Friday, 14 December 2012

Weekend Quote #23

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

This weekend I choose a quote of simple logic. Sherlock Holmes, one of the best logicians in literature history states those words in one of Doyle's novel, The Sign of Four. Do you agree with that?

Well, in one of the classes I attended, the lecturer used this same quote to teach us the power of elimination in logic. We do this all the time. For example, when we have to answer a multiple choice question such as, “Who is the author of Les Miserables?” and choose between Shakespeare, J K Rowling, Hugo and Verdi, while we have no idea at all who the author is, we can just eliminate all the “impossibles”. Verdi didn't write a novel, he's a composer. Shakespeare didn't write in French, they say his French was not good. Rowling is still living, while the author of Les Mis must have been dead already, given the fact that the novel is so old. It leaves out Hugo.

We may not know who Hugo is, but if we know a little bit about the others, we can still answer rhe question with acceptable degree of certainty. (I did this all the time in High School, with Latin-derived words and Greek symbols in Science classes.)

That's the quote for this weekend. Anything you'd like to share?


  1. Ah, it sounds simple, but sometimes we are confused to choose what is impossible

  2. Hmmm...simple and not simple at the same time

  3. Haha, simply said, not that easy to be done.