July 27 2009 7:30 PM EDT

Only problem with that is the capitalization in the sentence would have correctly capitalized the word themselves if it was a name of a person. So that would make your comment incorrect. Sorry.

Colonel Custard July 27 2009 8:28 PM EDT

"Slayer333 - The other Barber Does it. (Assuming he has a Barber himself.)
deifeln8 - The Supposed he is a SHE therefore has no need to shave. (The answer though is assuming only the face, what about the head?)
Admiralkiller - He goes to another place to be shaved (Reference to Slayers answer?)
Anonymous - The Barbers wife does it. (Does she shave herself? If not then no.)"

None of these are viable solutions, actually.
No one else in the village can shave the barber, because he would then be compelled to shave himself, since he is not one who shaves himself, and he needs to shave all those, including himself. The paradox is that his obligation to shave all those who do not shave themselves excludes him from that category upon the execution of the action upon himself.
Also, women need to shave, and a woman barber would therefore have to shave herself, which would make her ineligible to receive her own shaving services.

The issue is with the words "all" and "only." This leads to a strict, black-and-white categorization of every inhabitant in the village. The barber, however, cannot continuously be placed in one category, because he switches categories as soon as he starts to apply the premise of the paradox to himself.

I think Cube's got it right: the barber doesn't live in the village. That's actually quite clever. Well done!

three4thsforsaken July 28 2009 4:39 AM EDT

I think the switching of categories is important.

The main part of the paradox involves at what instant does the barber move from "those who do not shave themselves" to "those who do shave themselves". I think shave implies that the person finished shaving themselves. Therefore, the moment the barber starts shaving himself he doesn't change categories until the moment he is finished. So he can shave himself, but only the first time.

Then the answer includes the barber. But then who shaves him afterwards? If it matters.

three4thsforsaken July 28 2009 5:05 AM EDT

To continue...if the barber is compelled to shave all those who do not shave themselves, he is forced to attempt to try to shave himself.

Either way he shaves himself. Cause the moment he moves to the "those who have shaved themselves" category he has definitely shaved himself.
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