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Friday, April 3, 2020

Nation fights Covid19 - Protagoras Paradox - what ?

I picked this word from a Wicket keeper batsman **  who on his debut was given new shorts by his partner at crease Shrikant Kalyani, who owned a sportswear Company !!

A Sophist was a specific kind of teacher in ancient Greece, in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Many sophists specialized in using the tools of philosophy and rhetoric, though other sophists taught subjects such as music, athletics, and mathematics. In general, they claimed to teach arete ("excellence" or "virtue", applied to various subject areas), predominantly to young statesmen and nobility. The term sophist comes from the Greek term sophistēs, which is derived from sophós meaning "wise man", Sophia meaning "wisdom", and Sophizo meaning "I am wise". It stands for a "wise maker", that is, one who makes pupils wise.

When there is National crisis, one must learn to obey orders.  When rumours fly around, the first victim is truth – never hear rumours, never spread them – in fact never post anything without checking its veracity and usefulness.  There are some who have compulsive obsession of questioning everything trying to show their intelligence but end up showcasing their stupidity !

This morning I received call from unknown no. – it was voice recording of the CM of the State Mr Edappadi Palaniswami urging the citizens to cooperate. I have become a great fan of Dr C Vijayabaskar, Health Minister of Tamilnadu.  Just follow him on twitter – such factual updates – he is visiting Hospitals, is found with health-workers and is virtually everywhere – very positive man, energetic and extremely effective.  The Govts – the machinery is really doing a great job in fighting the virus with most of us cooperating and  some ‘covidiots’ trying to impede every measure.

The respected PM of the Nation Shri Narendra Modiji has called upon the citizen - On the 5th  of April, on Sunday, I want 9 minutes from all you, at 9PM.  Listen carefully, on the 5thof April, at 9 PM, turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or in you balconies, and light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes.  I repeat, light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights, for 9 minutes at 9 PM on the 5thof April.  – We have vowed to abide by every effort of the Govt.

Nine years back – when India played Pak in the Semis of ODI WC 2011 – the Nation watched – everyone was at home, streets were empty and nothing else transpired. It was India’s 3rd attempt in Semis at home – they had lost earlier to England in 1987 and to Sri Lanka in 1996 – however they had won both the Semi finals abroad in 1983 and 2003  ~ and playing Pak always creates a different tension. 

On a tense day, when the Indian batting looked ordinary and Sachin apparently scratched around – Indian  bowlers suffocated Pakistan's batsmen to set up a 29-run victory in the semi-final in Mohali. Though we were worried, 260 for 9 was enough as their bowlers did a fine job, but had Pakistan helped themselves, the target could have been so much more gettable. Sachin Tendulkar was dropped four times in his 85.  By contrast, India's display in the field was much more professional, and that was the difference in a match that lived up to the extreme pre-match hype. The decision to leave R Ashwin out to make room for Ashish Nehra was an odd choice on a pitch offering plenty of spin, but Nehra and his bowling colleagues built the pressure and gave Pakistan's batsmen little to attack after they made a promising start and reached 70 for 1.

Those of us watching were regretting – Sachin Tendulkar played and missed Saeed Ajmal and was promptly given out lbw by Ian Gould in the 11th over (Sachin was 23). Time appeared running out and after much deliberation, Tendulkar asked for a referral; replays suggested that the ball, delivered from an angle, pitched outside the line of off stump before turning in to hit his front pad in front of middle. Hawk-Eye suggested that the ball would have gone on to miss leg stump. Ajmal, after the game, expressed bafflement, claiming he had bowled an arm ball that went on straight when it had appeared as though the ball had been an offspinner that spun down after pitching in line.  The replay was subject of conspiracy theories with many YouTube videos showing what the correct prediction path should have been. Some audaciously even suggested that what was shown in replay was a different ball !

Years later Saeed Ajmal recalling the incident said, Ian Gould gave it out, we were sure, Gautam Gambhir too advised against referring – but Sachin took a chance.  It took a long time and decision went against us.  Some others believed  Tendulkar's decision to review the decision was, perhaps, more in hope than in belief. This is no post on that match – but in Espn Cricinfo Deep Dasgupta -   Wicket keeper batsman **  (played 8 tests and 5 ODIs) wrote that in his  assessment, the Hawk-Eye got it right.   It'll fall under the realm of Protagoras Paradox, in that both sides have convincing arguments.

The Paradox of the Court, also known as the counterdilemma of Euathlus, is a paradox originating in ancient Greece. It is said that the famous sophist Protagoras took on a pupil, Euathlus, on the understanding that the student pay Protagoras for his instruction after he wins his first court case. After instruction, Euathlus decided to not enter the profession of law, and Protagoras decided to sue Euathlus for the amount owed.

Protagoras (490 BC c.420 BC)[1] was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato.  Protagoras also is believed to have created a major controversy during ancient times through his statement that, "Man is the measure of all things", interpreted by Plato to mean that there is no absolute truth but that which individuals deem to be the truth. Protagoras, like those who followed him, charged exorbitant fees for his services, a story is told of how the great Sophist was once outsmarted by one of his pupils and this tale has come to be known as Protagoras’s Paradox.

Protagoras agreed to instruct a poor young man, Euthalos  -  in law and rhetoric free of charge on the condition that he would pay the Sophist’s fee in full if, and only if, he won his first court case. Once Euthalos had completed his course of study with Protagoras he assiduously avoided taking any cases at all. Protagoras, finally out of patience with the young man, took him to court for payment.

The case before the House was put as :  Euthalus owes money to Plaintiff Protagoras as per their agreement.
Protagoras viewed that : 
1)    If he wins the case, he would legally earn the money to be paid through the Court
2)    If the Respondent Euthalus wins the case, Protagoras would still be paid as their original contract was that Euthalus would pay his teacher when he wins his first case !!
Euthalus held a totally contradictory view.  To him :
1.    If he were to win the case, the Court’s decision naturally would be to not pay Protagoras
2.    In case he loses, going by what his master had ordained, he would not have to pay anything as he had lost the case.

The paradox thus is – who wins, who is right and who will have to pay ?  This argument (for which perhaps  no solution was ever offered in antiquity) has come to be known as the Paradox of The Court (L. Alqvist) and a resolution to the question is still debated today in law schools as a logic problem. Of course, there could be more legal angles, and more possible circumstances which when inserted could change the deliverance.

To me, as usual the game of Cricket is a great teacher and thanks to Deep Das Gupta for introducing me to this concept / paradox.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Apr 2o20.

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