Fun and games: Archetype

Today, a bit of fun for the academically inclined. In every discipline, there are archetypal examples that showcase important concepts. These examples are so ubiquitous that if you open most textbooks on the subject, you’ll find the same examples used for the same concepts. Sometimes these archetypes derive from the first time something was described, popularized, or discovered. Sometimes they derive from satire. Sometimes they simply aid memory of the concept, and so are reused. In any case, these archetypes are so well-known that someone familiar with the field will instantly know the concept in question from a very short description. So, the game…

With few words, I will describe an archetypal example used to teach a concept in academia. For each archetype, your task is to identify the discipline (1 point) and the concept (1 point) taught by the example. For instance, if I said, “Third generation garden peas,” you would say the discipline is “genetics” (or “evolution”) and the concept is “heredity” (or “Mendelian inheritance”). Ready?

(Oh, and it’s no fun if you google the archetypes. Try to do them from memory. I’ll post answers next week. And if you find yourself coming up with your own examples, add them here and I’ll use them for a future game.)

1. Red and blue balls in an urn

2. Galapagos finches

3. Alice, Bob, and Eve

4. A spherical cow

5. Lynx and snowshoe hare

6. Brain-in-a-vat

7. “Hello, world!”

8. The monkey and the hunter

9. The babysitting cooperative

Bonus (2 points): What follows? Up, up, down, down

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