Inconsistent Propositions


It was said that when mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was at a dinner party, he stated that “it is useless talking about inconsistent things, from an inconsistent proposition you can prove anything you like.” This can be illustrated using mathematical methodologies as simple as algebra. However, Russell was too good for just using petty algebra tricks.

Thus, when someone exclaimed, “Yeah, right. Can you prove it?”

Russell replied, “Name an inconsistent proposition.”

“All right, how about 2 = 1?” the man said.

“That’s good enough,” Russell remarked, “what do you want me to prove?”

“I want you to prove that you are the pope,” the man challenged.

“That’s easy,” Russell said, “the pope and I are two, but two equals one, therefore, the pope and I are one.”

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My name Edmark M. Law. I work as a freelance writer, mainly writing about science and mathematics. I am an ardent hobbyist. I like to read, solve puzzles, play chess, make origami and play basketball. In addition, I dabble in magic, particularly card magic and other sleight-of-hand type magic. I live in Hong Kong. You can find me on Twitter` and Facebook. My email is

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