• Pinocchio's Paradox

Pinocchio’s Paradox

So there’s a good chance you’ve not heard of this before, but if Pinocchio said the statement “My nose will grow now” it would cause be a paradox…

Let me explain, as we all know, Pinocchio’s nose grows when he tells a lie, so if he said ‘my nose will grow now’ – if his nose does grow that would mean he wasn’t lying, but if he wasn’t lying, his nose wouldn’t grow.. but then his statement would be a lie… so his nose would grow.. but then the statement wouldn’t be a lie… so his nose wouldn’t grow… but yeah, you get the idea..

Basically, his nose would have to grow to make Pinocchio’s statement not a lie, but then it can’t grow otherwise the statement would not be a lie.

The Pinocchio paradox was thought of in February 2001 by an 11-year-old called Veronique Eldridge-Smith – the daughter of Peter Eldridge-Smith, who specializes in the philosophy of logic. The article was first published in the journal Analysis, and the Pinocchio paradox rapidly became popular on the Internet.

‘My nose will grow now’ is the only paradox Pinocchio can cause by saying something, for example, if he was to say, ‘I will sneeze now’, and he didn’t that would be a lie and his nose would grow. Hope this makes sense & if you’ve got any more crazy paradox’s, let us know!

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2018-11-29T14:23:39+00:00

About the Author

Luke Ward
Luke Ward is the founder of The Fact Site. He's a professional blogger & researcher with over 9 years’ experience in fact finding, SEO & web design. In his spare time he loves to travel and drink coffee.

Comments

40 Comments

  1. Ryan Palmer 23rd December 2017 at 2:31 am - Reply

    Not to spoil the fun, but this isn’t really a paradox. A prediction of the future cannot be a lie. A prediction of the future can be wrong, but it is not a lie, unless one has seen the future, and knows the statement to be false, it cannot be a lie. Therefore, if Pinocchio’s nose grows, he has made a successful prediction. If it does not grow, he has made an unsuccessful situation, and his nose will not grow. However, if Pinocchio hadn’t seen the future but said that he had, this would be a lie, and his nose would grow.

  2. think4yourself 4th December 2017 at 2:00 am - Reply

    The real question is would his nose ever grow? If it is implied that he is lying, so that his nose will grow, then he would ultimately be telling the truth and his nose would never grow. On the other hand, if it didn’t grow then he would be lying and his nose would have to grow for telling a lie.

  3. Narciso Junior 19th July 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    The statement first is a lie, then it becomes true the instant after he says now… because then only then do you see that his nose grew after the lie

  4. كريم 23rd February 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    If pinoccio lie his nose will grow and there is no chance his teling the truth even if his nose grow because deap down still lying, in the other way he can’t say the truth because he doesn’t know if his nose will grow so he’s hopping for his nose to grow

  5. Nick 14th November 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    He could also say “I’m lieing” to cause a paradox. As if his statement is true then his nose should grow, however it wouldnt grow, as if it grew he would be telling the truth, but if it didnt grow then it would grow as his statment ‘i’m lieying’ would then be a lie. Etc. etc

    • Ravus Sapiens 18th April 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Yeah, it’s a “this sentence is false” kind of thing. It’s a logical Paradox, if it Is false, then the statement is true, but if it’s true then it’s false. It cannot have values of both 1 and 0 at the same time.

      • Narciso Junior 19th July 2017 at 2:27 pm - Reply

        Unless its pinochio in quantum

  6. Me 8th September 2016 at 1:15 am - Reply

    How about I told my genie… “I wish you won’t grant my wish!”… Will the genie say, “Your wish is my command” even though I told him not to grant my wish?

  7. Cory 'Bugsy' Goodrich 27th May 2016 at 4:33 pm - Reply

    It all comes down to if it believes it or not. Just because he says something false doesn’t mean he lied. If he says “My nose will grow now” and it grows, it simply means he believed it would not grow but lied about it. If he says it and his nose doesn’t grow, it means he believed it would grow but was simply wrong about it.

  8. Jom Ladan 22nd April 2016 at 8:29 am - Reply

    His nose will wait for “now” to pass. If his nose doesn’t grow, then it will grow after “now”.

    • Mark Bailey 6th December 2017 at 2:17 am - Reply

      Agreed. His nose will, in fact, grow. Not because he said it would, but in response to his statement being proven a lie.

  9. Taim 20th April 2016 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Saying to a genie “I wish you would not grant my wish”

  10. Rovaistu Videos 15th March 2016 at 8:32 pm - Reply

    what if he says “my nose will grow within a minute of now” and says nothing else for a minute…

    • Etienne Mostert 8th November 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Same thing, if he believes it to be true, then it wouldn’t grow. Lies are all about belief. If you believe something is true and it’s not. Then you’re not lying, you’re simply mistaken.

      You also can’t put a timer on a lie

  11. Rovaistu Videos 15th March 2016 at 8:27 pm - Reply

    but when he says “my nose will grow now”, his noise doesn’t grow, (pause in time) then it does, but not when he said NOW so he lies, his nose grows and everything is fine and not a paradox

    • Mark Bailey 6th December 2017 at 2:18 am - Reply

      Agreed. This paradox falls apart when it’s properly thought through.

  12. Seb Nmd 21st February 2016 at 7:37 am - Reply

    But at the quantum level the nose growth would exist in two indeterminate states which could not be resolved until they were observed. So it would simultaneously be a lie and a not lie.

    • Mark Bailey 6th December 2017 at 2:29 am - Reply

      Why do I see Pinocchio playing with Schrodinger’s cat here?

  13. misomalu 7th December 2015 at 11:33 am - Reply

    If Pinocchio didn’t know the result of saying “My nose will grow now”, then saying “My nose will grow now” would be a false-statement, not a lie, and his nose would not grow. If he said “My nose will grow now” after observing the results of saying it the first time, he would be lying, which would make his nose grow. This only holds true if the truthfulness of a statement is based the statement itself and not the effect of said statement.

  14. Yarbles 7th December 2015 at 4:35 am - Reply

    Maaan
    Nothing would happen, it wouldn’t be a lie.
    The cat in this box is dead. Without actual knowledge of the cat its not a lie.

  15. dacrovinunghi 26th September 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

    no paradox here, just infinite loop

    • Rovaistu Videos 15th March 2016 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      no, split eventualities in time and space, a new continuum if you will

  16. dee dubya 3rd September 2015 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    This conundrum is from a Star Trek episode way back… “I always lie. Everything I say is untrue.”

    • Rovaistu Videos 15th March 2016 at 8:30 pm - Reply

      if you say I always lie, its a lie. You don’t always lie, only occasionally.

      • Rovaistu Videos 15th March 2016 at 8:30 pm - Reply

        like just now

  17. seemeterry 13th April 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Since it has never been stated that this chap lacked the ability to make his nose grow at-will, one may presume that he can, this being the case there is no issue – no paradox. He simply states my nose will grow now…and it does!

  18. Cole Spivey 2nd February 2015 at 5:27 am - Reply

    I’m not sure who came up with this paradox, but no. Just no, if you use language in a way to manipulate truth tables that isn’t creating a paradox but just confusion for the sake of confusion, and either way, the statement itself as formatted isn’t a paradox at all. So, I’m confused as to the intelligence and/or journalistic integrity of whoever wrote this.

    • Loki311 27th July 2015 at 10:37 am - Reply

      How is this not a paradox? You criticized it but you didn’t explain your logic…

      • Navi_1er 7th December 2015 at 12:50 am - Reply

        It’s not a paradox because his nose only grows when he deliberately lies and not make false statements. Him saying his nose will grow is a false statement not a lie, see how it’s not a paradox; just the reassembly of words.

    • GenezA 12th July 2017 at 1:42 am - Reply

      Excuse me But;

      The person who created as it is said in the text, as well as the person who did originally make this was also an 11 year old, and a daughter of a man who studies the Philosophy of logic, so I don’t understand why you’re criticizing a minor and also instead of being polite and saying your point in a kind manner your first statement is literally

      “I’m not sure who came up with this paradox, but no. Just no,…”

      which is a rude sentence just itself…and really the entire thing is just a eleven year old girl who decided to think outside the box and use her brain to think a little differently than the rest of us and just happened to be lucky enough to see something that the rest of us didn’t.

      Thank you for reading this
      Not trying to be rude and I’m sorry if I have been rude it was not my intention

  19. Eugen 30th July 2014 at 11:01 am - Reply

    Well his nose will not grow Now and it will grow 1 second later becose he lied…

  20. YO MAMA 24th September 2012 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    My nose will not grow is even worse

  21. Survivor_ks 13th June 2012 at 1:30 pm - Reply

    He’s a ‘sutped guy ass’ I guess. You share so many traits. Are you the famous ‘pinokio’?

  22. Dan_ere_08_ 11th June 2012 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    If he said “my nose will now grow” quite simpily the universe would just implode and kill us all

  23. Guest 28th February 2012 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    good point, but you are wrong. His nose grows when he tells a lie. I like to think of it in events and order. If he said “My nose will grow now” His nose would grow, because it is a lie. BUT his nose grew, so therefore it wasn’t a lie. But then he was telling the truth by telling a lie which all mingles together and creates this crazy paradox. Understand now?

  24. Star 7th August 2011 at 1:09 am - Reply

    they spelled his name wrong its Pinoccio which is italian for “Pine Eye”

    • Eric Milk 7th December 2015 at 4:03 am - Reply

      “Pinocchio” is how they spelt the movie title, so they’re not wrong. Both spellings are right for their own reason.

  25. Hayden 8th July 2011 at 9:31 pm - Reply

    This is wrong

    Took me a while to find the answer

    It does not depend if he is RIGHT or WRONG, it is if he is telling the TRUTH or a LIE.
    Don’t know the difference?

    if he actually thought his nose was going to grow then he would be telling the truth and it wouldn’t grow,

    and if he actually thought his nose was not going to grow then he would be telling a lie and it would grow,

  26. Selvin 3rd August 2009 at 6:23 am - Reply

    I love pinokio!

  27. Anonymous 9th July 2009 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Can he make it grow at will??

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