Thursday, June 27, 2019

Poem(s) For a Thursday: Philosophical Limericks

And he writes mysteries, too! And his niece is Penelope Fitzgerald!

There once was a man who said: "God,
Must think it exceedingly odd
  If he finds that this tree
  Continues to be
When there's no one about in the Quad." 
Dear Sir,
  Your astonishment's odd:
I am always about in the Quad
  And that's why the tree
  Will continue to be
Since observed by
  Yours Faithfully,

-Ronald A. Knox

A variant on the old saying: if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there, does it make a sound? Bishop George Berkeley, whom I recently read about in Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, had the answer to that. This is Reverend Knox's summary of Berkeley's argument, quoted in Russell.

And that reminded me of this other philosophical limerick on pre-destination:

There was a young man who said, "Damn!
I perceive with regret that I am
  But a creature that moves
  In predestinate grooves;
I'm not even a bus, I'm a tram.

-Maurice E. Hare

Be sure to go see the originator of Poem For A Thursday at Jennifer's Holds Upon Happiness. I'm posting this in advance but I will checking her poem out as soon as possible!

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