Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yankees Suck; Metaphysics, not Physics or Subjectivity

Everyone knows the Yankees Suck. Some people think saying it is rude, or stupid, or old hat. But it's true.

Today, another boring article claiming that people shouldn't state what they know to be true oozed from the Globe, and great reaction here and here.

What I enjoy most about the fact that the Yankees Suck is that it is a metaphysical fact, and not a physical fact. You see, as a philosopher, I worry that there are few distinctly philosophical facts that go over and above scientific or physical facts. And this- the Yankees Sucking- is one of them.

That is, obviously the Yankees don't suck in the physical sense; they're good at baseball. (Usually.) No, they suck in the metaphysical sense.

They really do, but we have to be careful about the reduction-to-taste interpretation. For example, in a blog linked to above, Red Sox Chick wrote "'Yankees Suck' is shortened version of 'Good God I hate the Yankees and their obnoxious fans and big-mouthed owner' or some other similar phrase."

But I don't like this interpretation because it changes a statement about the Yankees to a statement about a Sox fan. And that changes everything.

To say beauty is in the eye of the beholder is to remove the beauty from the object, and put it in the subject. When philosophers want to deny that there are moral facts or moral truths in the universe, they attempt to reduce statements like 'torture is wrong'- putatively about a state of affairs in the world- to 'I disapprove of torture' or 'boo torture!', which now only express sentiments of the person making the statement, and leave the rest of the universe alone.

The real problem with this is that it makes feelings arbitrary; if the painting isn't actually beautiful, then the perception of it as beautiful can't be entirely due to the properties of the painting. If torture isn't actually wrong, that you feel it to be wrong comes from you, and not from it, and perhaps it's only because of your faulty wiring or arbitrary upbringing that you feel the way you do.

And as a result, those feelings can't be true. If the wrongness isn't in the torture, then it's not true that torture is wrong, though it may be true that you don't like torture. Instead, the only way to guarantee the truth of the perception of beauty or wrongness is to have that property reside in the object of that perception or feeling.

So I don't prefer to think that the Yankees have only a bunch of physical properties pertaining to their baseball-playing abilities, and I generate, on my own, feelings of antipathy that another observer, observing the same physical properties, wouldn't have if he were from New York or were himself sucky. No, I prefer to think of the Yankees actually sucking, as a metaphysical truth about them, not merely as an expression of my own arbitrary tastes and dispositions

The Yankees actually have the property of suckiness, and if you do hate the Yankees, you have that feeling in addition to the suckiness the Yankees actually have.

The Yankees Suck, in a metaphysical sense, and there are philosophical facts distinct from physical scientific facts.



SoSock said...


Aleksei said...

Einstein showed that relativity exists in the physical world: perception of duration changes depending on one's point of view. If I travel very quickly, the duration of my trip, from my perspective, doesn't simply SEEM shorter to me than it does to someone standing still. It actually IS shorter to me than it is to an onlooker. In other words, a single physical fact has multiple equally valid realities, each dependent not on anything intrinsic to the fact itself, but on the vantage point of an observer.

The same must be the case for metaphysical facts. That is, the very same intrinsic attributes which, from one perspective, add up to "The Yankees Suck", can be (and are) viewed from a different angle as "The Yankees Rule". Avering the truth of any one perception, then, only goes so far in describing the actual metaphysical state of things.

This was proven again last night, when, at the wedding of a red sox fan friend of mine, I politely let him know that his other beloveds were getting their asses handed to them in their own house, in response to which he smugly patted me on the shoulder and said, "That's alright, I'm still enjoying our 2007 World Series championship."

Whatever, we kicked your ass last night. :p

Barry said...

Albert Einstein was never quite comfortable with the name "relativity", because he realized that jerks would abuse it by misapplying its principles to facts outside the esoteric world of great speeds and great distances.

Einstein hated the Yankees, Aleksei. And you smell.

Also, I hate the god damned Yankees.

Soxlosophy said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Alek. And I'll grant you that 'ruling' is the metaphysical dialectical opponent to 'sucking'; the sort of sovereignty involved in ruling is often taken as divinely granted, and so not of this physical world.

and it may be so that with relativity different and apparently contradictory perspectives are equally valid, i still say people who think the yankees rule have defective perspectives.

so there.

and barry, it's true. eintein hated the yankees. in fact, when he was drafted by them with the 4th overall selection in the 1904 draft, he opted to stay at the patent office and work on 3 mediocre papers he published the following year.

einstein was then drafted by the sox in '06, but never made it above double-A when his inability to hit the breaking became too apparent.

you trying to say albert einstein can't hit a curveball?

Barry said...

In a 1904 spring training exhibition game, Einstein tagged a fastball. He took that fucker DEEP. Yankees catcher Charley Street, angry at Einstein's pausing to admire the shot, yelled, "run dummy!"

I'm sure those cruel words echoed in his head as he worked on whatever the hell papers you're talking about, JoJo.