Sunday, October 22, 2006


I've been super busy lately doing philosophy. Philosophy is funny.

This passage struck me as particularly funny. It is from Hilary Putnam's "The Meaning of 'Meaning'".

"Imagine that we someday discover that pencils are organisms. We cut them open and examine them under the electron microscope, and we see the almost invisible tracery of nerves and othe organs. We spy upon them, and we see them spawn, and we see the offspring grow into full-grown pencils. We discover that these organisms are not imitating other (artifactual) pencils - there are not and never were any pencils except these organisms. It is strange, to be sure, that there is lettering on many of the organisms - e.g. BONDED Grants DELUXE made in U.S.A. No. 2. - perhaps they are intelligent organisms, and this is their form of camouflage. (We also have to explain why no one ever attempted to manufacture pencils, etc., but this is clearly a possible world, in some sense)...In a way, the case of pencils turning out to be organisms is complementary to the case we discussed some years ago...of cats turning out to be robots (remotely controlled from Mars)." (p.242-3)


Anonymous said...

that's retarted

Bob said...

That's really uncanny. Lately I've had these Fantasia-style nightmares with pencils instead of brooms. I try to break the pencils, but they multiply and erase everything I've accomplished in my life. I suppose all those years of pencil-break have caught up to me. Or maybe it's just kharma.

Matthew D Dunn said...

Jesus Bob, that is uncanny.

Anonymous said...

I think that dream says a lot about you. I'd seek help.
P.F. Didimore