If an infinite number of monkeys were at an infinite number of typewriters, would the work of Shakespeare eventually come out?
They couldn't produce the work of Shakespeare. Only Shakespearecould. In fact, there's good reason to think that they couldn't produceany work of literature at all. Doing that would require sorts ofintentions that those infinite monkeys would not have. ProfessorVelleman's reasoning shows that there's a probability of 1 that theywould produce a text identical to the text of one of Shakespeare'sworks. Actually, it looks like there's a probability of 1 that theywould produce texts identical to that of all of Shakespeare's works (and all versions of those works). But texts are not identical to literaryworks--Shakespearean or otherwise. A word-for-word duplicate ofDicken's Bleak House written by, um, Shmickens would not be Bleak House .See Jorge Luis Borges' wonderful story "Pierre Menard, Author of theQuixote" for some relevant thoughts on the text/work distinction.