There’s been a bit of discussion on philosophy (which pleases me, by the way), so I thought it was time to resurrect this one from the vault of Livejournal about 6 years ago, with a few minor edits.
How many philosophers does it take to change a light-bulb?
Pragmatist: Hey, if holding the bulb while four of your friends turn the chair makes you happy, then that is the right way to change a light-bulb for you.
Empiricist: We can’t know how to change a light-bulb, we can only know how it has been reportedly changed in the past. But we can make lists of how big it is, the wattage, the thickness of the glass, the composition of the filiment…
Thomist: When we examine the concept of “light-bulb” one requirement is that it light up. Hence, if it does not light up, it is not a light-bulb. If it is not a light-bulb there is no reason to change it.
Aristotelean: Changing of light-bulbs can be divided into: manipulation of the old bulb, and manipulation of the new bulb. Bulb manipulation, in turn, can be divided into: Turning motion, raising motion, dropping motion. We cannot understand motion.
Kantian: While having light is a categorical imperative, by understanding the light-bulb-in-itself, it becomes, for us, a new light-bulb, and thus there is no need to change it.
Platonist: The closer our light-bulb gets to the Ideal Light-bulb, the less it requires changing.
Dialectical Materialist: None. The light-bulb changes because of it’s own internal contradictions.
Skeptic: We can’t know if we’re changing the light-bulb. We can’t know if changing the light-bulb is an improvement. In fact, we can’t really know if it’s dark. Especially with the lights out.
Hegelian: A light-bulb that will not produce light is irrational. When the light-bulb becomes irrational, it ceases to exist; when the light bulb no longer exists, it is irrational. Insofar as a new light-bulb sheds light on the Absolute Idea, it becomes a rational light-bulb and comes into being as part of our striving for the categories of logic. Thus the transition: burned out bulb, to changing the bulb, to a working bulb, recapitulates the process of our thinking within the phenomenon of light, which in turns raises our minds to truth and freedom.
Positivist: If we cannot demonstrate mathematically the process of light-bulb changing, the bulb is not important. If we can, then the mathematical demonstration is sufficient for our purposes.
Post-structuralist: By rejecting neo-Enlightenment notions that privilege “light” (which privilege we find textually included in the subject narrative), we can conceptualize the relationship between optically-oriented envisioning and those signifiers that address interpretations of post-colonial modernism as an established text within the framework of which, intertextually, we are lead to reject any causal relationship between the operands and the motivators, thus redefining darkness on an individual basis that turns the meta-narrative into its own form of de-categorized photonic emission.
Memetics: The speed at which the notion “a burned out light-bulb should be replaced” has spread is inexplicable unless one looks at the idea itself.
Existentialist: Why change the light-bulb?