Hot dog vs. Sandwich: An answer for Anthony Rizzo

Well, Anthony, here is the truest philosophical answer to a question that admittedly carries some ambiguity.

Everything is a sandwich. By that, I mean everything has some sort of sandwich-like property, but some of course more than others. For example, a Reuben would have more sandwich-like properties than toast and peanut butter. But toast and peanut butter has more sandwich-like properties than, say, pasta. Hot dogs and tacos have sandwich-like properties, and it’s not incorrect to label them as such. But it’s less correct than labeling BLT or grilled chicken sandwich, a sandwich.

Likewise, an ice cream sandwich is a sandwich. It has sandwich-like properties. But you might argue it’s sans bread. True, that’s a defining characteristic. But it’s only defining characteristic. Lacking that quality makes open-faced sandwiches less of sandwiches than full sandwiches. But even OFS have some sandwich-like properties. And while an ice cream sandwich lacks bread, it compensates by being in the form of a sandwich. Hot dogs don’t have “bread” per se but a bun is also made up of carbs. And a bun is hardly really different than sub sandwich bread, which we would call a sandwich. By the same token, tortillas and taco shells accomplish the same ends as bread. These are all properties that shape our idea of what a sandwich is.

I would recommend reading Plato’s Theory of Forms, which explains how ideas make up reality. Maybe we can discuss it over sandwiches. Say, at Lucky’s in Wrigleyville?

That’s definitely a sandwich.