Saturday, October 2, 2010

Night With the Philosophers: A Case Study

Hobbes, Locke, And Kant

In the following dialogue you will observe the actions of three characters: Hugo, Lucy, and Kris. Each of the three represent the idea of *human nature expressed by the philosopher whose shares their first initial. Pay close attention to their actions and observe how they interact.

*Hugo is a human in name only.

2:13 AM. A cozy little home in suburban Provo. Hugo is climbing out of the front window with a very full knapsack hung over his shoulder. He quietly shuts the window behind him and tiptoes across the lawn.

Hugo: That was some haul! I love Provo! Not much cash, but there's always plenty of food storage. Good thing APX hasn't completely taken over the neighborhood yet.

Just then, Lucy walks by. She looks over at Hugo suspiciously.

Lucy: um... what are you doing over there?

Hugo jumps, nearly dropping his knapsack.

Hugo: Oh! Well... I'm doing what Hugo does best!

Lucy: And that would be...?

Hugo: Well duh! Preserving my life! Fulfilling my self-interests!

Lucy: By stealing food storage? Don't you think that's a little ridiculous?

Hugo: I don't understand... you're weird.

Lucy: Well, what about God?

Hugo: who?

Lucy: God. You know, the ultimate enforcer? The Punisher? G-O-D. God!

Hugo: Sorry, I'm not reading you.

Lucy: Well, aren't you afraid of getting punished?

Hugo looks around, then back to Lucy.

Hugo: Well who's gonna stop me? You?

Lucy laughs nervously.

Lucy: Ha! I'll let God take care of that.

Hugo shrugs... He looks back up at Lucy, and stares. A creepy smile.

Hugo: I like you. You're mine now.

Lucy: Wha... what?! Look, I'm all about self-interest, but if you do that you're gonna be in big trouble.

Hugo: Why are you out here anyway? It's 2:00 AM!

Lucy: I had a nightmare, which wasn't very pleasurable, so I decided it would be in my best interest to take a walk. I figure that's what God wanted me to do. Besides, I've never been up at this hour before, and I wanted to see if it really existed. Now I know that 2:00 AM is real, because I experienced it for myself.

Hugo: Well, better for me. I'm going to take advantage of you now.

Hugo approaches Lucy, who screams and tries to run. Suddenly, a shot is fired and Hugo falls to the ground, dead. Lucy gasps and turns around. Kris walks slowly over to her, smoke floating up from the end of her pistol.

Lucy: … um... thanks

Kris: Anytime. I'd never shoot a man, but he forfeit his humanity.

Lucy: um... what?

Kris(rolling her eyes): Categorical imperative! Hello! It's what makes us humans! Rational thinking?

Lucy: That's funny, I thought acting in our own self-interest is rational.

Kris(under her breath):

Lucy: What was that?

Kris: Nothing.

Lucy: So... how can I repay you? Want to get some frozen yogurt?

Kris: Hmm... let me think... can I will frozen yogurt upon the whole world?

Lucy: Yeah, it's delicious.

Kris: Okay. Let's go.

Kris and Lucy walk down the street toward the yogurt shop. A bat flying by sees the two ladies, gets distracted, and flies into a pole. He spirals down to the ground and stops moving.

Lucy: Did you see that?! That bat just ran into the pole!

Kris: You don't know that.

Lucy(taken aback): Uh, yeah I do. I just saw it. Hello?

Kris: No, you can't really know what happened. You just saw a phenomenon that our universal category of mediation allowed us to see.

Lucy: … um... I saw the bat hit the pole. Really. That's the way it is.

Kris: Whatever.

The two continue walking in silence. They enter the yogurt shop. The screen fades to black. A disembodied voice chuckles in the background...

Voice: Ha ha ha! Doesn't she know that categories of mediation are contingent on culture?