Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Think, Therefore I Starve


I was a philosophy minor in college. There isn't much of a call for philosophers these days, which is why I ultimately went into a different line of work. There's a reason that the philosophers of old were referred to as "philosopher-kings". The philosophy game didn't pay well--even back then. Those who had the "calling" to philosophize better have been independently wealthy. It probably helped that they also were in charge. This way, they could proclaim some sort of edict that required everyone to listen to and/or discuss the obvious merits of the philosopher-kings' observations and theories.

One of the earliest theories thrown out there concerned Metaphysics. This is a good name; it gives the impression that there actually might be some science involved. Metaphysics is the "study" of how we can know anything about anything. Man, if that isn't scientific, I don't know what is.

Another wonderful philosophy topic is Logic. Logic involves all sorts of rules and shorthands and derivations that almost resembles math. This is probably why I remember precious little about Logic. One of the few things I do remember, however, is something called a tautology. A tautology is an example of faulty logic; e.g., It is so because it is so. It is easy to see why philosophers rejected this and why it was so quickly snatched up by parents, teachers and politicians almost immediately afterward.

I guess every now and then, the philo-kings felt the need to talk about good behavior. We now refer to such musings as Ethics. One can wonder, however, how ethical it was for the philosopher-kings to make their subjects actually listen to this stuff.

2 comments:

Gary Leibowitz said...

Plato would be mildly amused about your musing on the philosopher-king. But, Aristotle would be pissed that he didn't think of this first. Anyone who can piss off Aristotle is someone I'm proud to call "my brother." Tautologically speaking, of course.

Dave said...

Aristotle was a hack. Plato stated everything that needed to be stated. All Aristotle did was add, "What he said" over the course of several books.