Philosophical Easter Eggs
May 4, 2007 — 9:24

Author: Tim Pawl  Category: General  Comments: 3

I was reading through the new issue of Faith and Philosophy when I saw this  footnote:

"I use the term "Phat" on the advice of my hip-hop savvy colleague Matt Halteman, who assures me that this fits the paradigm use of "phat" as an adjective predicated of hyper-accessorized cars ("pimp mobiles," I believe Matt called them) and the like."

What a great thing to find, hidden in the back of the article with the mundane footnotes.

Bryan Frances had a post last year over at knowability on philosophical insults, calling for readers' favorite insults by philosophers.  What are some other clever/funny/insulting/ironic/incredible footnotes, hidden at the ends of articles and books like Easter Eggs hidden on DVDs?  This one's a joke, but no good footnote find should go unappreciated.  

Comments:
  • This isn’t a philosophy one, but I like it. The English mathematician Littlewood (I think) had a paper published in French. At the end of the paper there were three footnotes, each in French (but I will give them in English):
    1. The author would like to thank Professor Riesz for translating this paper into French.
    2. The author would like to thank Professor Riesz for translating the previous footnote into French.
    3. The author would like to thank Professor Riesz for translating the previous footnote into French.
    In his memoirs, Littlewood notes that one might think a regress is being generated. But there is no regress. For although the author knows no French, he can copy a French sentence as well as anybody, and hence did not need the help of Professor Riesz with the third footnote.

    May 4, 2007 — 13:37
  • “…any competent philosopher who does not understand something will take care not to understand anything whereby it might be explained.” — David Lewis, On the Plurality of Worlds

    May 5, 2007 — 14:49
  • “I say that [Armstrong’s ‘necessitation relation’] deserves the name of ‘necessitation’ only if, somehow, it really can enter into the requisite necessary connections. It can’t enter into them just by bearing a name, any more than one can have mighty biceps just by being called ‘Armstrong.'” – David Lewis, “New Work for a Theory of Universals”
    I guess that’s not really an “easter egg” since it’s in the main text, but I find it very amusing.

    May 10, 2007 — 14:29