[ExI] Dr Mardy quote of the week: his own

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Jan 19 19:05:22 UTC 2021

On 19/01/2021 15:12, Spike wrote:
> Ben, how can you really be absolutely sure... that I exist?  I might be just
> a kind of imaginary construct.

Depends on what you mean by "I" and "exist".

I can't be sure that the gangly and wise, good-natured 
ancient-wool-pants-wearing person with an off-the-scale sensa huma 
depicted in your posts is a human being living in that strange and 
baffling land over the water, but your posts didn't just appear from 
nowhere, so something created them. If Spike is an imaginary construct, 
whatever created it possesses all the necessary qualities and knowledge 
to be Spike, so it might as well be Spike (it could be far more than 
Spike, but it must by necessity at least contain all the Spikeness (as 
opposed to spikiness) required to pose as Spike). So even if you don't 
'exist', you do exist in some way.

But William of Ockham is my guide here, so I will assume you exist until 
it's proven otherwise.

(Interestingly, William doesn't seem to have ever directly stated what 
we know as Occam's Razor. It crops up many times throughout history, 
though, from Aristotle through Newton up to modern medicine (the 
'Zebra': "When you hear hoofbeats, think of horses not zebras", Theodore 
Woodward, sometime in the 1940s)

Ben Zaiboc

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