Friday, October 19, 2007


Bertrand Russel once said that the point of philosophy is to start from something so simple as to not be worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it. In Plato's Meno, the title character asks Socrates "How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?" In other words, how can you know that you've arrived at the truth, when you don't know what the truth is?

Socrates runs circles around Meno, suggesting that by this logic, man cannot search for that which he knows, because he already knows it, nor for what he doesn't know, because he wouldn't know what he was looking for. Of course, this is the dumbest thing EVER, and so Meno, duly chastened, shuts his uninformed trap.

Personally, I'm of the opinion that the most rewarding way to arrive at an unknown truth is to trip over it in the dark, while on the way to the fridge for a midnight snack. Usually there is a sufficiently loud noise, as of a small plastic McDonald's toy being crushed by a grown man's bare foot, possibly a chair falling over. Some quiet but earnest swearing may also erupt.

More often, though, I resort to the "There is no absolute truth, and therefore to explore the nature of the Known or Unknown is ultimately without reward, so let's just watch Survivor."

This morning as I was leaving the house, Son gave me a big hug and said "I very love you, Daddy".

So cute.

0 uninformed opinions: