Sunday, November 21, 2004

Philosophy

How is it that one of the central issues of philosophy, namely, the nature and existence of knowledge, is permitted to ignore the evidence of the last few millenia of human evidence?  Here's what I mean:  starting with Hume (I suppose), there has developed a silly idea in philosophy that the world around us cannot be proven to exist.  That's because we are dependent on our senses and we can't trust that our "beetle in the box" is the same as others' "beetles in the box" (this image from Wittgenstein).
 
Okay.  I don't know about your beetle and you don't know about mine. 
 
If this ambiguity were actually existing, then wouldn't there be some evidence of it?  Wouldn't it be fair to say that such a hypothesis is exceedingly unlikely (in other words, WYSIWYG) if there were exactly zero evidence that supported it?
 
Now, cast your mind back to the Stone Age.  Warrior seeks food.  Warrior sharpens stone.  Warrior attaches sharpened stone to stick.  Warrior hurls stick at animal.  Animal appears to die.  Animal appears to provide meat to Warrior and his descendants.  This is replicated millions of times.  How do I know?  Because, unless you are willing to posit that what you're reading is an illusion created by your imagination and your imagination only, then we have evidence that the phenonemon is the noumenon. 
 
End of discussion

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