Senior philosophy student Edward Chavez said he can’t stop thinking. He chose his major thinking he’d find absolute truth, but now he just doesn’t know anymore.
“All I know is that I don’t know,” Chavez said. “It’s possible I don’t even exist, according to Peter Unger’s article published in ‘Perception and Identity,’ which uses the paradox of the heap from mereological nihilism to disprove the existence of composite objects. If I don’t exist, does it even matter if I do my homework?”
But then again, he could be a brain in a jar, experiencing external stimuli that only make him think he’s walking around interacting with other people, like in the Matrix.
“I mean, I could use my time feeding the starving children of Africa, but according to Zeno’s paradoxes, it is impossible for us to ever move, because to get somewhere, you must first travel through infinite units of infinity that are forever breaking up into new infinite units of new infinities,” he said. “How would I ever get to Africa in time?”
When we asked him for his unique thoughts on how he came to be the person he is today, he made sure to quote at least 20 sources before forming his own opinion.
“According to Saul Kripke, there are many possible worlds where statements in modal logic may be necessary or merely possible, depending on the world,” Chavez said. “However, David Lewis said that such worlds really exist, and that all choices branch out from each other and actually happen. I like to think that other version of me have made better decisions than this me. There are so many outcomes all happening at once. Objects actually exist in the noumenal realm, but we can never truly experience it. Our perceptions color how we see and experience things, so we can never truly experience these objects.”
In times of loneliness and existential frustration, Chavez said his friends are his greatest supporters.
“We never really know what he’s talking about,” they said, “but he’s funny when he’s in a good mood and his haircut is pretty fly.”
When asked what he likes to do in his spare time outside class, he almost started explaining his penchant for Italian cooking when he was suddenly gripped by cold, hard reality.
“We are trapped, trapped forever in the phenomenal realm!” Chavez said, somewhat hysterical. “But it means I can ignore the fact that my car got sideswiped because it’s really just fine, it’s just my perception that makes me think it’s all smashed.”
Editor’s note: Shortly before the end of this interview, Chavez had a breakdown when discussing the concept of infinite regress, in which no knowledge can ever be truly justified as genuine since its justification rests on other additionally unjustifiable claims. Of course, we can’t even be sure that infinite regress exists, either.