Thursday, July 07, 2005

Philosophers at work

At right is a group of philosophers (click to enlarge) engaged in a typical quest for truth. In this instance, the question is Heidegger's: "Why is there something rather than nothing?" It is obvious that questions of this form cannot be answered by sitting at home in a chair before the fireplace.

The philosophers photographed here made the reasonable methodological decision that the answer is out there somewhere rather than nowhere. So they organized a treasure hunt. Intersubjective observation of X is a necessary condition X being something rather than nothing. Therefore the philosophers enhanced intersubjective communication. For example, Dr. Biff is wearing the numeral 72 as a unique identifier. Since the investigation is conducted in the dark and flashlights may not be available to observe jersey numerals, Dr. Buffy is wearing an illuminated tiara; similar to a miner's headlamp, it has the important difference of pointing in every direction at once. "Why is there something rather than nothing?" is not tractable using linear techniques.

This particular search began in Oklahoma. Applying the principle adumbrated as "Occam's Razor," the philosophers reasoned that beginning where you are is as good a place to start as any and--being closer--is in fact better.