Mudcat Café message #3502224 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150321   Message #3502224
Posted By: GUEST,Grishka
12-Apr-13 - 09:45 AM
Thread Name: BS: Stupid riddle but can you explain it?
Subject: RE: BS: Stupid riddle but can you explain it?
McGrath, the possibility to get married again is of no significance to the notion of unmarried, or un-anything. Take an "unused bed" for another example: OK to accomodate a guest, but not OK to return to the seller for full refund, if your mother-in-law had slept on it before you threw her out.

Meanings of words usually depend on the context. If this knowledge is not sufficient, the speaker or writer must disambiguate them. An abstract "logical riddle" has no natural context and must therefore specify a sufficiently precise meaning. There are other, older types of riddle where an assertion is given and the context must be guessed.

You are right that the riddle in the OP, if properly posed, is much easier than most logical riddles found in popular journals. Still people may give a wrong answer, for various reasons which cannot be identified with any notion of stupidity. The "vast majority" may either not understand the question at all (not being used to the language of logical riddles), or feel asked for a quick guess rather than "careful deduction", e.g. during party smalltalk where it is polite to allow the triumph to the riddle-poser.

Science, including psychology, is hard work.

If you feel like a more difficult "riddle", tell us what is manifestly wrong with George Carlin's dictum quoted in my message of 11 Apr 13 - 03:54 PM, apart from the comparison form "stupider" (which is considered tolerable in America).