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A.Word.A.Day drabble – 6/3/10: “Buridan’s ass”
A Word A Day by Anu Garg
PRONUNCIATION: (byoo-RUHD-uhnz ass)
noun: A situation demonstrating the impracticality of decision-making using pure reason, especially a situation involving two equal choices.
Named after French philosopher Jean Buridan (1300-1358).
Imagine a hungry donkey standing equidistant from two identical piles of hay. The donkey tries to decide which pile he should eat first and finding no reason to choose one over another, starves to death. This paradox didn't originate with Buridan -- it's been found back in Aristotle's time. A hungry and thirsty man cannot decide whether to slake his thirst first or his hunger, and dies. Buridan, in his commentaries on Aristotle, chose a dog, but his critics, in their parody of Buridan, turned it into an ass. So Buridan's ass was named after a person who neither proposed the paradox nor picked that animal to discuss it.
Buridan studied under William of Ockham (of Ockham's razor fame).
Charles went a bit dizzy for a second, because stuff like this just didn’t happen to him. Identical 22-year old twins lounging naked on his bed, with their identical tousled dark heads, identical cheeky grins, identical hard, curving cocks. He lay between them on the bed, unable to believe his luck.
“Mmm, do me first,” one of them (Barry?) said.
“No, me,” the other (Danny?) murmured.
“You gotta choose,” they said together.
Charles nodded and thought, logically, about where to start.
Ten minutes later both boys threw on their clothes, shouting, “Cock tease!” as they slammed Charles’ door behind them.