Wednesday, 14 December 2011
My existential chest infection
Blegh... I am currently the gracious host of a particularly nasty bacterial chest infection and as if I’ve run over my cosmic yearly talk minutes, I am currently unable to speak. I’d like to say that the raspy back ally drug dealer tones, interspersed with old man coughs every few seconds is a worthy replacement but to do so would be lying. At the very least, it gives me a decent reason to avoid every day dull conversation but at the same time, I can no longer piss people off. Pissing people off is all I have... So, instead of spreading my own-brand of crazy upon the unwitting recipients of my usual inane chatter, I’ll be injecting it directly to your frontal lobe via the written word. A man’s gotta annoy someone.
Recently, I’ve been thinking through a particular philosophical problem with infinite wisdom bestowed upon me by my single year of AS Philosophy. I had planned to write it as a self contained post but then I realised that most philosophers wouldn’t want to read my bollocks, however obtuse and misinformed it may be, so I won’t subject you to 500 words of it; the topic in question is whether ‘the truth’ is subjective or objective. The main reason I started to think about all this was due to an over abundance of time during work and the fact that conclusively deciding the truth to be one way or the other will drastically change many of my other philosophical beliefs. Welp, here goes my try at chronicling my internal monologue on it all:
The first thing that must be decided is the definition of ‘the truth’. Usually the truth in philosophy is split into two forms, analytic and synthetic truths, analytic truths are true due to the definition of words, i.e. a bachelor is an unmarried man or triangles have three sides; they are true in all possible worlds. Synthetic truths are true due to the world they are in, e.g. London buses are red or metals expand when heated; if the world were to be changed, synthetic truth would change. My example for this discourse will be synthetic due to the tautological (A phrase or expression in which the same thing is said twice in different words) nature of analytic truths rendering them pretty useless. My truth will be that at 2:30 pm on the 14/12/11, I ate a kitkat. This event occurred and was empirically verified (checked by my sense experience e.g. touch, taste, sound etc.) by me, thus it is knowledge held by me and is also part of ‘the truth’. Anybody of any denomination or inclination could have witnessed the event and thus is objectively true in the chronicles of history. Let’s deconstruct this further; our new truth is ‘the kitkat bar I ate was red’, simple enough you’d think and all of my original truth could be simplified as such, now watch this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b71rT9fU-I&hd=1 – How our words shape our perception of the world, it’ll change your world view.
If the words we use can change how we categorise and perceive colour, something so basic, how else does it shape our world view? Do we only see similar things due to our similar language use? I believe that what we think to be an objective ‘truth’ or ‘matter of fact’ is simply the misnamed summary of our general consensus of similar subjective perception. This happens due to the fact that we all use very similar language categories for the world and as such, we all draw similar conclusions, yet these conclusions do not mean that what is being perceived is the truth. Others such as these African tribe’s people may have a completely different truth that is no less true than our own.
My conclusion leads to far more problems than it solves that I, with my limited knowledge and ability to give a fuck, cannot solve. If my hypothesis were to be true, something could exist and not exist due to both being ‘true’, which is a logical impossibility. Maybe it is folly to think in terms of ‘true’ and ‘false’. Who knows? All I know is that I’ve rambled enough for today. Laters, fuckwits.
Joke from my mother, she has the best sense of humour
Q. Where do alligators keep their money?
A. In the riverbank