Statesboro, GA, USA
Philosophers have long been accused of chasing shadows right? Actually I think this may be more about physics.
Regardless, I found this posted elsewhere, and thought you guys might have fun with it.
consider a simple three-membered set and consider whether it is clear, true and consistent.
I will begin by assuming that the following ideas are clear and require no explanation. I'm taking the words in their ordinary usage, not as a physicist might understand them:
The skyscraper is casting a shadow.
That is the skyscraper's shadow.
John is standing in the skyscraper's shadow.
At this moment, the length of the skyscraper's shadow is exactly half of the skyscraper's actual height.
Now for the set of propositions:
1) If an object casts a shadow, then light is falling directly on that object.
2) An object cannot cast a shadow through an opaque object.
3) Any shadow is a shadow of something.
Most people concede that the set (1,2,3) is clear, that is, (1) is clear, (2) is clear and (3) is clear, that (1,2,3) is true, that is, (1) is true, (2) is true, and (3) is true, and that the conjunction of (1), (2) and (3) is consistent. (As it happens, the conjunction of (1), (2) and (3) is formally consistent, whether anyone concedes that or not. That much, at least, is not a matter of opinion.)
What may we deduce from (1,2,3)? Not much, for (1,2,3) is a snare and a delusion. If the conjunction (1,2,3) is clear, then it is not true, and if it is true, then it is not clear, i.e., if it's true, then the propositions cannot mean what they seem to mean.
I have a large conifer in my backyard that casts a long and broad shadow on a clear day. From time to time a cardinal flies past the conifer, through its shadow. Now at a precise moment, when a cardinal is flying past the conifer, there is an area on the lawn that, had the confier been absent, there would still have been a shadow cast by the cardinal. Call the area comprised by the shadow that would have been cast by the cardinal if the conifer did not exist A.
What is casting the shadow on A? It cannot be the cardinal, for (1) says that's not possible. It cannot be the tree, for (2) says that's not possible. It must be something, for (3) says so. So what is casting the shadow on A?
We needed something to jumpstart this forum again!
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-18-2003 09:52 PM).]