The Unexpected Hanging and Reality
There's a well-known paradox (explained here) about unexpected execution:
Once upon a time, on a Sunday evening, a prisoner was found guilty. The judge declared the prisoner would go to prison and be executed sometime in the coming week (Monday through Friday), but that the exact day would be a surprise for the prisoner. Now, the prisoner reasoned as follows: “I can’t be executed on Friday; because, in that case, it wouldn’t be a surprise. After Thursday, by process of elimination I’d know the exact day. So, Friday isn’t the day. But then, Thursday can’t be the day either. If I’m not executed by Wednesday, then I’ll know the day is Thursday, since I’ve just ruled out Friday. So, it’s not Thursday either. Similarly, it’s not Wednesday, Tuesday, or Monday. Hallelujah, I’m saved!”This has had a real-world analog:
In both cases, what appeared to be logical reasoning didn't quite work.
When the hangman failed to summon him from his cell by late December, Toshihiko Hasegawa, a convicted murderer, reckoned that, by the practices of Japan's penal system, he had at least one more year to live.
After weeks of intense foreboding over the approach of death, Mr. Hasegawa wrote his adoptive mother to tell her that he could at last breathe freely again for one more year, when he expected that his execution watch would resume.
Two days later, though, without any advance notice to him or his family, the 51-year-old prisoner was led from his cell and hanged.