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Who Shaves The Barber Fargo : Season 1 Episode 7


"Who Shaves the Barber?" is the seventh episode of the first season of the FX anthology series Fargo. The episode aired on May 27, 2014, in the United States on FX. It was written by series creator and showrunner Noah Hawley and directed by Scott Winant. The title refers to the paradox in logic known as the barber paradox.




Who Shaves the Barber Fargo : Season 1 Episode 7


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The critical response to the seventh episode of Fargo was very positive. It currently holds a "Fresh" 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it, however, the lowest-ranking episode of the season, tied with the previous episode "Buridan's Ass".[3]


Suppose there is a town with just one male barber; and that every man in the town keeps himself clean-shaven: some by shaving themselves, some by attending the barber. It seems reasonable to imagine that the barber obeys the following rule: He shaves all and only those men in town who do not shave themselves.


The barber paradox is a puzzle derived from Russell's paradox. It was used by Bertrand Russell himself as an illustration of the paradox, though he attributes it to an unnamed person who suggested it to him.[1] It shows that an apparently plausible scenario is logically impossible. Specifically, it describes a barber who is defined such that he both shaves himself and does not shave himself.


Answering this question results in a contradiction. The barber cannot shave himself as he only shaves those who do not shave themselves. As such, if he shaves himself he ceases to be the barber. Conversely, if the barber does not shave himself, then he fits into the group of people who would be shaved by the barber, and thus, as the barber, he must shave himself.


That contradiction [Russell's paradox] is extremely interesting. You can modify its form; some forms of modification are valid and some are not. I once had a form suggested to me which was not valid, namely the question whether the barber shaves himself or not. You can define the barber as "one who shaves all those, and those only, who do not shave themselves." The question is, does the barber shave himself? In this form the contradiction is not very difficult to solve. But in our previous form I think it is clear that you can only get around it by observing that the whole question whether a class is or is not a member of itself is nonsense, i.e. that no class either is or is not a member of itself, and that it is not even true to say that, because the whole form of words is just noise without meaning.


Notice that the paradox still occurs if we claim that the barber is a man in our town with a beard. In this case, the barber does not shave himself (because he has a beard); but then according to his claim (that he shaves all men who do not shave themselves), he must shave himself. 041b061a72


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