What We Know
Post from December 24, 2017 (↻ June 1, 2021), filed under Philosophy.
On some days, if you asked me about what we know, with absolute certainty, I’d respond with “only that something exists.” And if you asked me what that meant, then I’d add “to appreciate and work with what exists.”
This seems basal and little. But I don’t see it that way. That something exists is certain; but contrary to how academic philosophy regards this as a tiny foundation to base anything on, I take it as extremely powerful. Something exists. To appreciate and work with what exists, though I’m not sure I wouldn’t later rephrase this, seems likewise powerful to me. What can we do with what exists? What should we do with what exists? I’m not the philosopher yet to develop a conception of freedom out of this, but I recognize the possibility.
Something exists. An immensely unsatisfying non-statement at first, but apart from appearing to be the only thing we can be certain of, it may well be pure magic.
Happy Holidays 🎄
Update (April 7, 2019)
Just as I had learned about Kris McDaniel’s The Fragmentation of Being (lauded by Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews), here, “something exists” is not tied to anything concrete or abstract: ∃xFx ↔ ∃Cx(Fx) ∨ ∃Ax(Fx) is not the question; all that matters, for the purposes of this post, is ∃x.
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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Perhaps my most interesting book: 100 Things I Learned as an Everyday Adventurer (2013). During my time in the States I started trying everything. Everything. Then I noticed that wasn’t only fun, it was also useful. Available at Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.