Philosphicalising

Philosophy Conference, Apr 2010.

Philosophers. Aren't they just so cooL?

Today, friends, let us do philosophy. There are a good many question in modern philosophy, ranging from “Will that Melvyn Bragg bloke ever shut up?” to “Is the cake really a lie?”. Some of these questions are timeless classics (“Why has my wife left me?”) while others are new, and as yet fairly un-thought. I can’t tell you about the new ones, because even by reading them, you’ll be forced to think them, and research philosophers have not yet discovered which ones are safe to be thought by laymen and women.

There are, of course, over-thought questions. Is the cat dead or alive? Doe we have free will? Is the king of France bald? The answer to the last question is no. Both the current king and queen of France have full heads of hair, although their son is going through a bit of skinhead phase at the moment.

Perhaps the most famous, and most over-thought question is the question of the tree in the forest. If it falls, will it make any sound? The philosophers here have made a fundamental error in assuming that there is still enough forest left for this question to work – these days most forests are within at most a hundred yards of a major tourist attraction or logging industry. However, the question still seems to receive as much thought as it did when new. This is plainly an injustice. There are so many other tree-forest related questions that barely get a look in as a result, and they really deserve more thought. So today I shall present to you a round-up of the best alternatives to the tree-forest-sound (or TFS) philosification.

The most popular replacement to the TFS philosification is of course the tree-forest-god problem. If a tree falls in a forest, does God exist? Alas, this has been puzzling theological philosophers for many centuries now. The history is the TFG problem is quite illustrious – it was thought up just a few years after explorers found the first forests, and but weeks after the concept of God was first invented. From then on in, it became a rich person’s plaything. Many kings kept a personal philosopher in their palaces to stimulate them with this particular conundrum.

The issue was finally solved in 1932, where a philosopher by the name of Wendy showed that the existence of God is not affected at all by the felling of trees in the forest, much to the appreciation of the logging industry, who had been receiving petitions from nervous religious folk for a while. The proof is long and complicated, although extremely elegant to other philosophers.

Another well known philosophisation is Jemimah’s Conundrum. This basically asks if, when a tree falls in a forest, did it do it of its own accord. Essentially, the question ponders whether trees have free will. This question was actually solved a few weeks after creation by a tree who had, at the time, been working in the same philosopherication department as Jemimah. The tree, who was later granted the right to call itself sentient and to thus receive a minimum wage, showed that trees are actually the only beings in the universe who can decided their own destiny. His proof is currently disputed by many senior academics on the grounds that the grammar in the original paper was terrible, but then the writer was just a tree.

There are also much less famous alternatives to the TFS philosification. Arguably an undeserved example of these is the Tree-Forest-Compensation problem. If a tree falls in a forest and lands on a something, who pays compensation, and who do they pay it to? This has always been a bone of contention amongst research philosophers and theoretical philosophers. The latter argue that the question is irrelevant, and not a part of the true study of philosophy. The latter, many of whom have been injured or had possessions crushed by falling trees as a result of being sent on research assignments, say that theoreticians should pay the costs incurred by any of their research partners. Usually as part of the price for their actual research. Thus the question has not yet been solved.

It is also important to remember the Tree-Forest-Field theory. This is basically a theory that says that if a tree falls in a forest, it is not in a field. This has been quite hotly debated as, unlike most philosophical conundra, there appears to be no proof of it. Indeed, Professor Michael Crabapple Snr once proved that there is no proof of the theory, but this was then shown to be false after Professor Michael Crabapple Jnr proved a few years later that there can be no proof that there is or is not any proof of the theory. Counterexamples have been shown – there are a few dubious photographs of trees in fields that float around whenever important philosophers meet to discuss this problem. However, some theoreticians would argue that the theory only applies at the moment of the tree falling. However, TFF skeptics argue that a self-consistent theory must apply at all times, and so the theory must be false.

Other less-popular philosophilisationings include the Tree-Forest-Forest conundrum which states that a tree that falls in a forest is acceptable proof that a forest exists, somewhere. This lead to Greenpeace’s Operation No Forests, which attempted to prove that all the forests had been destroyed by stopping all trees from falling. It was foiled just a few minutes after it began when a tree fell in a forest a few miles away from the Operation’s base camp. It could be heard for miles.

There is also, of course, the I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Tree-Forest-Sound Question question which is sponsored by a popular butter brand. It asks what sound a tree would make if it fell in a forest, assuming that it would make a sound at all. Most papers written on the subject agree that it would be a loud version of the sound a twig makes when it falls over, but popular philosopher Jeremy Clarkson has suggested that it would sound “a bit like a bombshell”, and another professor has suggested that it could sound like the “ringing of a thousand bells in perfect harmony – an immaculate chorus of beauty”, although she’s considered to be a bit crazy even by philosopher standards.

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