>From: "J. R. Molloy" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: Majors was: Nanotech
>Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 12:13:04 -0800
> > This is an amusing joke, but not an accurate definition. If you look
> > up philosophy in the dictionary, you will find that it is the inquiry
> > into the nature of things based on logical reasoning rather than
> > empirical methods.
>It's that "rather than" which prompts me to label philosophy the art of
>asking the wrong questions. If a certain Greek philosopher had used an
>empirical method (counting his wife's teeth) instead of simply asserting
>that women have a different number of teeth than men, I think he would have
Which philosopher was this? And maybe he did, maybe his wife just had less
Anyway, yeah, a lot of philosophy asks the wrong questions. Consider this
Thesius's ship should be preserved, since it is a peice of Greek
history. They keep it docked, but it starts to decay. Every time a peice of
wood decays even a bit, it is replaced with a freh board. Eventually, every
board has been replaced. Is it still Thesius's ship? If no, at what point
was it no longer that ship? When did it lose it's "Thesius's ship"-ness?
Furthermore, a scrap dealer stumbles upon all the semi-rotting wood which
has been removed from Thesius's ship. He takes it, and, since it's not
completely rotten, he actually assembles a ship from it, he has re-assmbled
Thesius's original ship. He docks it next to the first ship. Which one is
really Thesius's ship?
Someone came to give a philosophy talk at the college I went to and argued
that they both are, and that this teaches us something about objects and
space. His hypothesis was that this proves that an object can be in two
places at the same time. Amazing! Thesius's ship was in two places at the
same time, docked right next to eachother.
The reason this peice of philosophy is valuable is because it takes "common
sense" hidden assumptions about the nature of objects and applies it to a
problem, which leads to a nonsensical result and shows that the common sense
assumptions about objects, the premises by which most people think about
objects, are false. If you're a good philosopher, you're going to figure out
why these wrong questions are the wrong questions.
Zeb Haradon (email@example.com)
My personal webpage:
A movie I'm directing:
"Fish fuck in it." - W. C. Fields answer to why he never drank water.
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