“The British philosopher G. E. Moore once held up his hands in an expression of exasperation with those who deny the existence of the “external world,” the world “outside” our minds, and said that he certainly knew that his hands existed. He was, in effect, assuming that we should reject a theory that had so absurd a consequence as that he didn’t know he had two hands.”Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Knowledge,” in Thinking It Through: An Introduction to Contemporary Philosophy (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2003), 52.
Is it not ridiculous though for Moore to so confidently rule out the possibilities of the “external world” not existing or the fact that reductio arguments could be true? I feel like a stance such as this rejects the possibility of a God or equally-as-powerful Devil having the ability to control us in an omnipotent manner, or especially now (which I know Moore was not privy to the knowledge of today), when sci-fi perspectives bring up possibilities like Marie, where we would never be able to tell (in an independent capacity) if the world “outside” our minds existed or if it did not. Moore’s opinion, as it appears to me, seems that it might divide philosophers in that his stance rejects such a large portion of the field that it must be polarizing. All of this to say that I am not sure why Moore seems to be so confident in his assertion, and I can confidently say that I do not agree with it, as I do not think we could ever truly rule out the possibility of omnipotent powers or totally controlling (of our mind/being) powers existing and maybe deceiving us. This contentious stance also makes me ponder whether or not Moore was a religious man himself. Can you be religious if you hold an opinion like his, as it could possibly be interpreted as denying the power of any deity?
From “Fires in the Mirror,” Anna Deavere Smith juxtaposes the Black community’s and the Jewish community’s respective stories on how the death of Gavin Cato occurred. The Black community commonly said the driver was drunk and had ran a red light while driving around 70 mph, and then proceeded to leave in an ambulance, while the Jewish community said the driver’s car was hit by another car and went up on the pavement and the driver deliberately steered toward the building in order to avoid the people, but which unfortunately resulted in hitting and killing one child and injuring another. The effect that this juxtaposition has on me–and I think largely with most people–is that it shows the importance of perspective when confronting a highly contentious issue. I think this relates closely to Adichie’s single story, as when we are in controversial situations we may frequently find ourselves confronted with only a single story, or a single perspective, which can develop major biases in our outlooks that will stunt our understanding of the situation as well as limit our overall perspective and grasp of the situation. The construction of these stories/perspectives is also altered by our conceptual schemes, which affect the way every individual conceptualizes events, and–in this case–how a person interprets and develops their own story concerning the events surrounding the death of Gavin Cato. The fact that we can develop biases like this and that we create our own stories in this way can also inhibit our ability to show empathy and understanding when needed most. Because of this, it is important that we always strive to gather as many stories from as many different perspectives possible, so that we may obtain the most accurate bigger picture, which will allow us to potentially show more empathy and judge as fairly and rationally as achievable.
“We forbid slaves to carry any weapon, or large sticks, on pain of whipping and of confiscation of the weapon to the profit of those who seize them“Le Code Noir ou recueil des reglements rendus jusqu’a present (Paris: Prault, 1767) [1980 reprd. by the Societé, d’Histoire de la Guadeloupe], trans. John Garrigus, Article XV.
I think this article really drives home the anxiety and fear that the French had of a potential slave rebellion, or any possible retaliation from their slaves. The fact that the confiscation of the weapon was “to the profit of those who seize them” shows how the French tried to use profit as an incentive to crack down on any suspicious activity that could be potentially “threatening.” Ultimately, I believe that this article had a greater impact on the legacy of the Code itself, and this instilled fear of retaliation/rebellion would be inherited by the people who would employ this document in their own legislature and rules against Black peoples in the future, as could be seen in the American South during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in particular.
A haiku about the moment I felt that my body was an archive.
Hair a lil’ longer
Head is a lil’ bit taller
I can’t remember