Buridan's ass
The creature who, placed midway between two identical bales of hay, starved to death, since there was no reason for moving one way rather than the other. The ass is not referred to in the Sophismata of Buridan, but was probably an example used to refute him, since he held that choice is always delayed until reason has decided in favour of one course of action against another. A similar example of a dog is found in Aristotle, De Caelo (295 b 32).

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Buridan's ass — is a figurative description of a man of indecision. It refers to a paradoxical situation wherein an ass, placed exactly in the middle between two stacks of hay of equal size and quality, will starve to death since it cannot make any rational… …   Wikipedia

  • buridan's ass — ˈbyu̇rədənz , dənz noun Usage: usually capitalized B Etymology: after Jean Buridan died ab1358 French philosopher, who is reputed to have posed the problem : a hypothetical dilemma in which a person is postulated as presented with two equally… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Buridan's ass — noun a) The hypothetical donkey who is placed precisely midway between two sources of food and/or water. The National Peace Council was, I will not say a Buridans Ass, but a kind of eunuch organisation, unable to take a decision one way or… …   Wiktionary

  • Buridan, Jean — born 1300, Béthune?, France died 1358 French philosopher, logician, and scientific theorist. He studied under William of Ockham at the University of Paris and later taught there. According to his modified version of determinism, though one must… …   Universalium

  • BURIDAN, JEAN —    a scholastic doctor of the 14th century, born in Artois, and famous as the reputed author, though there is no evidence of it in his works, of the puzzle of the hungry and thirsty ass, called after him Buridan s Ass, between a bottle of hay and …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Jean Buridan —     Jean Buridan     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Jean Buridan     French scholastic philosopher of the fourteenth century, b. at Béthune, in the district of Atois towards the end of the thirteenth century; date of death unknown. He studied at the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Jean Buridan — (in Latin, Johannes Buridanus; ca. 1295 ndash; 1358) was a French priest who sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe. Although he was one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the late Middle Ages, he is today among… …   Wikipedia

  • Occam's razor — For the aerial theatre company, see Ockham s Razor Theatre Company. It is possible to describe the other planets in the solar system as revolving around the Earth, but that explanation is unnecessarily complex compared to the modern consensus… …   Wikipedia

  • Morton's fork — A Morton s Fork is a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives (in other words, a dilemma), or two lines of reasoning that lead to the same unpleasant conclusion. It is analogous to the expressions between the devil and the deep blue sea …   Wikipedia

  • Morton's Fork — A Morton s Fork is a choice between two equally unpleasant alternatives (in other words, a dilemma), or two lines of reasoning that lead to the same unpleasant conclusion. It is analogous to the expressions between the devil and the deep blue sea …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”