Here is another one. I admit I’m not the author of it and picked it up off of some commenter on a Yahoo! article. I think I wasn’t perverse enough to come up with a monster like that.

Dilemma #3. An evil prison warden locks 10 people in a single cell and throws a single knife onto the floor. He then announces that he will come back in 3 hours, and if there are more than 1 person alive, then all of them he will immediately kill.

If, however, there is 1 and only 1 left alive, then that one person will go home.

(In the original Yahoo post, the survivor actually would find respite for only one day, after which time he’d end up in yet another cell with 9 more new prisoners and would have to fight again. But I’ll spare you the endless horror.)

What should the prisoners do? The incentive to them is to fight until only one man is left standing. This way, each person has a small chance of victory and thereby survival. So, we’d see A go for the knife and stab B; then C would punch him and get ahold of the knife himself and cut D’s throat; and so forth until in this literal war of all against all only one remains.

Or should they, as one, be noble and ignore the knife and just surrender and wait there for the inevitable death at the hands of the evil warden just 3 hours later?


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