In the summer of 1963, Joel Cohen, then still an undergraduate, got a scholarship to spend the quarter at the University of Chicago where I had just arrived as a Ph D student. He was clearly both very talented and very ambitious. This reference on horses of different colours etc occupied him as a pasttime, but he was also doing very interesting "real research" eg into information theory & music -- both subjects on which he knew a great deal. There was never any suggestion that his jocular article on horses & their legs was entirely 'original'. I rather think all the jokes it contained were in the urban folklore by then. Certainly, Cohen wasn't plagiarising Carroll! I'm pleased to hear that it was Carroll who first thought of this argument. The attribution rings true.
> Lewis Carol (I believe) and not Joel Cohen is the author of this proof > that horses have an infinite number of legs. > J.M. > > On Fri, 23 Oct 1998, Edwin Mares wrote: > > > Colin McLarty wrote: > > > I don't think Hegel wrote about empirical science per se. And I > > >think this is crucial: Hegel did not consider empirical science one distinct > > >part of knowledge. He wrote about many theories and methods, many of them > > >more or less empiricial, many closer or farther from what we now tend to > > >call science. Notable among these was Newton's experimental philosophy. > > > > > Colin, I think you're right about this. But how does that tie in with your > > earlier claim that Newtonian theory was a part of Verstehen (rather than > > Vernunft)? I guess I have been reading too much Kant into Hegel. On Kant's > > view, empirical science was to be kept strictly separate from metaphysics > > (in the sense spelled out in the intro to the First Critique). -- Ed Mares > > > > > > > > > > > > Ed Mares > > Department of Philosophy > > Victoria University of Wellington > > P.O. Box 600 > > Wellington, New Zealand > > Ph: 64-4-471-5368 > > > > > > ____________________________________________ > > > > Theorem 1. Every horse has an infinite number of legs. > > (Proof by intimidation.) > > > > Proof. Horses have an even number of legs. Behind they > > have two legs and in front they have fore legs. This makes > > six legs, which is certainly an odd number for a horse. > > But the only number that is both odd and even is infinity. > > Therefore horses have an infinite number of legs. > > > > Joel E. Cohen, "On the Nature of Mathematical Proofs" > > > >