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Logics : She-goat, Wolf, and Cabbage February 24, 2015

Posted by anagasto in philosophy.
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A man had to take a wolf, a she-goat, and a load of cabbage  across a river, but his boat was only big enough for two at a time, himself and one of those three.

How did he do it to get them all across unharmed?
Here is the solution in English:

wolf.jpg

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According to http://www.edizioniets.com/Priv_File_Libro/94.pdf this mathematics puzzle is also known in Africa. Accordingly, in Liberia the load is a cheetah, a chicken and rice; in Algeria  there is a jackal, a goat and a bundle of hay:

Così per esempio, in Liberia sono coinvolti un ghepardo, un pollo e del riso; in Algeria uno sciacallo, una capra e un fascio di fieno.

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And because this is more than a thousand years old, the solution also comes in Latin:

“Ducerem prius capram et dimitterem foris lupum et caulum.”

Tum deinde venirem, lupumque transferrem: lupoque foris misso capram navi receptam ultra reducerem ; capramque foris missam caulum transveherem ultra; atque iterum remigassem, capramque assumptam ultra duxissem.

From http://www.recreomath.qc.ca/dict_chou_loup.htm

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It is from the European Middle Ages.

It was first formulated by Alcuin of York at the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria,  about 1200 years ago.

Alcuin of York was a teacher, a poet, an  abbot, and for a long time he was employed as a scholar at the court of Charlemagne.

He would have taught at the cathedral that you see below, though in his time it must have been  smaller.

Aerial view of York and of its cathedral by DACP under a CC attribution license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:York_%28Aerial_view%29.jpg.

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York is at the upper end of the red patch which is England. The map is by by David Liuzzo under a Commons license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Europe_location_ENG2.png
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Comments»

1. Morgenländer - September 21, 2010

Logics and mathematics are rather fascinating in that they connect poeple’s minds across the differences of culture, mentality and experience.

cantueso - September 22, 2010

Mathematics, maybe, but not logics.

Logics are very dangerous when they operate as ideological systems running on small, rationally construed terminologies that can be handled by everybody to fill the conceptual void left by the collapse of all kinds of local and religious ties.


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