# Box in a house.

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If you're in a box in a house are you in a house or a box??

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I believe the correct answer is "Yes."

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I believe the correct answer is "Yes."

Unless of course that's the exclusive or, in which case the answer is "No".

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If you're in a box in a house are you in a house or a box??

I guess the question is:

_are you in a house?

_are you a box?

Then the answer is I am in a house.

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If you're in a box in a house are you in a house or a box??

Depends on the color of the box.

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If the box is made of cardboard and it starts to rain then this might have an effect on your opinion.

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If the box is made of cardboard and it starts to rain then this might have an effect on your opinion.

If it starts to rain within your house I think you need to rethink your definition of house (or perhaps rain)

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If it starts to rain within your house I think you need to rethink your definition of house (or perhaps rain)

It seems you conclude that the box is in the house. But the house can be in the box too.

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It seems you conclude that the box is in the house. But the house can be in the box too.

"If you're in a box in a house are you in a house or a box??"

I would argue that syntactically that question would need an "and" between 'box' and 'in' to allow any sense of the box being outside the house. The use of the words "in a house" should be seen as modifying the immediately preceding object (box) - not as part of a list of modifiers of the first object (you).

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Is there an underlying existential question hidden in this that I am completely missing?

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If you're in a box in a house are you in a house or a box??

You're in a box.

The box is in a house.

When using "in" as a preposition to describe the noun in the locative case, the most immediate location is implied, which in this case is the box you're in, not the house the box is in. At least it seems that way to me.

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You're in a box.

The box is in a house.

When using "in" as a preposition to describe the noun in the locative case, the most immediate location is implied, which in this case is the box you're in, not the house the box is in. At least it seems that way to me.

Yeah but you're still technically in a house as well.

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You're in a box.

The box is in a house.

When using "in" as a preposition to describe the noun in the locative case, the most immediate location is implied, which in this case is the box you're in, not the house the box is in. At least it seems that way to me.

Wouldn't that make something like "the passenger rode the carriage in a seat designed for comfort" wrong... or, at least, nonsensical?

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IMO- what is inside a house is a space. anything in that space is inside the house. Since the person in the box and also the box itself are in that space the person in the box must be inside the house. What is inside a Russian Doll? The next smallest doll or a set of dolls? Perhaps a version of Schrodinger's cat says we can't know until we have a look - lol.

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Perhaps a version of Schrodinger's cat says we can't know until we have a look - lol.

and some Godel incompleteness so that even if we look we can't completely explain what's in there

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If the box is made of cardboard and it starts to rain then this might have an effect on your opinion.

Luxury! I used to live in a paper bag...

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Luxury! I used to live in a paper bag...

A paper bag! - we used to dream of having a paper bag

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Yeah but you're still technically in a house as well.

Technically, I still don't think so. Grammatically, no.

Look at it this way: if you're a refrigerator, and you're in a box in a house, are you "in" the house or are you still in the box?

Similarly, if you're a human, you're not "in" the house in a functional sense if you're in a box. You can't do anything you would normally do "in" a house, you can't even access the house itself if you're still "in" a box.

Being in a box is your primary state.

Wouldn't that make something like "the passenger rode the carriage in a seat designed for comfort" wrong... or, at least, nonsensical?

I think that would be lative case, not locative case, because you're implying motion to a location with the carriage the seat is in.

A paper bag! - we used to dream of having a paper bag

You could dream?! We barely slept, naked outdoors....

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So if I'm in a box in a house on a planet in a galaxy in the universe, am I not in the universe? Because that would be awesome.

Also, is the box in the house then, or is it in a collection of atmospheric particles in the house? Am I really in the box, or am I in a collection of atmospheric particles in the box? Do the facts that I'm presumably touching the bottom of the box, and the box is presumably touching the floor of the house, change the answers to those questions? Do arbitrarily small layers of said atmospheric particles count as further barriers to "in-ness" between objects?

Am I tired? The answer to that one is "yes."

Furthermore, because I'm still feeling ramblish, if the box is in the house, then given a set H containing everything in the house, and given a set B containing everything in the box, it seems obvious that B is a subset of H. Therefore, every element of B is also an element of H.

Solvitur ambulando! Or something.

Edited by John
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I think that would be lative case, not locative case, because you're implying motion to a location with the carriage the seat is in.

No, I think it is squarely location. Your source for lative says,

Lative (abbreviated lat) is a case which indicates motion to a location. It corresponds to the English prepositions "to" and "into".

In other words, "lative" is represented with to and "locative" is represented with in or at

The sentence we're talking about is,

the passenger rode the carriage in a seat designed for comfort

The word of consequence is "seat". We ride in the seat, not to the seat. If it were lative and the carriage rode "to" the seat then it might mean, for example, there were a town named "seat" to which the carriage rode..

We should probably back up for clarity and look at your original statement:

When using "in" as a preposition to describe the noun in the locative case, the most immediate location is implied, which in this case is the box you're in, not the house the box is in. At least it seems that way to me.

You could be right, but if you are then this sentence:

the passenger rode the carriage in a seat designed for comfort

means that the carriage is either in or moving to the seat... it must mean that "in a seat" describes "carriage". This would certainly not be the intended meaning. Another example:

the person shaved in the bathroom in the plane

this wouldn't imply (at least to me) that the plane is in a bathroom. I would have a hard time accepting that there are rules of grammar that necessitate such a meaning.

Edited by Iggy
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Yeah but you're still technically in a house as well.

So are you saying the answer to your riddle is "You're in both"?

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Technically, I still don't think so. Grammatically, no.

Look at it this way: if you're a refrigerator, and you're in a box in a house, are you "in" the house or are you still in the box?

Similarly, if you're a human, you're not "in" the house in a functional sense if you're in a box. You can't do anything you would normally do "in" a house, you can't even access the house itself if you're still "in" a box.

[...]

You could dream?! We barely slept, naked outdoors....

You must spend a lot of time naked outdoors, because as long as you're in your own skin you couldn't be in clothes or in a building.

Luckily most of us don't live by such bizarre rules.

Customer: I purchased a laptop here, but when I opened it up there was no laptop in the box.

Service desk: Okay let's see here. <Opens the box, removes a plastic bag from around the laptop...>

Customer: Oh! Well, now there's a laptop in the box! It wasn't in the box when I purchased it.

Ridiculous.

A magician seals an assistant in a black box. The assistant puts a paper bag over her head.

The audience, unable to tell if the assistant is still in the box or not, applauds.

Edited by md65536
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You must spend a lot of time naked outdoors, because as long as you're in your own skin you couldn't be in clothes or in a building.

Luckily most of us don't live by such bizarre rules.

Well, nice try, Lucky, but you're still functioning as a human while you're in your skin or your clothes (although you really can't be "out" of your skin, that's a bad analogy). If you're in a box in a house, you're in a box. You can't do anything you normally do in a house. You can't use the bathroom, go to the fridge, you can't even do the most basic thing to change being "in" a house: you can't go "out".

Why? Because you're in a box.

The box is in a house.

Customer: I purchased a laptop here, but when I opened it up there was no laptop in the box.

Service desk: Okay let's see here. <Opens the box, removes a plastic bag from around the laptop...>

Customer: Oh! Well, now there's a laptop in the box! It wasn't in the box when I purchased it.

Ridiculous.

A magician seals an assistant in a black box. The assistant puts a paper bag over her head.

The audience, unable to tell if the assistant is still in the box or not, applauds.

The puzzle requires a human in the box, not a laptop, so let's toss out that bizarre example.

And a human only partially in a bag, not fully enclosed? Ridiculous.

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Well, nice try, Lucky, but you're still functioning as a human while you're in your skin or your clothes (although you really can't be "out" of your skin, that's a bad analogy). If you're in a box in a house, you're in a box. You can't do anything you normally do in a house. You can't use the bathroom, go to the fridge, you can't even do the most basic thing to change being "in" a house: you can't go "out".

Why? Because you're in a box.

The box is in a house.

The puzzle requires a human in the box, not a laptop, so let's toss out that bizarre example.

And a human only partially in a bag, not fully enclosed? Ridiculous.

Ah! I see. The definition of being in a box is a strictly functional one.

If you cut a hole through which to go to the bathroom, are you still in the box?

If you open the top of the box and poke at things outside the box with a stick, are you still in the box?

Okay, no laptop examples then. Only humans and refrigerators.

Here's a puzzle for you:

Suppose you have a large box with ample room in it, and you place in this box one human and one cloth bag large enough for the human to get inside and draw closed.

Now you close and seal the box.

Are you able to tell if the human is still in the box?

A true mindbender! Hardly ridiculous!

A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician are sitting in a street café watching people entering and leaving the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people entering the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three people leaving the house. The physicist says, "The measurement wasn't accurate." The biologist says, "They must have reproduced." The mathematician says, "If one more person enters the house then it will be empty."

Finally the joke makes sense to me! There must have been a refrigerator box in the house that the mathematician knows about!

Edited by md65536
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Ah! I see. The definition of being in a box is a strictly functional one.

If you cut a hole through which to go to the bathroom, are you still in the box?

Well, since you're still stuck in the box, and you actually wish to interact with the house rather than just defiling the floor of whatever room you're in, you'd have to assume someone moved you into the house's bathroom, close enough to the toilet for this to be effective. Or perhaps right on top of the toilet, depending on where you're cutting the hole, what gender you are and how thorough a job of bathroom-going you plan on accomplishing. And even if we assume you're just a guy cutting a hole big enough to pee through, we further have to assume you have the... reach to be able to make this practical.

That's really too many assumptions for a riddle, don't you think? I mean, I'd be a bit angry if the answer was that convoluted.

If you open the top of the box and poke at things outside the box with a stick, are you still in the box?

Technically, you wouldn't just be "in" a box, you'd be more like "standing in" a box. And again, technically, if the box is open, you've just changed the definition of "box" to include "open box". Is it just the vertical sides that define a box? How many more iterations will it take before you have me standing on a flat piece of cardboard that you're still calling a box?

I use this word "technically" because this is a puzzle after all. The OP stated a simple premise that seemed to have a simple answer. Ah, but that's usually where the "puzzle" part comes in. One tries to find some technicality to exploit to come up with an answer that's not so simple (well, some people do). And just like I'd be a bit irked if the answer is some convoluted stretch of the imagination with all kinds of caveats and assumptions not implied in the OP, I'd consider it a spectacular waste of time if the answer was the simple one, that you are in both a house and a box.

Not a great riddle, that.

Here's a puzzle for you:

Suppose you have a large box with ample room in it, and you place in this box one human and one cloth bag large enough for the human to get inside and draw closed.

Now you close and seal the box.

Are you able to tell if the human is still in the box?

A true mindbender! Hardly ridiculous!

Hey, that IS a good one. You should start your own puzzle thread instead of hijacking this one, Hardly.

A physicist, a biologist and a mathematician are sitting in a street café watching people entering and leaving the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people entering the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three people leaving the house. The physicist says, "The measurement wasn't accurate." The biologist says, "They must have reproduced." The mathematician says, "If one more person enters the house then it will be empty."

Finally the joke makes sense to me! There must have been a refrigerator box in the house that the mathematician knows about!

I love that joke, though I'm not at all surprised you never understood it before now.

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