Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten: Intellectual Workouts

Is the world around us and everything that we take for granted real? What if all these are illusions created by a tricking demon- even our skill to reason rationally?

Suppose we are watching a red ball. What guarantee is that the red colour that we see on it are perceived in the same way by both of us? What if the colour that I see on the ball is red and for you it is actually green?

Suppose we come across a twin planet like earth and there instead of hearing music, they smell it? Do sound has a smell? What if we are just unable to sense it due to our physiological limitations?

Suppose in that planet there is a liquid that is clear, tasteless, odorless, falls from sky, that the people over there drink to sustain life, just like water on earth. Can we call it water if the chemical composition is slightly different from water in our planet? What if humans find out about it before we deduced the composition of water? Will there be a dispute over which of it is really water?

Suppose you are offered a chance to enter a virtual reality machine for your whole life and live a simulated life that is in no way different from ordinary life, other than every decision that you take become right and all luck is aligned on you side. Would do enter it or prefer to continue with you ordinary existence?

The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten is a collection of 99 such thought experiments written by Julian Baggini. As you can see, all the situations presented here are far fetched ones. But when we start thinking on them, we realise that our points of thought show real life parallels. When we base our thoughts on out of the world scenarios, it helps us to think unbiased and without prejudices. Baggini has written a book that helps us to frame our thoughts on.


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