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Use the Principle of Induction to Solve the King’s Wise Men Puzzle

April 12, 2016 | klein

Logic puzzles using the principle of induction typically center around a number of different participants, each with equal reasoning capabilities. The solution is often based on identifying the most obvious case happening, and then asking what the next possible obvious case is once one participant realizes that the most obvious case has not happened. The King’s Wise Men puzzle is a similar induction puzzle, and you can test your wits with this challenging dilemma.

The King’s Wise Men puzzle begins with three wise men placed before a mighty king, each a candidate for the king’s new advisor. The king then placed a hat on each man’s head so that all of the men could see each other’s hat, but not his own, and told them that whichever man accurately guessed his own hat color would be the new advisor. The hats were either white or blue, and the king promised that at least one hat was blue. The men were assured that the contest was completely fair, but they were forbidden to speak to one another.

One man eventually guessed the correct hat color, and he became the advisor. What color was his hat, and how did he determine its color? To find out the correct answer, visit the Wikipedia page about the puzzle!

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