Oldie But Goodie

There is an old joke about a physicist, a biologist, and an epistemologist being asked to name the most impressive invention or scientific advance of modern times. The physicist does not hesitate—”It is quantum theory. It has completely transformed the way we understand matter.” The biologist says “No. It is the discovery of DNA—it has completely transformed the way we understand life.” The epistemologist looks at them both and says “I think it’s the thermos.” The thermos? Why on earth the thermos? “Well,” the epistemologist explains patiently, “If you put something cold in it, it will keep it cold. And if you put something hot in it, it will keep it hot.” Yeah, so what?, everyone asks. “Aha!” the epistemologist raises a triumphant finger “How does it know?”

Like Monty Python’s jokes about medieval ‘reasoning’, jokes about philosophy are often funny in themselves, but especially so if you recognize how accurate they really are.

As is so often the case, they’re funny because they’re true.

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