Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Philosophy and Dogmatism

The New York Times columnist David Brooks is a fan of studies of human behavior. In a recent column, called “Social Science Palooza,” he summarizes the findings of a number of recent studies. Some of them are quite amusing.

Among my favorites:

- More physical contact among teammates on basketball teams correlates with better performance.

- Men are less inclined to date women who dumped their last boyfriends (instead of being dumped), while women are more inclined to date men who dumped their last girlfriends.

- Men tend to adopt more risky and daring strategies when playing chess against attractive women.

The finding most relevant to philosophy:

- The more people doubt their core convictions, the more they tend to forcefully defend them. (This phenomenon has long been recognized, but Brooks describes a recent study that supports it.)

This last one of course merely indicates a general tendency—it doesn’t mean that all people who forcefully defend their own views really doubt them. But chances are you’ve witnessed people (maybe even yourself) displaying forceful, and apparently irrational, conviction in the face of strong contrary evidence.

I think here’s a place where philosophy can do some good in the world. By promoting intellectual honesty and the pursuit of truth, study of philosophy can help to offset our all-too-human tendency to dig in our heels when in fact we feel doubt. Philosophy can encourage us to be gracious when our views are subjected to critical scrutiny.

This issue calls to mind a quote I read to my students on the last day of my Intro to Philosophy class this semester. It’s by Bertrand Russell, from the last chapter of his book, The Problems of Philosophy.

“The value of philosophy,” he says, “is . . . to be sought largely in its very uncertainty. . . Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom . . . [I]t removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have never travelled into the region of liberating doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect.”

Monday, December 6, 2010

A little update from the Bethel athletics department

Bethel alumni out there may be interested to know that the Bethel football team beat St. Thomas this past weekend and now moves on in the NCAA Division III football playoffs. Imagine that: playoffs in college football! Bethel will play in the semi-finals this coming Saturday against the Mount Union Goliaths from Ohio. (They aren't really the "Goliaths"--I don't know what their team name is. But I do know that they dominate NCAA III football year after year, and that when Bethel played them in the semi-finals a few years ago, witnesses reported that Mount Union's players were rather larger than average. Still, we know that Goliaths can be beaten...)

Go Bethel!

Update 12/12: Mount Union beat Bethel 34 - 14, and Bethel flew home afterwards into a blizzard. A splendid effort (and season) from Bethel, but Mount Union is a very tough team to beat.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Profitable but Unethical Business Practices

We’re often told that ethics is good for business. Companies that sell quality products and treat customers fairly thrive because of it, while unethical companies fail.

In some ways the internet has helped to promote ethical business behavior. In years past, if you were treated badly by a company you might fire off an angry letter, complain to family and friends, or report the problem to the Better Business Bureau. Now you can make your voice heard on the internet, where consumers interested in the same product or company can find out about your bad experience. Companies often take complaints on review sites very seriously, because a low rating for a product or seller can kill a business.

But now we get this story in the New York Times about a business owner who turns the ethical behavior formula on its head. The story is long but highly entertaining. I’ll give the short version. Vitaly Borker, from Brooklyn, runs an online business that sells fashionable eyeglasses. His customer service is abominable: he overcharges for the glasses (which he often buys on eBay), cheats his customers, and abuses and threatens the ones who complain. (The tales of abuse are quite awful.) And yet, somehow, he makes a profit.

Here’s how. You’d think that the internet complaints about his business practices would be damaging, but not so. (Warning: the complaints contain bad language--from the seller, not the customers!) They actually draw traffic to his website. Viewers drawn by the complaints don’t buy his products, of course; but the heavy traffic and internet references to his site pushes it high up the lists people see when they run Google searches for the glasses he sells. That’s the dream of every web entrepreneur. Guided by Google, unsuspecting customers visit his website and are impressed by his low prices. They buy, some of them complain, more traffic flows to the website, and it remains high on Google search lists.

In this way, Borker has run a profitable business. Fortunately, as the story reveals, his immoral behavior may be catching up with him. But who would have thought that offensive customer service could be a recipe for business success, even in the short term?

Update 12/07/10: Borker has been arrested--an encouraging development for business ethicists everywhere.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Science and the Color Red

One of the problems physicalists have to deal with is how what are called qualia can be physical. (Qualia are mental states that involve sensations, or "raw feels," like the feeling of pain, an itch, or nausea, or the experience of redness.) The worry for physicalism is that it is unclear how physicalism can account for qualia. How can the feel of pain simply be a state of the brain or an event going on in it (the organization or firing of neurons, for example)?

An argument called "The Knowledge Argument" was put forward by philosopher Frank Jackson years ago, and it claims that qualia cannot be physical. The basic idea: Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist, knows everything physical that goes on in a person's brain when a person sees something red. However, Mary herself has been locked her whole life in a black-and-white room and prevented from seeing anything red herself. Now suppose she is released and allowed for the first time to see a red tomato. At this point, so the argument goes, she learns something new. She knew all the physical facts about color-vision, but she didn't know all the facts about color vision--she didn't know what red looks like! Hence some of the facts about color-vision aren't physical, and hence physicalism is false.

This argument has been much debated, but despite increasing advances in cognitive neuroscience, the question of how physicalism can account for qualia, or for consciousness more generally, will not go away. It is raised again, nicely, in the Toronto Globe and Mail, in an article "Science still can't explain the colour red," which quotes some top contemporary philosophers and cognitive scientists who have done work on the subject.

Speaking of philosophers and cognitive scientists, here at Bethel our very own Dan Yim is co-teaching a course on consciousness this spring with a member of the psychology department. The course is called "Consciousness: Psychology and Philosophy in Dialogue." No doubt it will discuss the question raised in the Globe and Mail article: how much can science tell us about the mind?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Steve Martin's Atheist Song

Everyone admits that religion has spawned brilliant music and art (to say nothing for philosophy!). Atheism, on the other hand, has had little going for it musically. In this video, comedian/actor/musician/author Steve Martin tries to rectify the situation with an amusing tune called, "Atheists Don't Have no Songs."

One reason I post this here is that Steve Martin has some connection to philosophy--he was a philosophy major in college. He writes about his interest in philosophy, and about his ground-breaking career in comedy, in his memoir "Born Standing Up."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dwight's Logical Problem

Fans of "The Office" might enjoy watching Dwight get himself into a little logical trouble. (Thanks to Jeremy for the link!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Realism, Anti-Realism, and Baseball

There is an important debate in philosophy between those who say that what is true is made true by the world, and those who say that what is true is made true by us. A realist says that the WORLD makes true statements true; an anti-realist says that WE do. For example, a realist about morality may say that committing adultery is objectively wrong—-it’s wrong because doing so fails some objective moral standard, and it is wrong whether people think it is or not. An anti-realist, on the other hand, may say that adultery is made wrong by the fact that people disapprove of it and believe that it’s wrong. If they didn't, it wouldn't be.

Realism and anti-realism often collide in sports. In almost every sport, the results are determined in large part by what certain people—the referees or umpires—think. There are standards in baseball, for example, which specify exactly the conditions under which a runner is out; but when you get right down to it, a runner is out when and only when the umpire says so. You could see that this past June when Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga came one out from a perfect game:

How should we characterize the situation? Was the runner REALLY out, but the umpire mistakenly called him safe? Maybe, but of course the runner really WAS safe, because the umpire said so. He stayed on first base after the play. On his stats sheet for the season, he is credited with a hit. Galarraga is not on the short list of pitchers who have pitched a perfect game.

The funny thing is, of course, that if the runner had been “objectively” safe, but the umpire called him out, Galarraga would have had his perfect game. I’d bet that at least some of the perfect games in the record books are illegitimate in this fashion—-especially when we factor in the way that umpires’ strike zones tend to deviate from what the rules specify. But they really are perfect games, aren’t they?

It’s interesting to ponder the ways in which umpires and referees “make truth” in sports. And sometimes, for sports fans—and Armando Galarraga—-it can be pretty painful, too.

P.S. Oops. MLB has pulled the video from youtube. Click here to get to the video on Major League Baseball's website.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Utilitarianism and Voting

It’s voting season again, and to celebrate I’m going to pretend I’m a utilitarian and give you a straightforward argument for the conclusion that you shouldn’t bother going to the polls. (Roughly speaking, a utilitarian believes that the right action is the one that produces the most overall happiness. Rightness of action depends purely on the consequences.) Here’s the argument: your vote doesn’t make a difference. It never has, and it never will. You and the world would be better off if you spent your time doing something more productive, so that is exactly what you should do.

“What do you mean?” I hear you asking. “Don’t you remember the 2008 election, where Al Franken won the Minnesota Senate seat over Norm Coleman by a mere 300 votes, out of millions of votes cast? As many people said at the time, this just proves that every vote matters!”

Well, no, it doesn’t. If you voted for Franken, then your vote meant he won by one more vote than he would have otherwise, while if you voted for Coleman, your vote meant he lost by one less than he would have otherwise. If you hadn’t voted, the consequences would have been exactly the same. There probably hasn’t been a large-scale vote in the history of democracy that was decided by one person, and chances are there never will be.

“Yeah, but if everyone listened to that reasoning and didn’t vote, the consequences would be terrible.”

True, but the fact is, not everyone is going to listen to that reasoning. (Although maybe it would be best if I kept my anti-voting arguments to myself, since broadcasting them could have just those bad consequences. It would be bad if the masses believed as I do.) And anyway, if most people were to listen and not vote, then your vote would be more likely to make a difference, so then you probably SHOULD vote. But since you know that is not going to happen, you should stay away from the voting booths and spend your time more productively.

OK, I’ll stop pretending to be a utilitarian. If you reasoned like a utilitarian, you would probably conclude that you shouldn’t vote, or at least that you have no reason to vote. The problem is that morally speaking you really ought to vote. I think that gives us a powerful argument against utilitarianism. But it raises the question: why is it the case that you ought to vote even when your vote won’t make a difference?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I learn everything from Star Trek

I recently had a fun discussion with some philosophy students about personal identity and the deeply held (but perhaps incorrect) intuition that spatio-temporal continuity is relevant to conditions for persistence.

I find that pop culture, especially of the science fiction variety, is such a wonderful cultural-encylopedia of reference for testing our intuition pumps. I mean, what else is pop culture but a seedbed of thought experiments?

I asked them if they ever feel robbed when watching Star Trek.

What I mean is this. Whenever someone goes through the miraculous transporter (e.g., convert Spock into energy pattern and re-materialize/re-realize in another location a few moments later), very rarely do viewers, philosophical or otherwise, experience a bait-and-switch in view of the spatio-temporal discontinuity. Rarely do we say to ourselves, “Geesh, that’s not Spock,” simply in virtue of the transporter-process.

I’m sure that this doesn’t cut that much ice in terms of the actual arguments about personal identity, persistence, and spatio-temporal continuity.

It does show, however, that deeply held intuitions may vary not just from one person’s mindset to that of another but from context to context in the very same person’s mindset. Possible lesson: metaphysical intuitions might be about as good as hunches or prejudices.

Letting go of the spatio-temporal continuity hunch in the discussion about personal identity invites all sorts of puzzles about personal identity, but not any genuinely new ones that don’t already exist.

The advantage for those who are both religiously inclined and physicalist (i.e., no such things as immaterial souls) about the nature of human persons is that this (i.e., letting go of the intuition in question) carves some conceptual space for still holding to a traditional Christian doctrine of resurrection, sans immateriality. After all, if spatio-temporal continuity is overrated, it doesn’t matter whether the discontinuity lasts a micron or an aeon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Brilliant Christian Professors

Follow the link below to see a list of "the 20 most brilliant Christian professors." The list seems fairly reasonable to me, though it could certainly use a few more philosophers! Alvin Plantinga is on it, as he should be; but I'd say Nicholas Wolterstorff deserves to be there, too. In any case, it's an impressive collection of scholars! (Thanks to Chris L. for posting this on his facebook page. I got the link from him.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More on Roger Ebert

Just to supplement Tim's post below, some of you may be unaware of Roger Ebert's current situation. A few years ago, he suffered from cancer and had to have his lower jaw removed. As a result, he permanently lost the ability to eat, drink, or talk. A powerful story about this can be found here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ebert on Miracles

Yesterday Roger Ebert questioned the use of the term "miracle" to describe the rescue of the Chilean mine workers. In doing so, he attempted to explain what a miracle is, which for Ebert seems to be something like "a violation of the laws of nature by God."

Ebert is a smart guy, working outside his area of expertise (film), so he makes a lot of mistakes in his treatment of miracles, theology, and history. But what I find remarkable is what he says at the end of his discussion of miracles.
I argue that few people have a good idea of what a miracle actually is. It's not like entering the lottery. God doesn't perform miracles for a few lucky winners. They take place for one purpose only, and that is not to spare lives, cure disease, heal limbs or prevent a bus from falling off a mountain. Their only purpose is to demonstrate the glory of God. They're sort of wake-up calls: "Hey, people, this is Me up here on the mountain top, hurling these lightning bolts."
While Ebert says he does not believe in miracles of this sort, he is concerned with separating out a proper understanding of what a miracle is. What do you think of Ebert's claim about the purpose of miracles (according to his reading of Christian tradition)?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Springfield Film Festival

Our department sponsors a writing contest for Bethel students, where we pose a question and they submit answers and win fabulous prizes. This month's question: "What is the most philosophically interesting film you've seen, and why?" The following clip from The Simpsons hints at how Homer might answer it. This takes place during the Springfield Film Festival, where Homer serves as a judge.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

fun optical experience

Stare without blinking at the red dot. The grey lines eventually fade from your perception.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

give the emotions some love

I’ve been reading Martha Nussbaum for a number of years now. Among the several books and articles she has written, one recent book stands out to me:

Upheavals of Thought: the intelligence of the emotions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

In this incredibly insightful book, Nussbaum is trying to restore balance to the age-old war between “the mind” and “the heart.”

Much of the blame for this war rests squarely on the standard stories we tell ourselves about the ancient Greek philosophers and many of the medievals who really gave emotion a hard time. According to this standard story, they called emotion “the passions” or “pathos,” and the idea was that these are wild, undirected, inherently unreliable, and often destructive. The real problem they had with emotion however, was its power to overpower reason.

There is great insight in the ancient Greek philosophers across a range of subjects, including the inherent hazards of the emotions. What could be more obvious? The emotions and passions are powerful and potentially destructive. But then again, so is reason.

This isn’t really the main tactic, however, that Nussbaum pursues. Rather, her main argument suggests that the entire “mind” versus “heart” is fundamentally an inadequate and unrealistic way of understanding human nature.

She argues that the emotions are actually “forms of judgment” with rationally assessable content. Her claim is that how we perceive the world (e.g., our relationships, values, politics, aesthetics, religion, etc.) is fundamentally a function of our emotional experiences.

To put it another way, it’s more what we feel rather than just what we know that primarily influences our behavior and beliefs across the entire range of important subjects.

The response to the Greek concern is to note that the Greeks had the analysis of emotion all wrong. Emotion is not merely wild and undirected. Because they are “forms of judgment,” emotions are actually evaluative forms of appraisal that can be assessed. They are not merely reactive, criterion-less responses.

This strikes me as a much more realistic view of the relation between cognitive, conative, and emotional lived experience.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Plantinga and Dennett

I love getting free books—it’s one of the perks of being a professor. Last week I received a book called Science and Religion: Are They Compatible? (Oxford, 2010). It’s a debate between philosophical heavyweights Alvin Plantinga and Daniel Dennett. In it, Plantinga argues that science and religion are compatible, and that it’s naturalism (the view that there are no divine beings and the natural world is all that there is) that doesn’t fit well with science, while Dennett lashes out at the notion of intelligent design and argues that attempts to fit religion with science are intellectually dishonest. I’d say the book is well worth reading.

Rather than summarize the debate, I’ll just highlight two points from Plantinga that I think are quite profound. First, he observes that some people, like Dennett, find theism absurd, and address it only to subject it to ridicule. And, Plantinga says, "they are entirely within their rights to do so: It’s a free country. But why should the rest of us, those who find theism perfectly sensible and in fact believe it . . . why should we be swayed by what Dennett and company do or don’t find incredible?" (60)

That’s a good reminder: the fact that some people (even famous and intelligent people) think religion ridiculous doesn’t give the rest of us reason to think it’s false—especially since the arguments against religion that such people give are often extraordinarily weak (it’s like they don’t even try).

Second, Plantinga notes that many theists mistakenly believe that evolution and theism are incompatible; and he places some of the blame for that on those who, like Dennett, loudly proclaim that they are. Evolution most certainly does not show that God does not exist, Plantinga says; but by asserting that it does, Dennett and others promote public distrust of evolutionary theory and of science. It’s an interesting point: so-called defenders of science (and Richard Dawkins deserves a mention here) are doing their discipline a profound disservice by actively (and scornfully) turning religious believers away from it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cheating and the Soul

This week in CWC (a team-taught Christianity and Western Culture course at Bethel), I lectured on Plato’s view of the soul. (Only briefly, because I had to cover Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle in one lecture!) Roughly speaking, according to Plato the soul has three parts: the intellect, which seeks after truth; the spirited part, which seeks after honor; and the appetites, which seek after various worldly pleasures. In a just person, the intellect is in control. Doing what is wrong is never in the best interest of the wrong-doer because it damages the soul by strengthening the appetites (usually) and weakening the intellect’s ability to control them. A clear of example of this is drug addiction: an addict’s desire for the drug overpowers the intellect’s recognition that taking it is a bad idea. Indeed, that recognition gets ignored, and instead the intellect serves the beastly appetite by discerning ways to procure more drugs.

Another example I used is cheating on school assignments and tests. Your intellect may recognize that cheating is wrong; but once you’ve done it, it’s much easier the second time. Appetitive (and maybe spirited) desires are strengthened, the intellect’s control over the soul weakened, and the soul becomes disordered and damaged as a result.

After the lecture, a colleague called my attention to a fascinating article, in last week’s Toronto Globe and Mail, about a recent study of the personality traits of students who cheat. The study found that “Students who admitted to cheating, or who were caught, ranked high on what psychologists call the ‘dark triad’ of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy.” Perhaps Plato was on to something! It is nice to be reminded that in this most fundamental sense, cheaters don’t prosper.

Here’s the article:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Variety is the Spice of Educational Life

Check out this article from the New York Times, which discusses how new research overturns some old ideas about the best ways to study. Apparently variety doesn't just spice up your life; it also makes your studying much more effective. Quite a fascinating article--and helpful, too, if you're looking for ways to improve your study habits. Professors will also be happy to know that tests which require student recall are very effective tools for learning.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stephen Hawking and God

Perhaps you’ve read that Stephen Hawking claims in a new book that God is not needed to explain the existence of the universe. If you haven’t, here’s a link to an article on the subject. (It’s curious that the story is in the entertainment section of ABC’s website...)

From the article, it’s unclear what Hawking’s real view is. He says in his book, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.” I’m no physicist, but the notion of a universe literally creating itself out of nothing—with or without the help of gravity—seems absurd. Gravity can act on stuff that is already there, but is Hawking claiming that gravity can create stuff ex nihilo, initiate a Big Bang, and generate a universe? I find that hard to believe—not just that it’s true, but that Hawking thinks it is.

Maybe when Hawking says that God isn’t needed to explain the existence of the universe, he means that gravity will inevitably take “stuff” (whatever there is in the chaos prior to the Big Bang) and create a universe with it. But if that’s right, we still need to explain the existence of the stuff that gravity acts on (to say nothing for the existence of gravity itself). A sensible explanation is that God created the stuff, and is in that sense needed to explain the universe—even if gravity, rather than God, set off the Big Bang.

What is Hawking’s real view on this? Perhaps his book will clear it up. Suffice it to say that to the classic question in metaphysics—Why is there something rather than nothing?—I think God provides a better answer than gravity.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Philosophy of Humor

I’d never want to write a book on philosophy of humor, partly because I fear that analyzing humor too much could take all the fun out of it. But for me, the best comedy is unpredictable. I hate lazy humor. This is why I don’t like most sit-coms, and why I’d always pick Conan O’Brien over Jay Leno. Leno’s a gifted stand-up comedian, but the jokes in his monologue are usually the sort of generic riffing on the day’s events that any writer could come up with. O’Brien is not like that so much—he has bursts of creativity that I’ve never seen from Leno. You can see this in O’Brien’s twitter feed. After he lost the Tonight Show, O’Brien opened a twitter account and now tweets once a day. Not every tweet is a gem, but one from August 28 made me laugh out loud. Here’s what he said.

I may be jumping into this whole Muslim controversy a little late, but really? He's going to call himself Kareem Abdul Jabbar?

No doubt after the first sentence you thought he was going to make a statement about the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City. But O’Brien takes it in a different direction by jumping instead (“a little late”) into the 1971 controversy that surrounded basketball star Lew Alcindor’s conversion to Islam and subsequent name change. O’Brien is a bright guy. If you need a laugh, I’d recommend looking at his twitter page:

Welcome back to Bethel Philosophy

Greetings and welcome to a new school year for the Bethel University Philosophy Blog. This year we'll be posting regularly about stuff that interests us, whether directly related to philosophy or not. (Though we'll post about it philosophically either way.) Have a great school year, everyone!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

let the children play

What makes sense of regret? Obviously, there are the moral kinds of reasons, but that’s not what I have in mind. I can’t speak for anyone else, but when I end up regretting past actions, I do so believing that things could have been different than they in fact were. I could have made a different choice, imagining an alternate version of myself with slightly to vastly different desires, temperament, and beliefs at the crucial moment of decision.

This ability to reason or, at the very least, to imagine alternate scenarios – states of affairs that are in fact false but might have been true – is a really awesome and important ability (often called “counterfactual reasoning”). For instance, I imagine an alternate version of myself from this morning, and that version of myself has breakfast (when in fact it’s false that I actually had breakfast this morning).

I don’t think it’s unique to human species. There’s empirical evidence that many animals engage in behavior that is best explained with a theory of mind that attributes some similar power to them. In humans, however, the ability is deployed at higher levels of sophistication and placement within a social ecology.

Take little children, for example, who play make-believe. They imagine themselves not merely as alternate versions of themselves but as utterly different kinds of things, human and otherwise. My friend’s son plays make-believe, pretending to be a king or an animal or a fire truck or a school teacher or a... This complex cognitive behavior is actually practice for adult moral sensibility. It is a rudimentary form of the combination between counterfactual imagination and empathy. The dual abilities to imagine oneself in “another’s shoes,” so to speak, and to be able to see alternate possibilities of behavior and consequences retrospectively into the past (i.e., regret) and into the future (i.e., choice) form the raw materials of moral agency. Hence when children are whiling away hours and hours of pure, unbridled play, they are actually constructing the cognitive and conative structures that undergird high-functioning ethical character.

When I regret an action, especially one where the action affects someone other than myself, I perceive in my mind’s eye at least two things: (a) how things could have turned out differently and (b) what it’s like to be the other who suffers because of my poor decision. While these components are built into us by evolutionary mechanisms, they are also nurtured by things as innocent, simple, and vital as pure play.

These components are also the root structures that allow for us to be so good at deception and manipulation.

Two sides of a coin...

Monday, April 26, 2010

ode to Alexander Calder

I attended a lecture by one of my colleagues (an art historian), and I was treated to a discussion of the lovely work by the American artist Alexander Calder (1898-1976).

The second work is titled “Two Systems.”

I think that all of us will recognize this as a mobile.

The mobile has become so common that it’s a cliché hanging over practically every crib in America.

Alexander Calder, the inventor of the mobile, had a deeper vision articulated in the form of the mobile.

The mobile is a representation of reality. The visual image implicates little bits and pieces moving in a playful dance. While everything is carefully balanced, there is a play and fluidity of suspension. Nothing is static; everything is moving.

The very artifact is altered with each spectator, since different bodies will cause the ambient air to brush the mobile into different morphologies, resulting in analogically different morphologies of meaning – quite independent of the artist’s intention. Existence vividly precedes essence.

It’s the perfect collision of surrealism and existentialism.