Hergest, says the Owner, is it Possible that you have eaten my favourite Bamboo sock?
Not knowingly, I say, although it depends what you mean by Possible. Do you mean is it Epistemically Possible (that is, from yours or my perspective of knowledge, it is in theory possible), or do you mean is it Metaphysically possible, (that is in at least one of all possible worlds it is Objectively True)?
I will settle for Either, says the Owner, if they Bring Clarity to my Sockless Situation.
It is Epistemically Possible, I say. More than that I cannot say.
Is it Metaphysically Possible? Asks the Owner.
Many things are Metaphysically Possible, I say, if one considers All Possible Worlds.
That is a Confession of Illicit Sock Consumption if ever I heard one, says the Owner.
It is no such thing, I say. The claim that something is Metaphysically Possible, I say, means that it is possible that I could have eaten the sock in Some of All Possible Worlds. Only if I Knew that I had not eaten the Sock in Any Possible World could I know that is is Metaphysically Impossible that the Sock had met such a Fate.
I only want to know if you have eaten my sock in this world, says the Owner. For clarity, adds the Owner, I am talking about the world we are in. The one in which I am wearing One Sock and you are sounding Decidedly Slippery and Eel-like on the Subject of Sock Eating. You are sounding, indeed, rather like a Dog who has eaten a Sock.
If, I say, whilst living in only one of all possible worlds, you ask the Moral Dog whether he ate a Sock and he answers that it is not Metaphysically Impossible, he is not being Slippery, because he is not saying he knows that he Did Eat a Sock. He is only saying that he does not know that he did not eat a Sock.
Have you eaten my Bertrand Russell book as well as my Sock? Asks the Owner.
There are two possibilities, I say, that I did or did not eat the sock in this World. Each is Epistemically Possible (that is, we can rationally believe it may have happened) but only one (we know not which) is Metaphysically possible (because only one Actually Happened). It is like Schrodinger’s Cat. Until we can establish the Facts, then I both Did and Did Not eat the Sock. I cannot therefore say that I did Not.
It seems to me, says the Owner you already know whether it is Metaphysically Possible that you ate the sock in this World. And if you knew that you Did eat the Sock then you would no longer think it Epistemically Impossible that you did not eat the sock in any World. So your response means that you Did eat the Sock.
One would not convict on such a Standard of Proof, I say, since it denies the existence of any third option. Some Metaphysical Possibilities are not Epistemic Possibilities, which means that there may be a Possibility that you have not thought Possible. As Sherlock Holmes said, if you Eliminate the Impossible then whatever remains, however Improbable, must be the Truth.
Truth does not seem to be a concept with which the Sock-Eating Moral Dog is familiar, says the Owner.
On the contrary, I say, I have spoken Nothing But the Truth.
Give me a Third Option then, says the Owner.
Well, I say, it is Metaphysically possible that the Sock was eaten by Another Dog. You believe it is not Epistemically Possible that Houdini, for example, is Eminently Capable of Entering any property through Underhand Means, then Exiting, bearing a Sock.
Are you trying to suggest Houdini came in through the U Bend and ate my Sock? Asks the Owner.
If you knew Houdini as I do, I say, you would consider it Epistemically Possible.
Even given that you still have a Big piece of my Sock stuck in your teeth? Asks the Owner.
I have to agree that the Presence of the Sock in the Moral Dog’s teeth does rather change the Metaphysical and Epistemic possibilities. But it was a Nice Try.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.