Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

Averroes

The great philosohper Averroes wanted to convince a friend that everyone shared the same mind:

Averroes: How did you learn all the words you know?
Friend: From my parents and other adults.
Averroes: And who taught you how to use those words to think?
Friend: My teachers taught me at school.
Averroes: And did they teach you to think for yourself?
Friend: Yes!
Averroes: So even your ability to find contradictions and errors in your teachers’ and others’ statements, your ability to think on your own, came from those same teachers?
Friend: Yes…
Averroes: And the very idea that you should try to think for yourself, your desire to do so, someone else planted it in you, didn’t they?
Friend: I suppose they did. But surely i’ve heard a bird or witnessed some random event that caused me to think a novel thought!
Averroes: Where did your idea of a bird come from? What concepts did you use to interpret what you witnessed? What made you think either of these events were important enough to notice in the first place?
Friend: Be that as it may, surely i can alter the direction in which my thoughts are going! I can decide to think about this rather than that.
Averroes: But how would you choose this new direction for your thoughts? Would you not reason with yourself as your teachers taught you to do, using their words and their arguments, starting from their premises?
Friend: So do i control no part of my mind at all?
Averroes: Whence this idea that you should control your mind?
Friend: This is madness!
Averroes: No — it is our shared mind slowly understanding itself.

Tags: ,
February 28, 2012

Science cannot know where it is heading.

February 28, 2012

A questioning mind

A child asked es mother:
— Where did i come from, mother?
— You came from me, silly.
— And the words i use, did they come from you, too?
— Yes, i taught you them.
— And all i think and imagine, did it begin with you?
— I guess it must have. But your questions, my child, where do they come from?
— From you.