To which philosopher it may concern,
I recently been perplexed by the following logical puzzle (or what seems to be, anyway):
Working at a used bookstore, I and the rest of the staff are constantly asked about where to find books. One of my co-workers had the following exchange with a customer and couldn't make anything of it:
Customer: "I am looking for a particular book."
Co-worker: "Well is it fiction or non-fiction?"
So far, this is what I've come up with:
(1) The customer is looking for a book that is neither fiction nor non-fiction, which would mean that it can't be both fiction and non fiction (which is quite common, e.g., historical fiction).
(2) If non-fiction is the opposite of fiction (and not considered as a separate entity), then was the customer contradicting himself and as a result saying absolutely nothing?
(3) If fiction is defined as something that isn't true, and non-fiction defined as something that IS true, then the customer was asking for something that was neither true nor false. Can that happen? Can something not be true or false? And further more, what would that mean?
(4) This whole problem is irrelevant because there ARE books that are not fiction or non-fiction--which I am unaware of.
I think the big issue here is how you define fiction and especially non-fiction, then again, I don't know and would greatly appreciate your response.