Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Healthy Dose of Metaphysics, Star Wars, and 80s Rock

Obj. 1 - Metaphysicist Stephen Mumford provides some insight on negative properties. He uses the same hippopotamus example that's in his introductory book, which is enjoyable. I remember how amazed I was the first time I came across it.

Obj. 2 - A plethora of Star Wars clips are matched to "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins.


  1. A philosophy professor of mine came up with a similar dilemma. His solution, which I liked, was to demonstrate that 100% of the room's capacity was taken up with non-hippopotamus objects: in this video's case, it would be mostly air, with some books, shelves, chairs, people, a camera, dust. If a hippo was there, it would be readily apparent to the senses (this solution works well if the room isn't huge and doesn't have any unusual hiding places).

    You could be a schmoe and propose the hippo really is there, but it's actually invisible. But then it's not a hippo. A hippo falls under the "visible" category. Plus invisible hippos have no bearing on real life. If an invisible hippo exists, there's more pressing things to seek out after the shock of that discovery wears off.

  2. I had never considered that solution your professor mentioned ... that's impressive. I can't imagine there are many other solutions that appease any doubt so quickly.

    Regarding the schmoe's inference, metaphysics really seems to encourage a lot of unpractical problems like that - I usually find it fun but it's undeniably outrageous.

    1. Metaphysics are fun mental exercises, for sure. :)

    2. That's exactly it, as you summarized in "There Is No Hippo." Meaningful? Not really, but a great option in the fun yet unnecessary list.

  3. Reposted from my blog comments just in case it doesn't get to you:
    Ah! That video is blocked in America! Who is to blame for this!
    Hey, by the way, have we talked about A Grief Observed yet?
    I know you were reading it, and I was talking about reading it.
    Well, I read it, and I think it is one of the best things I have ever read. Growing up reading Narnia, and spending a lot of my adulthood reading Lewis' other books, I think I sobbed for the first 40 or so pages of A Grief Observed. Seeing him broken was incredibly difficult, and he really seems irreparably broken for the first half of the book.
    When he starts to come back from it, though, I felt like I could hear this beautiful music, and then I was laughing, and then I was crying again, and then I was crying and laughing at the same time. I don't think I have ever had such a strong emotional reaction to a book.
    My wife noticed how moved I was and asked to read it when I was finished, but she accidentally spilled a drink in her beach bag and inadvertently ruined it.
    I am purchasing another copy.
    I see it's made your favorites list. I take it you enjoyed it?

    1. That's just not right! Everyone deserves to see this video. Hope it works at the vimeo link:

      I was actually going to ask you about that awhile ago. Glad to hear you read it and liked it! That's a very eloquent description you provided. I can only imagine that deeper impact the book would have for those more familiar with Lewis' work. I've never read any of the Narnia books and have only read the three listed in my favorites section of my profile (A.G.O. is my favorite of them). I've never heard it described this way, but I think of the book as a work of existentialism, and for that reason I partially understand my liking towards it (since I have flourishing interest in that sub-topic of philosophy). Reading is a newer interest of mine (past 3 years), and I've never read anything quite like A Grief Observed. There's a lot of existential fiction, but this is actual existentialism being documented. Lewis wears his heart on his sleeve, and honesty is something I care a lot about being transferred through the arts, so it's a great read on that front. I plan on reading it again sometime.