Some objects have a certain property. These objects are called Likewise. Others have the opposite property, and these objects are called Unlikewise. And some objects are too "funny" to be either Likewise or Unlikewise; these objects are, or course, called Funny objects.

Here are some examples, to demonstrate what I mean:

  • Likewise objects: a Siamese cat; a pickup truck; a human being; a dog; a bowling shoe; the Mount Rushmore monument (probably); a human-shaped figurine
  • Unlikewise objects: a refrigerator; a dresser drawer; a sheet of paper with writing on only one side; a Magic: the Gathering card (probably); van Gogh's painting The Starry Night
  • Funny objects: an apple; a snowflake; a drinking glass; a sphere made of carbon; any naturally occurring rock; a diamond ring

The reason the property is called "Likewise" is that human beings have the property.

What makes an object Likewise, Unlikewise, or Funny?

If you ask about a specific object in this chat, I'll edit the question to indicate what type it is. If an incorrect answer is posted, I'll reply to it with a counterexample.


Being Likewise or Unlikewise isn't an intrinsic property of an object; it's a defined in terms of the way that we think and talk about the object. I don't know whether or not people of different languages and cultures would have different ideas of what's Likewise and what's Unlikewise.

  • $\begingroup$ Does the rule act on the spelling of each object, the object itself, or do you not want to say? $\endgroup$ – greenturtle3141 Oct 23 '16 at 23:43
  • $\begingroup$ @greenturtle3141 The object itself. The word used to refer to the object doesn't matter. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 23 '16 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ Do these properties apply only to concrete real-life objects, or could, say, "Stack Exchange" fall into one of the three categories? $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Oct 23 '16 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to know the status of: a piece of paper with writing on both sides; a 30cm-diameter sphere made of carbon; a not-rotten apple; a labrador dog. $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 23 '16 at 23:52
  • $\begingroup$ @rand For the most part, only concrete real-life objects can be Likewise or Unlikewise. I'd classify Stack Exchange as Funny by virtue of the fact that it's not a physical object. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 23 '16 at 23:53

I think that Likewise objects

Have their own definition of left and right, i.e, a definition of left/right from the perspective of the object. For example, you could say "the dog's left" and that means left from the perspective of the dog.

On the other hand Unlikewise Objects

Have a definition of left and right but only from the perspective of the observer so a piece of paper with writing on one side can have left and write endowed by the direction of the writing but you wouldn't refer to its own left and right. Similarly, the right side of a painting is defined with respect to the observer and not the painting.

Funny objects

have no definition of a left and right at all. For example, you couldn't tell somebody to look at the left side of an apple.

  • $\begingroup$ This answer is essentially correct--I plan on accepting it if a better answer isn't posted. However, I said that being Unlikewise is the opposite of being Likewise. The ideal answer would give definitions of Likewise and Unlikewise that have the same form, but differ in only one or two key places. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 26 '16 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ I've accepted this answer. I've also posted my intended answer to the puzzle. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 28 '16 at 3:37

Things that are Likewise ...

have a distinct front and back, and can "face forward" - either because they have a literal face (humans; animals; human shaped figurines; Mt. Rushmore—a bit iffy, as it has multiple faces), or because they are driven or worn etc. by someone/something that does and whose orientation provides the face-forward direction (bowling shoe; pickup truck).
If a Likewise thing were to move, you'd naturally expect it to move in the direction it is "faced".

Unlikewise ...

also have a distinct front and back, but don't "face" anywhere - they have no actual face of their own, are not given a face-forward orientation by anything else, and are not things we think about as facing any way in particular. (some MtG cards, and probably face cards from a normal deck, are iffy because they have a face drawn on them, but we still don't think of those cards as "facing" the way the drawing is looking - we don't really think of cards as "facing" any way at all).
If an Unlikewise thing were to move, there'd be no particular reason to expect it to move any specific direction.

And Funny ...

have front/back symmetry (or asymmetry) such that we don't consider any specific side to be the "front" vs. the "back". Round(ish) items in particular are this, which accounts for most of the examples given; snowflakes and paper with (identical) writing on both sides are still this because they have two sides but neither is preferentially treated as the "front".

  • $\begingroup$ You're on the right track. This is really close, and I had trouble thinking of a counterexample. I think I'd classify a Magic: the Gathering card as Unlikewise, even though players see the backs of Magic cards quite frequently and definitely think of the cards as having backs. And I'd probably consider the Mount Rushmore monument as being Likewise even though it doesn't really have a back. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 26 '16 at 0:57
  • $\begingroup$ There needs to be a "Rule Breaker" badge for answers that make the puzzler redefine the problem to exclude them—I'd have two just today. :) Time to noodle some more on this one. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Oct 26 '16 at 2:24
  • $\begingroup$ Additional info from OP - Human-shaped figurines are Likewise, even if they're cheap, mass-produced game tokens that are completely fungible. Van Gogh's painting The Starry Night is Unlikewise even though it's uniquely cherished. A diamond ring is Funny even though it's a prized possession. $\endgroup$ – Rubio Oct 26 '16 at 3:19

I'll give it a try. At least OP can give some counterexample.

something to do with "subtly broken symmetry". Animals are left-right symmetric, until you think about the heart or something. A truck too, until you think about the steering wheel. The Funny objects have "too much" symmetry.

  • $\begingroup$ Cats, dogs, and trucks would still be Likewise even if they were perfectly symmetrical. Naturally occurring rocks are Funny, no matter how they're shaped. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 24 '16 at 2:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Rocks, snow, drinking... so basically, Canada and Russia are hilarious. $\endgroup$ – deep thought Oct 24 '16 at 3:25
  • $\begingroup$ (This is why I asked about people with missing arms.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Oct 24 '16 at 21:44

Just my guess but...

Likewise objects = objects with eyes and/or 4 limbs(lights and tires for truck)
Unlikewise objects are squarish objects.
Funny objects are roundish objects.

  • $\begingroup$ This is not correct. A bowling shoe is Likewise, even though it doesn't have anything like eyes or limbs. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 23 '16 at 23:40

Likewise objects are those

which you can tell where they are facing or use them to point some specific direction.

Unlikewise objects are those

which have distict "front" and "back", but they can't be used as pointing tools.

Funny objects are those

which don't even have front.

  • $\begingroup$ This isn't correct. A one-sided arrow-shaped sign is Unlikewise even though it certainly points in a particular direction. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Oct 26 '16 at 20:16

Here's my intended answer.

To determine whether an object is Likewise or Unlikewise, start by performing the following procedure:

Orient the object (and yourself) so that the top side of the object is facing up, the front side of the object is facing towards you, and you are facing towards the object.

The object is Likewise if

the left side of the object is on your right side, and the right side of the object is on your left side.

The object is Unlikewise if

the left side of the object is on your left side, and the right side of the object is on your right side.

The object is Funny if the procedure cannot be performed.

Explanations of some of the examples:

The most common examples of Likewise objects are animals with bilateral symmetry (including humans); sculptures of these animals; items of clothing and apparel; and vehicles. These objects all have an implied direction of motion, and this direction defines which side is the front. To quote hexomino's answer, for these objects, left and right are defined "from the perspective of the object".

Unlikewise objects are usually inanimate objects that are viewed, or used, from a particular direction. This is what defines the front of one of these objects: the front side is the side from which the object is usually viewed or used. For these objects, left and right are defined from the perspective of the viewer or user.

Funny objects usually don't have a front, a back, a left, or a right. There are a few exceptions. For example, standard playing cards are usually printed in a rotationally symmetrical way, making it impossible to define the "left side" or the "right side" of the card, and so these cards are Funny. But they certainly have a front and a back.

Mount Rushmore is a difficult case. It's a sculpture of some people, so "left" could be defined from the perspective of the object. But it's also an object which is always viewed from the same side, so "left" could instead be defined from the perspective of the viewers.

A Magic: the Gathering card is another difficult case. Unlike standard playing cards, Magic cards do have a clearly defined left and right side when you look at the front. But it's not clear what "the left side of the card" means when you're looking at the back of the card. Does it mean the side which appears on the left when the card is viewed from the front, or from the back?

One more potentially ambiguous case would be a painting of a person. These have the same ambiguity issue as Mount Rushmore. (This Wikipedia article is relevant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proper_right) This is why I specifically gave The Starry Night as an example, rather than just "a painting": since The Starry Night does not depict a person (or any Likewise objects), it's unambiguously an Unlikewise object itself.


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