QuoteOriginally posted by: wileyswthere is a second part of the story which might make you appreciate the problem better. the solution of the original problem is seemingly paradoxical when there are at least two villagers with white dots. here is why:upon hearing from a friend what happened to the village few months later, the explorer felt really sorry albeit extremely puzzled. "i was not saying anything new to them," he claimed, "i looked around and saw bunch of people with white dots on their forehead - they are not blind, so everyone already knows that at least one guy has a white dot!" his friend agreed with him: "yeah, so they would kill themselves anyway if you had never been there." do you agree with them?yes, interesting line of thought. however, not sure i do agree.if there are villagers with 2 white dots, each individual with a white dot knows only of the existence of one white dot. they have no clue about their own dot. the statement by the explorer provides the catalyst where each of these individuals thinks the other should realise they have the "only" white dot. when they don't, it triggers the realisation as others have pointed out. this argument can be extended to n=3, n=4 etc.i suppose the catalyst of the statement is the important part. i further suppose that the statement would cause mass death even if number of white dots = 0. in fact, it would probably speed it up?!? on day zero, the explorer makes the statement. all the villagers look about, see no white dots and assume they have a white dot. upon gaining this "knowledge", they would have to kill themselves. everyone dead in one step (rather than the two steps required if number of whites = 1). lastly, how about if one of the villagers makes the statement? seems to me that all the villagers would die except the villager that makes the statement, as he gains no knowledge of his own dot if he is making he initial statement.