Loki's Wager

Loki's Wager

Loki's Wager is a form of logical fallacy. It is the unreasonable insistence that a concept cannot be defined, and therefore cannot be discussed.

Loki is a trickster god in Norse mythology, who, legend has it, once made a bet with some dwarfs. [ [http://www.hurstwic.org/history/articles/mythology/myths/text/treasures.htm Hurstwic Norse Mythology: The Treasures of the Gods ] ] It was agreed that the price, should Loki lose the wager, would be his head. Loki lost the bet, and in due time the dwarfs came to collect the head which had become rightfully theirs. Loki had no problem with giving up his head, but he insisted they had absolutely no right to take any part of his neck. Everyone concerned discussed the matter; and, one could suppose, they are discussing the matter still. Certain parts were obviously head, and certain parts were obviously neck, but neither side could agree "exactly" where the one ended and the other began. As a result, Loki keeps his head indefinitely.

The fallacy's focus on over specification makes it in some ways the opposite of hasty generalization and could be considered an extreme form of equivocation.


ee also

* Draupnir
* Brokkr
* No true Scotsman
* The Merchant of Venice — a similar argument over a pound of flesh erupts at the end of the play.
* Quibble — the use of the fallacy as a plot device.
* Vagueness
* Never Bet the Devil Your Head
* Sorites paradox

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