Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Σκέφτομαι, άρα...


Philosophers are strange folk. They ask strange questions. Like "does this table exist?". Then they think about it really hard. For years. And then they decide they didn't like the question, and instead ask "What does it mean to exist?" and "What does it mean to be a table", and so on, for a few more years. That's why they have such long beards.

Anyway, they realised early on (after a few thousand years of thinking about it) that it was impossible to disprove the theory that you are the only person who exists. Everyone else and everything else is a figment of your imagination. Apparently the only people who believe this are insane, since if you do believe it you go mad. Or end up becoming a philosopher.

The internet raises these sorts of questions. I "know" people online, but I've never met them. They may not actually exist. Someone could be running a very clever computer program. In fact, it could be running on my computer. Or in my head. I've not got any way of telling. Is there really anyone there?

Bertrand Russell said that in the book "Principia Mathematica" which he co-wrote with Whitehead, there were passages which he didn't understand, which Whitehead had written, and that he couldn't believe that they could have come from his brain. Similarly a lot of the stuff spouted by my internet friends and acquaintances couldn't possibly have come from my head - surely? I'm not that sick? Am I? Now I can understand why all those people went mad. If I really believed that it was all my invention, I'd book myself into a mental home straight away.

James Boswell told Samuel Johnson about the idea of the non-existance of matter, and how it was impossible to refute it:

...Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it 'I refute it thus' [The Life of Samuel Johnson, 6th August, 1763]

Now why didn't I think of that? So I think that convinces me that stones exist, but I'm still not totally sure about you lot...

26 comments:

Bee said...

επομένως είμαι

Bee said...

Yes, I know what you're saying, you wish we were only in your head. Well, like you said maybe not because to imagine people like us would make you not only insane but raving mad!

Bee said...

And! You better not come kick us just to see if we're real!

Bee said...

Also:
"Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and die."

I don’t believe your readers follow this quote since we all seem to be independent thinkers who live on questioning the reason for everything.

Chris said...

LOL!

I am not sure what would be more scary. People like Bee being real...or people like Bee being in your imagination.

I guess the choices here are really is the world that scary or is inside your head really that scary?

"To be or not to be...that is the question"

It was the only somewhat philosophical quote I could think of.

Jean Knee said...

The answer is,,More Cowbell Baby!!

wait, what was the question again? did you just make that up?

If we were figment of your insane imagination I wouldn't have a cramp in my right big toe, now would I? would I reminds me of a joke.... do you want to hear it? it's kinda long

Bee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bee said...

It's kinda long:
That's what she said!

Jean Knee said...

snort haww heee
you know, Brian could take a leave from his blog and we would keep things rolling along

Bee said...

Not really because we might be in his imagination!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Bee:

Actually

υπάρχω.

I think what would drive me raving mad is if I knew it was all in my head. As long as I think you exist, I'm okay. It's a bit like faith in a god...
So, I won't be coming to kick you, because if I get there and find you're not real, I'm buggered ;-)

Brian o Vretanos said...

Chris:

As long as I'm on this side of the Atlantic, I'm happy to believe Bee and Jean Knee are on the other.

Re quote: that about sums it up!

Brian o Vretanos said...

Jean Knee:

Leave this blog to you two? I don't think so!

Brian o Vretanos said...

If I turn out not to be real, then there'll be no sanity in your lives ;-)

Bee said...

Αμερικανική εκδοχή


ελπίδα που όχι

“παρθένος”

Bee said...

Sanity in our lives:
Sanity bade me farewell at the age of three, insanity and I have become like sisters and don't need sanity to survive at all...

Brian o Vretanos said...

Bee: No, not a virgin.

Jean Knee said...

my shrink says I'm fine

I wonder if she's a fake?

Bee said...

jean knee, why is Imaginary Brian talking about virgins?

Jean Knee said...

okay, Greek yadda, is there a site that translates or what
never mind I'm probably too lazy

put some subtitles

Jean Knee said...

Who's Brian? one of your co-workers?

Bee said...

I forgot what we were talking about...

Brian o Vretanos said...

Existence.

I wonder if that's ever been used in court - "My client disputes the existence of the crime, and will now call a philosopher as an expert witness."

Bee said...

I'll let you know if it works for me.

Jean Knee said...

you still hear that buzzing sound? Maybe it's one of the office sheep messin with you.

Who is Brian? Is he the one wearing the hat, or is he your brother?

Bee said...

No, Brian is the one with the Recieved Pronounciation speak.