1042: "Never"

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Divinius
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Divinius » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:14 pm UTC

rgbysgt wrote:anyone else think of the black pool resembling the "Skin of Evil" aka Armus from TNG? you know... the one the killed Tasha Yar... I know I would certainly never forget the parts of that thing that were important red flags

Wow, ok, so I wasn't the only one that thought that...

dexeron
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby dexeron » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

rgbysgt wrote:anyone else think of the black pool resembling the "Skin of Evil" aka Armus from TNG? you know... the one the killed Tasha Yar... I know I would certainly never forget the parts of that thing that were important red flags

http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Skin_of_Evil_(episode)


dexeron wrote:I'm just glad that the protagonist of this strip FINALLY broke up with Armus. Talk about a disfunctional relationship!


It was the first thing to pop into my head.
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radtea
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby radtea » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

SoaG wrote:Hi Randall! I see you've met my ex-wife. :lol:


And one of my ex-g/f's. Lesson learned: to be insanely hot, you've first got to be insane.
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Adam H
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Adam H » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:51 pm UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
Nylonathatep wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.
"I'll bet you think this comic is about you. Don't you? Don't you?" :D
Aw, man! Now I 'got clowns in my coffee.
+1 internets to each of you.
I got the first joke pretty easy. The second one I don't think I get, unless it's just the same joke as the first. And the third is completely over my head.

Way to make me feel stupid, you jerkheads! :P
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm UTC

entangled_mess wrote:You're probably correct about them refusing to end a sentence with a preposition
Which was my point. The kinds of people who insist on using "whom" for the object are likely to be the same ones who don't end sentences with prepositions.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby DougL » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
Nylonathatep wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.
"I'll bet you think this comic is about you. Don't you? Don't you?" :D
Aw, man! Now I 'got clowns in my coffee.
+1 internets to each of you.
I got the first joke pretty easy. The second one I don't think I get, unless it's just the same joke as the first. And the third is completely over my head.

Way to make me feel stupid, you jerkheads! :P


Part of the Lyrics of "You're so vain" by Carly Simon are as follows:


You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't You? Don't You?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and...


It's a rather famous song.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:17 pm UTC

DougL wrote:
Adam H wrote:
eran_rathan wrote:
EpicanicusStrikes wrote:
Nylonathatep wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.
"I'll bet you think this comic is about you. Don't you? Don't you?" :D
Aw, man! Now I 'got clowns in my coffee.
+1 internets to each of you.
I got the first joke pretty easy. The second one I don't think I get, unless it's just the same joke as the first. And the third is completely over my head.

Way to make me feel stupid, you jerkheads! :P


Part of the Lyrics of "You're so vain" by Carly Simon are as follows:


You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't You? Don't You?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and...


It's a rather famous song.


not to be confused with:

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:18 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!

Is a bodybuilder vain for thinking he's stronger than most people? Or a Nobel prize winner for thinking he's smarter than most people?
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Wlerin » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:39 pm UTC

entangled_mess wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
or whom I build a life with"

Am I wrong? I think I am.
You're not wrong, technically, except that few people actually talk like that, and the ones who do probably wouldn't end their sentence with a preposition like you just did.


He's not wrong about that either, despite what those grammar snobs think. It's a myth that you can't end a sentence with a preposition. The only time it is frowned upon or could be considered incorrect is when the preposition is superfluous. In "...whom I build a life with," the "with" is necessary and okay. It is usually preferable to construct a sentence with the least amount of grammatical gymnastics possible, even if it means ending a sentence with a preposition (which is fine) or--gasp--splitting an infinitive (which, shockingly, is also fine if it would mean having to completely reconstruct the sentence in an awkward way).

Which is all well and true, except how is "with whom I build a life" more awkward than "whom I build a life with" ? Unless keeping a preposition together with its object breaks up an idiom or causes some other kind of awkward sentence structure, it is preferable to stranding the preposition at the end of the sentence.

entangled_mess wrote:You're probably correct about them refusing to end a sentence with a preposition, as it seems that most grammar snobs actually don't understand English grammar as well as they think they do. They're the same people who insist on correcting people when they say, "I'm good," even though it's more correct than saying, "I'm well." (Unless you are referring specifically to your health, of course.)

Depends entirely on the question being answered. "How are you doing?" is properly answered "[I'm doing] well." "How are you?" on the other hand, should be answered, "I'm good." In regular conversation the distinction is rather unimportant.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

Wlerin wrote:it is preferable to stranding the preposition at the end of the sentence
Preferable in what sense? Preferred by you? Preferred by prescriptivists? Or simply preferred by average speakers? Because while I'll grant the first two, I also don't care what you or prescriptivists think, and you'll have to do more work to prove that average speakers prefer not to "strand" the preposition at the end of the sentence.

(Unless you're specifically talking about the clause with "whom" instead of "who". In which case I agree that putting the preposition first sounds better, and probably also does to most other speakers.)

From most to least natural, I'd rank the alternatives as follows:
1) ...or who I build a life with.
2) ...or with whom I build a life.
3) ...or whom I build a life with.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Wlerin
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Wlerin » Fri Apr 13, 2012 8:56 pm UTC

Oooh, toting out the labels now.

It's preferable because it avoids ambiguity, the same reason other forms of dangling modifiers should be avoided. I frankly don't care what "average speakers" think, if their preference muddles up the sentence. In this particular example it doesn't matter much either way, but that's no reason to practice bad habits.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:21 pm UTC

anyone else think of the black pool resembling the "Skin of Evil" aka Armus from TNG?


Yes. In fact, I didn't quite get it for a few seconds because I was trying to parse the comic as being TNG-related.

From most to least natural, I'd rank the alternatives as follows:
1) ...or who I build a life with.
2) ...or with whom I build a life.
3) ...or whom I build a life with.


Interesting; to me, 3 sounds the most natural, and it's undoubtedly what I would say. I guess my linguistic tendencies are rather idiosyncratic, though.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:41 pm UTC

Wlerin wrote:It's preferable because it avoids ambiguity.
What ambiguity, exactly?

I frankly don't care what "average speakers" think, if their preference muddles up the sentence.
"Muddling" up a sentence can only be evaluated in terms of how easily people understand it, though.
Unless stated otherwise, I do not care whether a statement, by itself, constitutes a persuasive political argument. I care whether it's true.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby RogueCynic » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:17 am UTC

I thought Stick Figure was talking to someone down the well. That would only work if it was BHG though.
radtea wrote:
SoaG wrote:Hi Randall! I see you've met my ex-wife. :lol:


And one of my ex-g/f's. Lesson learned: to be insanely hot, you've first got to be insane.
We've all met her. She smashed a bottle off one of my friend's head once.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby CartoonPiranha » Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:21 am UTC

Mostly from the way that his reflection was drawn and the implication of making out with himself (and whatever else) I thought it was supposed to be the stick guy's own experience of this http://xkcd.com/267/. New user, I'm afraid, so no actual link.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby BlitzGirl » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:46 am UTC

RogueCynic wrote:
radtea wrote:
SoaG wrote:Hi Randall! I see you've met my ex-wife. :lol:

And one of my ex-g/f's. Lesson learned: to be insanely hot, you've first got to be insane.
We've all met her. She smashed a bottle off one of my friend's head once.

Yawn. Story would be more interesting if instead of a bottle, it was:

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Ronsonic
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Ronsonic » Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:54 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
Garciat wrote:"or whom I build a life with"

Am I wrong? I think I am.
You're not wrong, technically, except that few people actually talk like that, and the ones who do probably wouldn't end their sentence with a preposition like you just did.


That is a thing which up with we cannot put.






Churchill reputedly said something like that on the subject once.
Last edited by Ronsonic on Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:01 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Ronsonic » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:00 pm UTC

RogueCynic wrote:I thought Stick Figure was talking to someone down the well. That would only work if it was BHG though.
radtea wrote:
SoaG wrote:Hi Randall! I see you've met my ex-wife. :lol:


And one of my ex-g/f's. Lesson learned: to be insanely hot, you've first got to be insane.
We've all met her. She smashed a bottle off one of my friend's head once.


She's from Louisiana and seems normal until she drinks. She got me into a New Years Eve bar fight.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby addams » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:09 pm UTC

muntoo wrote:I don't get it. (Assuming it's supposed to be funny. Or a reference of some sort.)

Have you never sat across from another person and had your 'Red Flags' going up?
Red Flags mean danger.

Did you ever hang out with that person, anyway?
Were your Red Flags, right?

Yes. I think that I understand it. It is like those 'Red Flag' moments fade very slowly.
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Some of us see The Gutter.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Bill5 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:19 pm UTC

Invertin wrote:no regret, just laugh at your past self because he's a moron :D

Yes, he is. And I strive daily to be better than my past moron. It's a benchmark, and a goal.

With all my XKCD reading, I somehow hadn't realized, with all the truly romantic comics (!!) that Randall has posted, (culminating in his marriage 2011-09-12), that there is an underlying dark current.

Not dark like cancer, but dark like everyday regular relationships.
I am truly sorry to see the dark current resurface for him.
I want to believe in bliss, at least for someone.
I hope Randall & wife are OK. Bon chance, my friend.

On the other, other hand, this depressing comic gives me hope.
Hope, that I can escape what I've created with my second wife.
(And I was so careful about the red flags from the first wife.
And now I miss her so.)
I dream about the next one, nightly. I guess I'm an optimist, or hopeful or something.

:-)?

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby udqbpn » Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:02 pm UTC

I'm sorry for your loss. P.S. Call me. ~Megan Fox.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby addams » Sun Apr 15, 2012 6:40 pm UTC

Ronsonic wrote:
RogueCynic wrote:I thought Stick Figure was talking to someone down the well. That would only work if it was BHG though.
radtea wrote:
SoaG wrote:Hi Randall! I see you've met my ex-wife. :lol:


And one of my ex-g/f's. Lesson learned: to be insanely hot, you've first got to be insane.
We've all met her. She smashed a bottle off one of my friend's head once.


She's from Louisiana and seems normal until she drinks. She got me into a New Years Eve bar fight.


Sometimes, she's a man.

Wasteland is how I delt with it. Then, I went back to check.
Red Flags and for good reason. So, funny.
Him: Where is my bag?
As far away from the driver's seat as I could get it.
Him: Why?
It is heavy.
Him: What do you think is in there?
I don't know. Could be plutonioum.
Him: If, I have plutonium what would you do? Won't you tell the athorities?
No. If, you have plutonioum, then, you are the athority.

We had some weird conversations. That was one heavy bag.

What would you think? A Physical Chemisrty resourse manual is heavy. A laptop that can support those kinds of programs is heavy. The world is full of dense stuff.

Lead shelding is heavy. What he has in his bag is not on my, 'Need to know' list.

It was fun. Red Flags and all.

Sometimes, I am still mad at him.

Most of the time I am, just, glad to have had such an interesting friend.
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We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:28 am UTC

Should I send this to my ex?
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby severach » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:21 am UTC

DougL wrote:Clouds in my coffee, and...

It's a rather famous song.

Famous or not the first I thought of was "Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like Richard Cheese?" I ignore the Carly Simon song because it is frustrating to listen to.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby VectorZero » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:57 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:
DougL wrote:
Adam H wrote:*snip*
Part of the Lyrics of "You're so vain" by Carly Simon are as follows:

You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't You? Don't You?

I had some dreams they were clouds in my coffee
Clouds in my coffee, and...


It's a rather famous song.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby jpk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:42 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!



You know, I had a thought, and I posted it, and it was incorrect. Never mind.
Last edited by jpk on Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:55 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby VectorZero » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:50 am UTC

Except that the argument is not "you're vain because you think this song is about you", it's "you're vain, and I bet you think this song is about you."
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:45 am UTC

VectorZero wrote:Except that the argument is not "you're vain because you think this song is about you", it's "you're vain, and I bet you think this song is about you."

Except there's no "and" in the original lyric (and the first and more oft-repeated version of the line is "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you"). I always read it as an implied "that": "you're so vain that you probably think this song is about you". Like how in "your momma's so fat, when she sits around the house she sits around the house!", the comma elides a "that": your momma is fat to the extent that when she sits around the house... (etc). Likewise, "you are vain to the extent that you probably think this song is about you".

Except, if the song really is about him, that's not so great an extent of vanity at all. It'd be like "your momma's so fat, she can anchor down children's balloons!" Uh, yeah, that's not very fat...
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby fulldaykg » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:46 am UTC

I like the comic... makes me a little worried though... First thing I thought of:
http://blog.xkcd.com/2011/06/30/family-illness/

I hope everything's going well, Randall; and if not - I'm praying for you and your family (even if I do own your "Stand back, I'm going to try Science" shirt).

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Re: 1042: "Never"

Postby jester » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:36 pm UTC

I assume that most people read this comic (as I did) as a joke about getting out of a terrible relationship. "I will never have with anyone what I had with you... thank God" seems to be about exactly that. I assume that's how Randall meant it to be read, and as others pointed out, it's thematically similar to some of is early comics.

I suspect (and hope!) that the comic, interpreted this way, is not a reflection of Randall's thoughts about his wife! However, the comic could be interpreted in an entirely different way as well - I'm sure he hopes never again to have the experience of watching someone he loves suffer from cancer. I like these dual meanings.

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the darker and more personal-sounding comics that Randall used to write before he was in a nice happy relationship. Many of my favorite XKCD comics are the earliest ones. The use of lowercase letters and sketchy art gave the comic a very intimate, personal feel. I wish he'd go back, if not to that style than at least to those themes. Here's one of the last ones in that style: http://xkcd.com/92/

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby jpers36 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:39 pm UTC

It's a funny truth that the average listener and the average speaker will have different conceptions of the same sentence. The goal of creating a sentence is usually communication; therefore, the ideal is the sentence which communicates best to the average listener, not the one that matches best with the sentence the average speaker would create. So this is right:

gmalivuk wrote:"Muddling" up a sentence can only be evaluated in terms of how easily people understand it, though.


But this is wrong, in essence if not in any explicit claim:

gmalivuk wrote:
Wlerin wrote:it is preferable to stranding the preposition at the end of the sentence
Preferable in what sense? Preferred by you? Preferred by prescriptivists? Or simply preferred by average speakers? Because while I'll grant the first two, I also don't care what you or prescriptivists think, and you'll have to do more work to prove that average speakers prefer not to "strand" the preposition at the end of the sentence.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:28 pm UTC

jpers36 wrote:It's a funny truth that the average listener and the average speaker will have different conceptions of the same sentence. The goal of creating a sentence is usually communication; therefore, the ideal is the sentence which communicates best to the average listener, not the one that matches best with the sentence the average speaker would create. So this is right:

gmalivuk wrote:"Muddling" up a sentence can only be evaluated in terms of how easily people understand it, though.


But this is wrong, in essence if not in any explicit claim:

gmalivuk wrote:
Wlerin wrote:it is preferable to stranding the preposition at the end of the sentence
Preferable in what sense? Preferred by you? Preferred by prescriptivists? Or simply preferred by average speakers? Because while I'll grant the first two, I also don't care what you or prescriptivists think, and you'll have to do more work to prove that average speakers prefer not to "strand" the preposition at the end of the sentence.


You have not at all shown that he's wrong.

Anyway, I disagree with you. You say the ideal is a sentence which communicates best to an average listener. But people do not always talk to average listeners. Sometimes they talk to people who are not in the little group that's closest to average. So I think the ideal is to communicate bst with your particularl target audience.

You are probably right, though, that people tend not to actually communicate in the way that they best understand when other people try to communicate with them. We don't necessarily think out the best way to communicate when we try to communicate, and when somebody communicates with us and we understand well we might not think out how they did it.

Similarly, when cats screech at each other hoping to get the other so scared they'll run off without a fight, they don't necessarily screech in the way that would get them the most scared if somebody did it to them. They just screech however they can at the moment, without lot of thought to optimizing it. Sad in a way. Maybe they could be so much more effective if they learned how.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Eternal Density » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:39 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!
Paradox!
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:53 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!
Paradox!


Could it perhaps be vain of him to think it, even though it's true?

But then, what about the vanity of the song's composer, who thinks the song is important enough that it's vanity to think it's about you? The song was playing everywhere for awhile, so the composer's vanity is perhaps justified, but isn't it still vanity?
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby jpk » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:14 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!
Paradox!



No, I don't think so. I really wanted it to be a variant on the George Bush paradox (aka, the Lying Cretin) but I don't think is works. If you can make it be one, I'll be very happy though, so please go ahead and make me wrong and smarter.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:45 am UTC

jpk wrote:
Eternal Density wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:
Apeiron wrote:You're so vain, you probably think this comic is about you.

That song has always bothered me, because whoever that song is actually about, isn't vain for them believe it to be so, because it's true!
Paradox!

No, I don't think so. I really wanted it to be a variant on the George Bush paradox (aka, the Lying Cretin) but I don't think is works. If you can make it be one, I'll be very happy though, so please go ahead and make me wrong and smarter.

I think an equivalently "paradoxical" sentence, a sentence with the same form of oddity at least, would be: "You are not the person I am addressing with this sentence", or perhaps more simply, "I'm not talking to you." For anybody not being addressed by that sentence, merely overhearing it, it's true; but to the one person it is addressed to, it's false.

Likewise, most of the millions of people listening to Carly tell someone "you're so vain, you probably think this song is about you" would be vain for thinking the song was about them, since it's not, and it'd be vain of them to just assume it was; but the one person she's singing to would not be vain for thinking so, because it's true.

The inverse problem would be "I'm talking to you!", which is false to anybody I'm not talking to, but true to the one person I am.

Highly tangential, but this reminds me of a self-referential question that I've heard several people use to be funny or possibly annoying: "What is the answer to this question?" Some have tried to argue that "What" is the answer to that question, but they need to be cut. The correct answer, inasmuch as there can be one, is: "This is the answer to that question." A self-referential question deserves a self-referential answer.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby philip1201 » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:10 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Highly tangential, but this reminds me of a self-referential question that I've heard several people use to be funny or possibly annoying: "What is the answer to this question?" Some have tried to argue that "What" is the answer to that question, but they need to be cut. The correct answer, inasmuch as there can be one, is: "This is the answer to that question." A self-referential question deserves a self-referential answer.


While elegant, there is no reason for that to be the right answer, and If you are wrong, then there is no inversion of meaning which makes it the right answer again, so there is no reason why your answer should be correct. If the intended answer was "five", you are false.
However, regardless of the intended answer, a tautology is both an answer and correct: "That which is the answer to that question" is always a valid answer. If we take "the answer" to mean there is only one valid answer, then this tautology is the only answer that can possibly be correct. Because tautologies are always correct if the assumption is correct, which we can assume because it's an assumption, which is what assumptions are.

"What" can't be the answer, by the way, because doing so requires stripping it of its meaning in the sentence, which would make it a yes or no question, to which "what" is the wrong answer.

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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby San Fran Sam » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

philip1201 wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Highly tangential, but this reminds me of a self-referential question that I've heard several people use to be funny or possibly annoying: "What is the answer to this question?" Some have tried to argue that "What" is the answer to that question, but they need to be cut. The correct answer, inasmuch as there can be one, is: "This is the answer to that question." A self-referential question deserves a self-referential answer.


While elegant, there is no reason for that to be the right answer, and If you are wrong, then there is no inversion of meaning which makes it the right answer again, so there is no reason why your answer should be correct. If the intended answer was "five", you are false.
However, regardless of the intended answer, a tautology is both an answer and correct: "That which is the answer to that question" is always a valid answer. If we take "the answer" to mean there is only one valid answer, then this tautology is the only answer that can possibly be correct. Because tautologies are always correct if the assumption is correct, which we can assume because it's an assumption, which is what assumptions are.

"What" can't be the answer, by the way, because doing so requires stripping it of its meaning in the sentence, which would make it a yes or no question, to which "what" is the wrong answer.


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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:16 pm UTC

philip1201 wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:Highly tangential, but this reminds me of a self-referential question that I've heard several people use to be funny or possibly annoying: "What is the answer to this question?" Some have tried to argue that "What" is the answer to that question, but they need to be cut. The correct answer, inasmuch as there can be one, is: "This is the answer to that question." A self-referential question deserves a self-referential answer.


While elegant, there is no reason for that to be the right answer, and If you are wrong, then there is no inversion of meaning which makes it the right answer again, so there is no reason why your answer should be correct. If the intended answer was "five", you are false.
However, regardless of the intended answer, a tautology is both an answer and correct: "That which is the answer to that question" is always a valid answer. If we take "the answer" to mean there is only one valid answer, then this tautology is the only answer that can possibly be correct. Because tautologies are always correct if the assumption is correct, which we can assume because it's an assumption, which is what assumptions are.

"That which is the answer to that question (is the answer to that question)" is the correct answer to every question, despite many questions having different answers, because it is merely a pointer to the correct answer: it does not impart the content of the answer itself.

Then again, "What is the answer to this question?" doesn't actually inquire about any substantial matter either; it is an empty self-reference in the mere form of a question, much like the sentence "This sentence is true" doesn't actually impart any information, but fleshes out to an infinite cascade of "it is true that it is true that it is true that it is true that..." with no final object proposition that is affirmed to be true by this proposition.

So really, no substantial answer can really be an answer to the question "What is the answer to this question?", because no substantial question has been asked. Which is why I said "inasmuch as there can be [a correct answer]", mine was 'correct': it is an equally insubstantial self-referential answer whose form complements that of the insubstantial self-referential question. My answer cannot actually be the answer to any question, but the question cannot actually have any answer anyway.
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Re: #1042: "Never"

Postby philip1201 » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:"That which is the answer to that question (is the answer to that question)" is the correct answer to every question, despite many questions having different answers, because it is merely a pointer to the correct answer: it does not impart the content of the answer itself.

Then again, "What is the answer to this question?" doesn't actually inquire about any substantial matter either; it is an empty self-reference in the mere form of a question, much like the sentence "This sentence is true" doesn't actually impart any information, but fleshes out to an infinite cascade of "it is true that it is true that it is true that it is true that..." with no final object proposition that is affirmed to be true by this proposition.

So really, no substantial answer can really be an answer to the question "What is the answer to this question?", because no substantial question has been asked. Which is why I said "inasmuch as there can be [a correct answer]", mine was 'correct': it is an equally insubstantial self-referential answer whose form complements that of the insubstantial self-referential question.


First you say the tautology is a correct answer, and then you say a statement which I've shown has no more reason to be true than the answer "five" is "'correct'" anyway because it has a similar logical shape as the question, and that no answer can possibly correct because the answer is unknowable (when defining tautologies to not be answers). Both those lines of reasoning are just logically unsound. The mathematical equivalent of puns is not a sound substitute for informal logic, and it's intellectually dishonest to propose an answer rather than admit unknowability (whether temporary or fundamental).

[A tautology]is the correct answer to every question [...] My answer cannot actually be the answer to any question, but the question cannot actually have any answer anyway.


This is a contradiction.


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