Search This Blog

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stalin's Ghost

Suppose a group of people were to view Stalin in the Metro in Moscow, as happened in one of Martin Cruz Smith's novel about Senior Investigator Arkady Renko.

Reason tells us that of all the explanations for this, a real ghostly presence is probably the least likely explanation, so we work to dismiss the notion that Stalin's ghost had made an appearance, and strive to prove some other state of affairs that would explain things.

Once we have eliminated Stalin's ghost, have we actually put things as we understand them aright with the way things actually are?

In a situation such as the one about Stalin's ghost, it seem powerfully obvious that there is a delusional state of affairs at variance with some "real" state of affairs, and we must strive to understand the mystery.
But it is not at all clear that Stalin's ghost is the sole delusion in the state of affairs referred to as "seeing Stalin's ghost"; there may be other, less important, delusions that we ignore in our efforts, as they do not seem to bear directly upon the Mystery in the Metro.

By eliminating a delusion, we have not proven the existence of some "real" state of affairs: we have merely demonstrated that a certain complex of concepts and statements is incoherent when taken within the context of a larger complex of concepts and statements.
Or, the proof that something does not exist is not proving that it need necessarily not or never exist. Everything is acceptable in Being.
It is we who winnow Being, and separate the wheat from the chaff... supposedly.

No comments: