Drown or Burn

The ship you are traveling on crashes and you somehow succeed to reach the shores of an island. On this island however, a cruel tribe resides and decides to murder you. The tribals can not agree on how to do this, so they decide that if the first sentence you say is a lie, they will drown you, and if it is a truth, they will burn you. Luckily, you hear their conversation and come up with a plan. What do you tell them?

You can tell them “You will drown me”. This will result in a paradox – if your sentence is true, then they will drown you, but on the other hand will be forced to burn you, which is a contradiction. Similarly if your sentence if false. Therefore they will not have a choice except to give up on their plan.

Published in Insight

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