On Snakes Eating Their Own Tales (Philosophically) (Pun Intended)

Here’s a book review (of “Seeing Things As They Are”) that starts out with an intriguing critique of how philosophers in the past have struggled with the idea of objective vs. subjective realities, but it’s only readable for about four paragraphs.

Maybe I need to read more ontology 101 texts (not really: how arduous would that be?), but by the midpoint of the review I’m completely lost and bored and uninterested. I didn’t finish reading the review, and not because the review itself was bad—it isn’t—but mostly because the “problem” of whether a truly objective reality exists doesn’t seem like much of a problem to me.

I could read the review (or even the book itself) or not, and my daily life would not be any different. Having no bearing on how I move about the world would typically disqualify a philosophy from being useful or profound. Yes, sometimes thinking about something just for fun is extremely useful—sometimes necessary, even—but to write whole books on it and to have whole academic departments debating it?

If the answer to a philosophical question is “I’m not sure, but either way I’m going to live my life in the same way as before,” then why ask the question? Does human perception actually create external reality? Here we have a question that not only fails to satisfy the above criterion, but perhaps doesn’t even make sense as a question. Better, then, to move on to other discussions—even philosophical ones—as we careen towards an era when we’ll briefly be the only mega-fauna, and then there will be no mega-fauna to speak of (or to perceive, subjectively or otherwise).

Side note: I need to get back to reading Nietzsche every week.


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