Chairs have been around for as long as mankind has. As soon as the need to rest developed, chairs developed. When I think of a chair, I immediately think “four legs, seat, back, etc. ”. But is this really what a chair is? Could you not also place a book on this “chair” and it would now be transformed into a table? Is it possible that I could sit on a table, or a stump, or a bed and it would now be a chair? How do we as humans instinctively know what chairs are? When are we taught to know the difference between chairs and other furniture?
Is it just implied, or is there something deeper in our psyche that tell us these things. These questions have been asked for as long as people have given thought to how the the world works around them. As we have read in works by Lucretius, Plato, and now Descartes, we are looking for the answers of the age old question “What is a Chair? ” by also analyzing the questions of mankind that come along with this deeper thinking. The parts of the chair work together as one whole object, never wavering, unless, one of the parts of the chair break apart, or become damaged.
The whole chair works in unison, is in equilibrium until an outside force is brought upon the chair, causing it to become imperfect; whether that be a slight wobble of a leg or a complete disconfigurment of an armrest or something that would completely render the chair useless. This equilibrium enables the chair to be one solid unit, not a collection or pieces that create an object. I believe that Lucretius would say that the chair does not exist at all, but it, like everything else, is only made of atoms, and that the chair is only a consequence of atoms coming together to form one unit.
Like the chair itself, there are many parts in order to make it a whole, but without some of those key components, it would just be a heap of parts. Lucretius would say that the chair is real, but it, like everything else, is made of the same components, atoms. So the same components that make up plants and animals also make up inanimate objects as well, therefore, the entire world is connected to each other. Lucretius believes that chairs exist in a realm that is abstracted from human use of chairs. Lucretian chairs serve no purpose.
They exist only to exist. He believes that chairs are consequences of atoms. Lucretius believes that chairs are made of parts, which are made of atoms, but another Philosopher tends to disagree. Plato was a Greek philosopher. His belief on what a chair is that chairs don’t exist at all, but the only thing that does exist is the Ideas of chairs. The idea of a chair is God’s idea of what a chair is. The chairs that we see daily could also double as something else, whether it be a table or a bed, as I stated above, it is never just a chair.
God’s idea of a chair is ALWAYS a chair, never wavering, never changing, that chairs are created to aid mankind to sit. The chairs that we make as humans are just interpretations of what we think a chair should be, or what we think God’s idea of a chair should be. The Idea of a Chair is one solid thing. It has no parts, therefore it cannot be broken down into smaller things, like atoms as Lucretius tends to think. This is where Lucretius and Plato would most likely disagree.
Plato believes that Chairs don’t really exist at all, but it is just humanity trying to label something that God has instilled in human psyche, the need to be able to create things and make things in God’s Image. Plato believes that God’s Ideas of things are the only types of things that exist and that the only way that one is able to see these “Ideas” is to know the Idea of the Good, which if one does not know the Good, then all their other knowledge is useless.
So in reality, Plato does not believe that chairs exist at all, but only the idea of chairs exists in the minds of humans, the idea that has been given to them by God. Rene Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer. He is credited for inventing the Cartesian plane, which allows Algebra to be visually represented by geometric shapes. Descartes is considered to be the “Father of Modern Philosophy”, and his works are studied to this day.
In his work, “Meditations”, Descartes realizes that he is only able to prove the existence of himself because if he is able to question his existence, then he must exist. Following this realization, Descartes discovers that the world around him may not exist at all because he is unable to prove that it is actually there. He bases this theory on the fact that sometimes, man believes that he is experiencing reality, while he is actually dreaming. By this theory, Descartes believes that he is unable to prove the existence of anything other than himself.
So when it comes to chairs, Descartes was special because he was truly one of the first philosophers to really question reality other than what “chairs” were or how they were made. Descartes wondered if the chairs were actually in existence at all. In the movie The Matrix that we watched in class, Neo discovers that the world he has grown to know does not even exist at all, it is all a facade created by computers and robots called the matrix. This idea was originally thought up by descartes, which was revolutionary for his time during the early-mid 1600s.
Although not as complex as the movie The Matrix, Descartes‘ idea about reality is extremely innovative and his ideals were definitely beyond anyone else’s thinking for that era. Because of his incredible thoughts about the world around him, Descartes became known as the father of modern philosophy. All of these incredible philosophers have something in common; they thought differently than the other people around them. They went against the norm and questioned things that had not been questioned until that time. Because of this, these philosophers are noted in history as the most notable, interesting, and intriguing