"Buridan's ass" - to be or not to be?

problem of choice - this is the dilemma that will always stand before man.What to choose such that it benefited, not to miscalculate?Philosophical question, known as "Buridan's ass" will haunt the minds of mankind forever.In this article, we will examine the value phraseologism, its origins, and find out where in the literature, this phrase is used.


ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who lived in the fourth century BC, told his disciples a parable and listeners.His stories Buridan donkey - indecisive man who was dying of thirst and hunger.This person is within walking distance of food and cooking, and does not know what to choose him for their salvation.This story is symbolic.

In fact, Aristotle had in mind that if a person is faced with such a choice, he must choose what, in his opinion, it will result in great good.Much later, in the Middle Ages, scholastic philosopher Jean Buridan told this parable in other words.

problem Buridan donkey

In fact, there is no problem.There is a

donkey dying of hunger, and there seems to be two piles of hay equal.What to choose?According to the parable, a donkey can endlessly to solve and eventually just die of hunger.Also, big-eared animal can simply select one of the two stacks and begin the meal.Formulate a question of choice is thus able to Jean Buridan.Is it possible to make a rational choice, if not quite possible to calculate, what will this or that decision?However, the surviving this day rumors, Buridan, telling the story the audience, always asking if he had seen in such cases, to asses died.Otherwise, the whole of Asia would simply littered with corpses eared animals.In fact, animals are not tormented by the problem of choice, this property belongs only to man.

Or sink or swim

Actually Buridan donkey - every one of us at least once a week.How often do you find yourself thinking that you are better to do in a particular situation and how to choose between two evils?It is a good illustration of this problem known anecdote about a monkey who could not decide who to join it - a clever or beautiful.

no correct answer in such situations and there can not be, because people have their own outlook and worldview.

philosophical interpretation

In fact, as the philosophers say, the meaning of the parable is not the problem of choice, "which is better."Increasingly global.The image of a donkey was a model of determinism in the study of the human will.It is believed that if the mind can not choose the best, in this case, the best of human emotions will take on a momentum that will elect the aspiration to the sublime.If by thinking person understands that both versions are equal, then the will of man in this case is no longer valid.

Before each of us at least once in a lifetime there a moral issue of choice.Sometimes the question may sound quite drastically.For example, what is better - to tell the truth and lose everything, but at the same time acquire a relief of conscience, or remain silent, but then live with a heavy heart?

No one can stay in their achievements, in the same time our joy and misfortune.On the one hand, we never stop the development, on the other - we can lose all the acquired.Buridan donkey selection value of which can be fatal, every human being constantly pursues.And the correct answer can not be here, because the notion of correctness is a relative, and each is his own.

physical and mathematical meaning

philosophers do not approve of the fact that "the Buridan donkey" Physics Leibniz efforts for some time is the experimental animals of the exact sciences.But Gray lop-eared donkey with Schrodinger's cat is now also a participant in thought experiments.The behavior of a donkey in a given situation is predictable.Thus, knowing the laws of Newtonian mechanics, it is possible to determine the location of any object (in the presence of some data).In addition, Buridan donkey is mentioned in the explanation of the mathematical theorem of Weierstrass.This theorem is as follows - if a continuous function at a point is positive, and the other is negative, then certainly between these points there is a point where the function is zero.

In a situation with a donkey situation is - if the donkey can not decide on the right side of his stack to dinner or to the left, it will remain in the middle and die.

image of a donkey in a culture

Not everyone knows the teachings of Jean Buridan, but stable expression "Buridan donkey" is known to many.Today, this phrase refers to the oscillating of a man who can not decide what to do.In addition, one of the layouts tarot card has the name.Besides Buridan donkey is found in the work of Dante Alighieri, Eugenio Montale, G√ľnter de Bruyn, Henry Oldie.