Sunday, March 08, 2009

Inductive Skepticism in a 4 year old.

Tonight, as I was cutting up the pizza for dinner, my 4-year old Declan came up and asked me if he could have a piece of pepperoni. I said "wait for your dinner."

He said "but I need to make sure that it is spicy".
"It is the same pepperoni as always," said I.
"Yes, but how do I know that this is as spicy as the last?" he questioned.
"It comes from the same company," I explained.
"But I can't be sure that it is the same spiciness".
"Yes, but we can suspect that it has the same spiciness with a high degree of probability," I retorted, in a last, desperate attempt.

"But I cannot be sure. The only way to be sure is to taste a piece, and I need to be sure."

I gave him the damn piece of pepperoni.

All of this was followed up with a 15 minute conversation on how to distinguish a Diego episode featuring Dora from a Dora episode featuring Diego. This is, as you may suspect, crucially important, and Swiper the fox - who only appears on Dora episodes - is terrifying to Declan.

We have an odd and wonderful little boy.