Re: Riddles (was: Lateral Thinking)

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Tue Jan 02 2001 - 19:12:58 MST

At 04:49 PM 2/01/01 -0000, Dale wrote:

>> >> >The riddle itself is a Hofstadterian self-answering riddle.

>I think the point of Eliezer's puzzle was to challenge our assumptions and
>force us to think outside the box ('box' probably being another clue). The
>box this time being the *form* of the riddle-answer pair.

Look, let's just work through this.

I am two boxes, each inside the other;
I am myself, I have no brother;
I am exactly what I claim;
If you guess this riddle, speak my name.

The reason the quote from my book referred to [indexical or deictic]
shifters is because I now take it for granted that the sentences above are
saying (falsely):

As A = A, I = I. I am I, the self in the world and the self inside the
skin. When I use the term `I' in any declaration, that `I' points
reflexively back to the utterer. The name the quatrain wishes us to speak
is `I': if Eliezer proposes it as a challenge, as he did in the first
instance, another person would be justified in answering `Eliezer' to the
riddle, I should think.

To explain why this claim is false would entail a long diatribe on the
multi-part subject construction of the allegedly unitary or sovereign
classic `self', a topic exhaustively examined in the last 30 years of
deconstruction--and, of course, in `society of mind' models in cognitive
science, and psychoanalysis, and Popper, etc.

It might be that these remarks will still be seen by Eliezer and Dale as
missing *their* point, in which case I invite further elucidation from them.

Damien Broderick

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