Thursday, December 22, 2005

Temptation and virtue

Of those of us who spend this time of year grading furiously, I imagine that most are tempted to share with the rest various amusing examples of student fancy which appear on exams or in papers. I don't really feel comfortable doing this, but I can't really condemn those who do (if it's all in good fun). However, virtue lies in a mean, doesn't it? So if I don't reveal any such examples, then isn't that a defect? (Okay, that's sophistry ("If I don't murder anyone, isn't that a defect?"), but let's pretend it isn't.) So I'll just settle for this one: asked on the exam for Zeno's paradoxes, one of my students related the story of "Achilles and the hare." Somehow, that one seems less paradoxical than the one I'm more familiar with.