Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Everything Comes in Threes?

Posted by Michael Dickens on January 18, 2010

Does everything come in threes? Is three the best number for a set of items? In fact, this is an elaborate illusion that has been perpetrated by our perspective on the world.

Look at it this way. First of all, sets of fewer items tend to be more common. And when we see a set of one item, we don’t really think of it as a set. It’s just one item. Sets of two items don’t really count either: it’s just one thing or the other, on or off, true or false. So a set of three items is really the smallest possible set that we think of as a set, and is therefore the most likely to show up.


One Response to “Everything Comes in Threes?”

  1. Matt said

    I believe a set of one or two items is a set. Funny that you say this though since whenever I don’t know the answer to a question I use three.

    “Matt, what’s the firing order of a small block Chevrolet?”
    “Three, obviously.”

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