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November 05 , 2007

To Mock a Mocking Bird


In this entertaining and challenging new collection of logic puzzles, Raymond Smullyan—author of What Is the Name of This Book? And The Lady or the Tiger?—continues to delight and astonish us with his gift for making available, in the thoroughly pleasurable form of puzzles, some of the most important mathematical thinking of our time.
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In the first part of the book, he transports us once again to that wonderful realm where knights, knaves, twin sisters, quadruplet brothers, gods, demons, and mortals either always tell the truth or always lie, and where truth-seekers are set a variety of fascinating problems. The section culminates in an enchanting and profound metapuzzle (a puzzle about a puzzle), in which Inspector Craig of Scotland Yard gets involved in a search of the Fountain of Youth on the Island of Knights and Knaves.

In the second and larger section, we accompany the Inspector on a summer-long adventure into the field of combinatory logic (a branch of logic that plays an important role in computer science and artificial intelligence). His adventure, which includes enchanted forests, talking birds, bird sociologists, and a classic quest, provides for us along the way the pleasure of solving puzzles of increasing complexity until we reach the Master Forest and—thanks to Gödel’s famous theorem—the final revelation.
To Mock a Mockingbird will delight all puzzle lovers—the curious neophytes as well as the serious students of logic, mathematics, or computer science.
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