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39 votes
Accepted

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Yes, the monkeys will do it. No, they don't have to. It's mathematically true that after removing all logistical constraints - which is what we mean when we say there are infinitely many monkeys, ...
Zayn's user avatar
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19 votes

How many Platonic ideals are there?

Although Plato's Theory of Forms presents as a consistent, "scientific" system of metaphysics, it doesn't really hold up under scrutiny, and there's a strong tradition of thought that it was ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
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9 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Do not expect to find a perfect definition. A definition is an expression of the meaning of something (the problem of the thing, what is a thing, is another), and meanings are intended normally for ...
RodolfoAP's user avatar
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6 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Several options to define a word. 1. Explicitly define a word in any arbitrary way you want and then use it according to your definition. This method often works for new terms that you invented, such ...
causative's user avatar
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5 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

The difference is between in principle and in practice. If you did have an infinite number of monkeys typing at random for eternity they would produce the works of Shakespeare. However, even if every ...
Marco Ocram's user avatar
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3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

It is fairly easy to show that it is not necessary. First let us simplify the model. Instead of a finite set of monkeys randomly typing keys on a type-writer for all of eternity, let's have a finite ...
Araucaria - Not here any more.'s user avatar
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

How about instead of a typewriter the infinite monkeys each have a button for 0 and a button for 1 and truly randomly smacks one or the other until the end of time. We'll group up those 0s and 1s into ...
Banjoe's user avatar
  • 131
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

This points to the danger of thought experiments. Clearly this isn't meant to be a realizable scenario. In a real-world version, even putting niceties such as immortality, feeding and materials aside, ...
Chris Sunami's user avatar
  • 30.4k
3 votes

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

The odds are just too small for this to happen in any fathomable universe. From Wikipedia: If there were as many monkeys as there are atoms in the observable universe typing extremely fast for ...
Olivier5's user avatar
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2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

How do we define things? We don't. We define words, the words we use to talk about things. To define a word is to specify what thing we use the word to refer to. We don't define things, but we ...
Speakpigeon's user avatar
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2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines "definition" as: an explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase, especially in a dictionary The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy uses ...
AnoE's user avatar
  • 2,985
2 votes

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

Excellent question. Definitions are a little more complicated than you present them. Robinson in his Definitions covers two major categories of definitions: one is the real definition, which he ...
J D's user avatar
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2 votes

Did Gödel think certain math could only be understood if platonism is correct? (and correspondence and nominalism)

We do not have a definition for existence. Take a naïve (read best possible) notion of existence: x is perceivable -> x exists (fails because of hallucinations) x exists -> x is perceivable (...
Hudjefa's user avatar
  • 3,891
1 vote

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

So, regarding the monkey-typing-Shakespeare example: yes, we can reach mathematical confidence that the probability that the works of Shakespeare will not get typed would reach 0 in the infinite limit....
J D's user avatar
  • 28.4k
1 vote

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Zayn's answer correctly points out the mathematical fact that, assuming the necessary assumptions, as the time goes to infinity, the probability of the output of the monkeys containing a given ...
Sandejo's user avatar
  • 823
1 vote

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

There will be a time when nobody remembers who Shakespeare is and what all these monkeys are doing. And that time isn’t very far away. After that, nobody will know when they write whatever I have ...
gnasher729's user avatar
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1 vote

Why would infinite monkeys not produce the works of Shakespeare?

Since every answer here seems to be an aimless shower thought, trying to decode an assertion probably intentionally vague to make the guy who made it sound smugly intelligent, which is most of ...
Radvylf Programs's user avatar
1 vote

Did Gödel think certain math could only be understood if platonism is correct? (and correspondence and nominalism)

The passage from Shapiro does not mention nominalism at all, whereas four out of your five conclusions deal with nominalism. One wonders how they are derived from Shapiro's passage. As far as Gödel ...
Mikhail Katz's user avatar
  • 1,441
1 vote

How do we know we've defined a thing properly when all definitions have exceptions?

There are, it seems, minimally, 2 ways to define anything: Objectively. This method would require the existence of a class (the members being tokens and the class itself being the type). That would ...
Hudjefa's user avatar
  • 3,891

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