Flat Earth and Ontology

Another philosophical diatribe against the lower sciences

For people of limited ability, modesty is merely honesty. But for those who possess great talent, it is hypocrisy.
-Arthur Schopenhauer

I’m a flat earther. Why? Well it’s not because I actually believe that the earth is flat. I don’t really hold any beliefs at all in the traditional sense — there is a reason philosophers have spent so much time debating the nature of “being” and “reality.” It would be foolish, primitive even, to lay claim to any sort of significant knowledge.

I am a flat earther. Why? Because I want to spit in the face of modern physics. Physicists always act as if they are studying and uncovering the very being of the world, what is. But in actuality they are merely constructing models which are judged solely on their predictive accuracy. These models therefore cannot give us any insight into what exists or what being is like. Physics is not and cannot be ontology.

So hypothetically perhaps one could propose a theory of flat earth which has the same level of predictive accuracy as the theory of spherical earth. In the hypothetical absence of a straightforward empirical observation of the earth as a whole, one would not be able to unarbitrarily choose one theory over the other.

Apparently we do have a snapshot of the earth as a whole, and it looks spherical — but that’s not the point! The point is that philosophers have a right to be smug: ontology is hard work.

Thinking being itself: this is the most difficult task. So who cares if the earth is flat? Maybe the world as a whole is merely a representation: die Welt ist meine Vorstellung, as some Germans used to claim. Regardless, being and reality should be set in place before we investigate something as trivial as the sphericity of earth.

To boldly proclaim that the earth is flat is really to demonstrate the stupid arrogance of all the empirical sciences. They believe that they have taken the place of religion, that they have usurped the reign of philosophy — but they are mere pretenders.

Without really thinking, Stephen Hawking famously said that philosophy is dead. It turns out that Stephen Hawking is dead.

Selections from Italy’s finest anglophone writers.

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Massimo Francesco di Alghero

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