I would like to hear your opinion as philosophers and scientists regarding how you would solve the problem of proof in the following scenario:

"Plato" who has dementia and a damaged left hippocampus was kidnapped by "Aristoteles" to an unknown location. He was released after two days and could return to his home. He did not speak to anyone about what happened and dies(natural) the following day without anyone asking him what has happened.

Then suddenly the Aristoteles shows up and provides a signed will where Plato has made him a beneficiary. He testifies that the will was signed without undue influence and at the signing moment Plato became healthy and there were no signs at all of memory problems. Aristoteles used his mother and a close friend as witnesses and they are willing to lie to help Aristoteles in any way possible.

Since your're an apprentice of Plato you feel obliged to challenge the will on the grounds that Plato did not have testamentary capacity.

Aristoteles also says that you have no way of disputing his claims about Platons mental health since you were not there to observe it. If you bring the case to court you do not have any proof on your side.

Aristoteles also says that he will testify, in his perspective, there was no kidnapping at all but he and Plato has been on a holiday together.

Can you make a counterargument using probabilities, philosophy och logic?


  • 3
    I voted to close this question in part because it seems to be more about legal/medical issues than philosophical ones, and in part because it makes me uncomfortable. Describing a criminal act and then asking for suggestions about how one might or might not get away with it is... Well, let's just say it's not the kind of thing we do here. – Ted Wrigley Nov 9 '20 at 14:19
  • Hi Ted, I understand your concerns viewing it from a criminal viewpoint but i assure you the question concerns protecting elderly from getting secretely abused all over the world. Could we still have the question open for answers? – Philosophy101 Nov 9 '20 at 16:10
  • What you intend the question to be, and what other people read the question as, are entirely different things. Either rewrite the question to be more philosophical (and less problematic), or wait to see if others agree with my 'close' suggestion. – Ted Wrigley Nov 9 '20 at 16:24
  • I respect your feedback and will try to rewrite the question. – Philosophy101 Nov 9 '20 at 17:45
  • In modern western culture the will would not be considered valid unless it were "witnessed". – Hot Licks Nov 9 '20 at 18:20

I wouldn't feel bound to defend Plato against a claim that i have no reason to believe is false. Is there any other potentially unseen motive besides fraud that is contended and for which there is evidence? If there was no other apparent benefit for them having kidnapped him, it is logical to assume the motive was the obvious one. If we know Aristotle to be the kind of person who does that kind of thing, that's evidence, however scanty. But since i'm against inheritance anyway, i'd argue that wealth without merit (inherited) is inherently bad for society because it creates division based on arbitrary criteria of monetary luck.

  • Thanks for the comment, I've updated the scenario :) – Philosophy101 Nov 9 '20 at 20:21
  • I would then rely upon whether spontaneous remissions are a plausible scenario. It seems like you're fishing for an answer that gets at something much more specific than is obvious to me. – Kaiser Basileus Nov 10 '20 at 22:08

One issue with this scenario is that I have an overview of everything but in reality don't know how much I am supposed to know.

Since I would have to challenge the will on grounds against Aristoteles, it is known that Plato has dementia and has a damaged left hippocampus, therefore at anytime prior to the stated recovery he was without testamentary capacity. Aristoteles naturally has agreed to this because he has stated that there were no signs of memory problems, as a supportive statement for why Plato was with testamentary capacity during the signing of the will.

Given the witnesses are supposed to be partly the evidence, they must have been there during the signing of the will or their support is invalid. Therefore we can infer that for starters, Plato did not write this will themselves under testamentary capacity but merely signed it.

It's unlikely that someone who has died of natural causes would sign a will they did not create and subsequently die shortly after. Furthermore, signing a will on it's own does not demonstrate testamentary capacity, therefore the evidence that Plato was with testamentary capacity at that instant he has signed the will and not simply afterwards, is in need of proof.

For starters this puts even ground in place.

Based on the earlier statements, either the witnesses went with Aristoteles on holiday and Aristoteles did not mention this, to witness the signing of the will, or they all went to Plato's house and signed it there. I would know being Plato's apprentice that there was no period prior to this where he was of testamentary capacity sufficient enough to sign a will.

For starters at this point I have made it clear that Aristoteles either has been lying or hiding things.

Now in reality, this entire case would have been more in an attempt to make Aristoteles mess up by saying things he really should not due to the fact that he is lying in the first place. The evidence would be much easier to acquire too, simply by having police check relevant cameras, and asking particular neighbors on the activities of the witnesses during these periods.

As a scientist using science, the evidence is much more extensive.

There are quite a lot of unlikely things, and oddities, but this achieves the goal since there is no evidence that Plato was of testamentary capacity, but there is evidence that they were not prior to signing the will.

One could even say that because they were not of testamentary capacity at the start of the holiday, this counts as kidnapping. To refute this Aristoteles can only state that they signed the will before the holiday and were of testamentary capacity throughout it. This therefore depends on whether I the apprentice have had contact up to the kidnapping of Plato. Either way, this restricts the amount of choices Aristoteles and the witnesses could have made and provides more parts to investigate.

Would be my take on it without saying the obvious scientific points.

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