Buridan’s Ass refers to a Medieval paradox concerning the logic of rationality and freewill. It demonstrates the tension between formal and informal ways of thinking and the sometimes paradoxical consequences when this tension is ignored.

…a man, being just as hungry as thirsty, and placed in between food and drink, must necessarily remain where he is and starve to death. — Aristotle

The phrase is a parody of Jean Buridan’s philosophy of moral determinism. An Ass that is equally as hungry as it is thirsty is placed inbetween water and food, equidistant to each. Since the Ass is unable to choose which one to go to first, it will die of thirst and hunger.