Abstract: So there’s these three philosophers, see — variously interested in radical empiricism, rationalism, and the analytic/linguistic school of thought — and they meet at Chili’s for dinner. (For those of you who’ve not studied philosophy, the only people more fun than philosophers are  morticians, and  my Uncle Federico, who runs a dry goods store in Muncie, Indiana.) Gosh, what a barrel of monkeys! Can you dig it! Don’t you wish that YOU’d been at Chili’s that day? I know i do! Let’s listen in.
Our three philosopher-friends are seated at a booth by the windows — “so as to remain in touch with the more ecological aspects of human experience,” as one of them explained to the hostess while they were being seated. The following conversation picks up just as they’ve had the chance to settle in for a minute.
Philosopher #1: Hmmm. What an odd document this ‘menu’ appears to be.
Philosopher #2: How so?
Philosopher #1: I see several problems. The subsections into which the whole is divided make no sense, either structurally or as bodies of intelligible data. And the menu begins with a listing of intoxicants. Should not that sort of thing come after the decisions have been made?
Philosopher #2: Probably. I think i’m going to have the salmon with broccoli and rice.
Philosopher #3: I don’t even see that.
Philosopher #2: You’re looking at the desserts, goofball.
Philosopher #3: Oh. This has very quickly become my favorite page.
Philosopher #2: You can always come back to it. The dessert is supposed to be the last part of the meal.
Philosopher #3: What canon of judgment establishes a necessary order for the components of a meal, ordered out of a menu?
Philosopher #1: Here we go again.
Philosopher #2: Look, dude, just allow the received social structures to define the manner in which you interact with the data.
Philosopher #3: That doesn’t even.
Philosopher #1: What if i were to eat a page from this menu, rather than any of the food items depicted thereupon?
Philosopher #2: Please tell me that you’re joking.
Philosopher #1: The ‘joke’ is a language-game in which i tend not to willingly participate.
Geoffroy the Waiter: [sidles up to table] Hi there! My name’s Geoffroy, and i’m going to be your server. Can i start you fellows off with something to drink?
Philosopher #1: What is the square root of inert negativity?
Geoffroy the Waiter: Um. Heh heh. I’m not sure i understand the question.
Philosopher #1: [irritated] It was a simple enough question.
Philosopher #3: Great! Now he’s going to be in a mood for the rest of the meal.
Geoffroy the Waiter: Heh heh. Heh heh. Um.
Philosopher #2: What is the square root of Your Mom.
Philosopher #3: [laughs inexplicably]
Geoffroy the Waiter: You know what, i’m gonna let you fellows look over the menu a bit more, and i’ll be back in a minute.
Philosopher #1: Good plan, Ghee-off-rooy.
Geoffroy the Waiter: Heh heh, it’s pronounced “Jeff-ree.”
Philosopher #1: No it’s not.
Geoffroy the Table Server: Um, heh heh. [scuttles off quickly, sweating]
Philosopher #1: What an idiot.
Philosopher #2: Never mind him. Just look at the menu and decide what you want to eat.
Philosopher #3: Remind me again, at what point in the meal is it permissible to look at this “desserts” section?
Philosopher #2: After you’ve eaten some real food.
Philosopher #3: And by what standard are we able to evaluate the Real in the world of nutrition? Is not everything depicted in this menu Real? At some level?
Philosopher #1: Perhaps it’s worth pointing out, at this juncture, that “nourishing” and “it looks good in the picture” are not necessarily equivalent concepts.
Philosopher #3: Oh dear. I’m still not able to detect any intelligible pattern of interaction by which this ‘menu’ is mapped over the data of my own experience.
Philosopher #2: When is that waitress person coming back? Before i’ll have had the chance to make a rational decision based on an adequate survey of the relevant data? I’m feeling pressured to make a decision based on insufficient data.
Philosopher #3: [waxing oratorical] I sense that he shall return in the fullness of time.
Philosopher #2: Time! Now there’s a self-contradictory construct for you.
Philosopher #1: I’ve told you a thousand times [sic], that doesn’t make any sense. Just because you’re able to slip something past your dissertation committee, that doesn’t make it a real thing.
Philosopher #2: Nyah nyah nyah. You can’t dismiss an idea just because you’re not equipped to understand it.
Philosopher #1: [muttering] Your Mom’s not equipped to understand it.
Philosopher #2: What? Did you say something about someone’s Mom?
Philosopher #1: Maybe i did, and maybe i didn’t.
Philosopher #2: If we were to have this same conversation an infinite number of times, i wonder how many of those times would involve a reference to your Mom.
Philosopher #1: Well, even after ‘x’ number of conversations, even if she hadn’t come up any of the previous times, there’s no guarantee Your Mom wouldn’t come up the, like, infinite-th time.
[Geoffrey the Waiter slips back up to their table, having braced himself with a few slugs from the vodka bottle he’d conveniently hidden in his backpack that morning.]
Philosopher #3: Well, how very Humean of you.
Geoffroy the Waiter: It didn’t sound very human to me.
Philosopher #1: What? You’re still here?
Philosopher #3: I didn’t say ‘human’… i said ‘Humean.’
Geoffroy the Waiter: So, you have trouble pronouncing ‘human’? Nobody’s perfect. We’re only human. Or ‘humean.’ Heh heh. [immensely pleased with himself for holding his own amid such august company]
Philosopher #1: ‘Humean’ is a reference to the philosophy of David Hume, an important philosopher of the 1700s. [mutters under breath] Imbecile.
Geoffroy the Waiter: Oh.
Philosopher #2: Among other things, he said that if all of your knowledge is based on observation… which he believed to be the case… then you can’t predict what’s going to happen in the future, even if the same thing has tended to happen over and over in the past. For instance, just because tipping a glass over has tended to cause water to splash all over the table every time you’ve done it before…
[He deliberately knocks a glass of water over onto Philosopher #1’s lap]
…that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen the next time. Oh, will ya look at that. I appear to have made a boo-boo.
Geoffroy the Waiter: I just thought you had a funny speech impediment.
Philosopher #3: I do have a funny speech impediment. It’s extremely rude of you to point it out.
Geoffroy the Waiter: Um. Uuhhh…Sorry?
Philosopher #2: What does that have to do with David Hume?
Philosopher #3: Nothing, so far as i can tell. I’m not going to be tipping this embarrassing specimen of a table server–i can tell you that.
Philosopher #1: Me neither! [hitching on to an apparent excuse to leave off tipping]
Geoffroy the Waiter: [slinks off, unnoticed]
Philosopher #3: I think i’ll have the ‘Southwestern Eggrolls.’
Philosopher #1: What an incoherent concept. Eggrolls are not associated with the American Southwest, either historically nor as a cuisine.
Philosopher #3: I think you’re demanding too much philosophical rigor from a popular family restaurant.
Philosopher #1: If a food makes no sense, i’m not putting it in my body, that’s all i’m saying.
Philosopher #2: Well, um, okay. So, do you see anything that appeals to you?
Philosopher #1: I find nothing in here that meets my standards for logical coherence.
Philosopher #2: Dude, how do you not starve on a regular basis.
As it turns out, the three philosophers did end up receiving nourishment, although it was not Geoffroy the Waiter, but the Chili’s restaurant manager who ended up making sure they got hooked up with the appropriate foods. Geoffrey was meanwhile quailing in the back, trembling slightly, and peeping out from time to time to see if the three philosophers had left yet. His life would never be the same. Shortly after the events recorded in this blog post, Geoffrey quit his job at Chili’s and has since been happily employed as a vacuum cleaner salesman…just a few miles, interestingly, from the place where “Southwestern Eggrolls” were invented.