Enigma 365: Men of letters
7 October 2016
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From New Scientist #1514, 26th June 1986 [link]
Six Professors, A, B, C, D, E and F, are the guest speakers at a philosophy conference at St Gadarene’s. So that they should not be confused with the audience they are given labels A, B, C, D, E and F by the organisers. Unfortunately, none of them ended up with the right label. On the way up to the podium, Professor A asks the man wearing the letter B: “Are you Professor C?”
“No. Why do you ask? You’re not wearing C. But Professor C ought to swap labels with Professor F, for then one of them would have the right label. And in case you were wondering, I’m not D either.”
“I’ve never seen such disarray. It would be quite impossible to choose a single pair from the six of us in such a way that one of the two might truthfully say to the other: ‘We two have each other’s labels’.”
“Well, it could be worse. At least the company can be divided into two groups, each of which would sport the same letters as the professors it contains. What’s more, each group would have a label with a vowel on it. Now please leave me alone, I’m a solipsist.”
By this time the applause had died down and it was decided that the professors should present their papers in the alphabetical order of the labels they each wore.
I wasn’t too happy with the paper about utilitarianism. I enjoyed “Why pragmatism doesn’t work”. But most of all I enjoyed deducing the names of the professors from their labels.
Can you list the names of the six professors in the order in which they presented their papers?