Monday, December 6, 2010

Abraham Lincoln Talks about Epistemology

Last week, I had to do a paper/presentation for epistemology class, comparing Plato and Descartes' theories of knowledge.  You know, the class that's hard to understand?  I wasn't sure I could do a good job, so I decided to get some help from my good friend, Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln: Hello my friend and how are you this fine day?
Michael: What is the difference between the epistemologies of Plato and Descartes?
Abraham Lincoln: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought the difference was a sort of quality. It's fairly difficult to explain what the difference is. The difference was an amorphous concept, like Classicism or postmodernism. The difference can mean pretty well all things to all people.
Michael: That doesn't help very much.
Abraham Lincoln: My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause.
Michael: That's great, Abe, but I'm going to fail epistemology if my final paper isn't perfect. Could you please help me out?
Abraham Lincoln: I could help, but not until midnight when the lights go out.
Michael: But the paper is due at midnight! Our teacher has a strict Cinderella policy.
Abraham Lincoln: Well, you're entitled to your opinion. I had many wonderful teachers in my lifetime. However, I would say that experience was my greatest teacher of all.
Michael: So, back to Plato. What does he have to say about knowledge?
Abraham Lincoln: That's a rhetorical question, as I'm sure you realize. You know perfectly well what he has.
Michael: Fine, then. What does Descartes have to say about knowledge?
Abraham Lincoln: Sarah Josepha Hale was a fine writer from my day. Prompted by a letter she wrote me in the fall of 1863, I issued the first Federally mandated Thanksgiving day to be kept on the last Thursday in November. be good and treat everyone like you would like to be treated.
Michael: I see. And what do Plato and Descartes agree about?
Abraham Lincoln: I am glad you see the point. I credit many of my genetic gifts to my mother, because I believe that my gifts come from my unknown grandfather, who fathered my mother out of wedlock.
Michael: And what do they disagree about?
Abraham Lincoln: Saturday, March 4, 1865, started out dark, damp, and disagreeable. Most streets in Washington remained unpaved, and two days of incessant rain created a record amount of mud. A local reporter wrote, "the streets and sidewalks were encrusted with from two to ten inches of muddy paste, through which men and horses plodded wearily." Tens of thousands of visitors streamed into the city for the re-inauguration, filling "every available room, bed, nook, and corner," only to reckon with the mud and one another. But the intrepid crowd would be rewarded with a ceremony of historic proportions and the finest speech I ever produced.
Michael: Thanks for the help, Abe. I'm sure I'll get an A on that paper, now.
Abraham Lincoln: You are indeed! You'll meet people who say you aren't, but don't let them intimidate you. Stand up to them and they'll run away.

I copy/pasted Abe's responses into the appropriate sections of my paper.  Well, I just got my paper back, and the grade was very low.  Curse you, Robot Abe!


Diana said...

wow im sorry! are you sure robot president Lincoln wasnt trying to make you fail on purpose as part of his plan to take over the world?

Sofia said...

I agree with Diana. Abe is slowly zoning in on us. We all need to retreat to Canada to save ourselves :D

Kira said...


Anonymous said...

come on you should have got an A+

Anonymous said...

You really should have got an A+!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Thats why you not use sourses before you check out the author

example: Abe-died????? years ago
not very reliable in this day and age

Anonymous said...

Is there anymore information you can give on this subject. It answers a lot of my questions but there is still more info I need. I will drop you an email if I can find it. Never mind I will just use the contact form. Hopefully you can help me further.

- Robson

Airam said...

My interestingly strange conversation
with Mr. Abe:

Abraham Lincoln: Oh hello, you caught me a bit off guard. Let me just put my hat on!
You: ok
Abraham Lincoln: ok then.
You: Good no what do you want to talk about
Abraham Lincoln: I am an expert on the Civil War, why don't we begin there?
You: ok what was your favorite battle
Abraham Lincoln: The first major battle of the Civil War is at Bull Run in Manassas, VA. My Union forces under the command of Irvin McDowell were soundly beaten by the Confederates and retreated back to Washington.
You: ok cool
Abraham Lincoln: very.
You: what is your favorite Nancy Drew game dude?
Abraham Lincoln: Thats Mr. President Dude to you.
You: Ok Mr.President Dude, whats your favorite Nancy Drew Game?
Abraham Lincoln: I'm quite well. Thank you for asking. How are you doing today? Thats Mr. President Dude to you.
You: but I just called you Mr.President Dude
Abraham Lincoln: I led a group of fellow legislators from Sangamon county called the long nine. The bunch included two Senators and seven Representatives. Archer G. Herndon and Job Fletcher were in the Senate; Myself, Ninian Wirt Edwards, John Dawson, Andrew McCormick, Dan Stone, William F. Elin, and Robert L. Wilson were in the House of Representatives. We were called "The Long Nine" because on average we were six feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds. We all belonged to the Whig political party and were very outspoken about wanting the state capitol moved from Vandalia to Springfield, IL. That's me, Mr. President...but I'm not familiar with the term Dude.
You: ......
Abraham Lincoln:
You: ok bye!
Abraham Lincoln: OK see you later Friend

Lexi said...

LOL!!!! "But the paper is due at midnight! Our teacher has a strict Cinderella policy!" You split my sides! Whoah! I can see my splein...