The chicken or the egg causality dilemma is commonly stated as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" To ancient philosophers, the question about the first chicken or egg also evoked the questions of how life and the universe in general began.
Cultural references to the chicken and egg intend to point out the futility of identifying the first case of a circular cause and consequence. It could be considered that in this approach lies the most fundamental nature of the question. A literal answer is somewhat obvious, as egg-laying species pre-date the existence of chickens. However, the metaphorical view sets a metaphysical ground to the dilemma. To better understand its metaphorical meaning, the question could be reformulated as: "Which came first, X that can't come without Y, or Y that can't come without X?"
An equivalent situation arises in engineering and science known as circular reference, in which a parameter is required to calculate that parameter itself. Examples are Van der Waals equation and the famous Colebrook equation.
Other articles related to "chicken or the egg, chickens, chicken, the egg":
... In the TV special The Easter Bunny Is Comin' To Town, the chickens tell a story in a song explaining that "the chicken came first" while retelling the Hebrew ... At the end of the film Chicken Run, the rats, Nick and Fetcher, can be heard debating this question when they consider starting a chicken farm so they can ... Nick thinks the egg comes first while Fetcher thinks the chicken comes first ...
Famous quotes containing the words egg and/or chicken:
“Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.”
—Walter Benjamin (18921940)
“Sometimes I lifted a chicken that warnt roosting comfortable, and took him along. Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because if you dont want him yourself you can easy find somebody that does, and a good deed aint ever forgot. I never see papa when he didnt want the chicken himself, but that is what he used to say, anyway.”
—Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (18351910)